Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Weed & schizophrenia

Hello! I have posted a topic on here about a month ago about my boyfriend. He hasn’t been diagnosed with schizophrenia but everyone had told me on this forum to get him help and was very kind and supportive. I have a question/dilema:

My boyfriend decided on his own to stop smoking weed because it was making him very paranoid and obsessive over negative thoughts - most about me and the people in our town - and he would yell at me every night, basically wanting to break up because I either “didn’t love him” or was “cheating” in some form. He even visited me at work to see if I was having an orgy there because he thought I snuck off to my mother’s house to have an orgy with her friends. Then I came home one night from work and he basically demanded - screaming - that I pull down my pants, because he wanted to catch me cheating. It was very humiliating, creepy and disgusting to me.

The next night he said he would not smoke weed because he only smoked it to be relaxed - but he wasn’t. He hated the thoughts.

We were super happy and basically like a normal, romantic, cute, happy couple for about a month or so. It was amazing. He had random thoughts or concerns or schizophrenic-type delusions and talked about his world he created etc. but nothing of the same magnitude at all. Just a quirky guy that thought in a strange manner, but our relationship wasn’t being harmed or abused at all.

Then yesterday he got all pissed off and said he had given me too much power. So he said he was going to try smoking weed again. Of course I was devastated… I guess it’ll never end. I already figured it was too good to be true, but I thought he’d see how happy we were and see the good it was doing.

He appeared okay when I came back from work. He didn’t seem upset or paranoid in any way after smoking. The one idiotic part of this is that he has an interview today (so probably a drug test, too) so what a stupid day to choose to smoke again…

So am I overreacting about the weed?
Will he slowly become affected by the weed and become like he was before?
Is the weed not as responsible for his thoughts as I once believed it to be?
Should I let him smoke?

He kept trying to say that I was trying to “make him scared of weed” and tell him that “schizophrenia is bad.” Those are two things I never said. But…

SHOULD he be “afraid” of weed?

He feels he has complete control of his mind now and won’t think bad things while smoking. I tried to explain to him that the only reason he feels better is BECAUSE he’s not smoking. Now I basically feel trapped between concern and anger. He seems okay this time. But will it slowly bring him back into a downward spirol?

What I think is happening here is… he quit weed for a while… he detoxed so to speak, you two had a lovely month of stability.

Now that he has a month of stability under his belt, his sneaky brained thinking is blaming a host of other factors for his paranoia. So his brain is telling him that pot is no big deal and it helps him relax. Which you know deep down isn’t true.

Little by little this paranoia will amp up again by degrees, and then you’ll be revisiting where you were a month ago. Only every break leaves the mind a little weaker and a little more ill each time.

I would say that last month of hell for you? Think of it as a mini heart attack for a person. The mini heart attack is the precursor to the massive coronary blow out.

I would say if he was lucky enough to regain lucid after a climax of that much paranoia and humiliating both you and himself… why go back?

I don’t think you are overreacting about the weed. I don’t think anyone can deny that it is triggering for someone who has psychosis except maybe the person that is smoking it… Personally I think it will quickly become like it was before. That is how addiction works. I’m guessing the thoughts are there just not as pronounced when not smoking weed. Given all this, you cannot stop him from smoking it. Addiction is a powerful thing. He needs help.

I can’t imagine feeling the humiliation that you wrote about. I can only ask you. Is this what you want? I’m not implying that you walk away from him however I am implying that you walk away from those types of situations. No one and I mean no one has the right to treat you like that regardless of the circumstances. He is capable of making a choice between having a relationship with you and trying to go/stay clean or not getting help.

Thank you for the insight. This is basically what I feared to be true. He will never believe me or care. He thinks he is above schizophrenia in a way, saying that he can control his thoughts. I told him if he can control his thoughts, why would he be thinking any of this AT ALL? He thinks he’s a special case that can smoke weed because he has been smoking weed for his “whole life” (his words - it’s only been 4 years or less) and loves it so much.

I never knew someone could care about weed so much that they’d blindly sabotage the one month of pure happiness we’ve had in a long, long while just to take a few hits. Every time I leave for work he’s “bored” and “does nothing.” When he smokes weed, he does the same exact crap, except high. So I really don’t see how weed is doing anything. I guess I “don’t understand” because I don’t care about weed. But I know I can see reality clearer than him.

He keeps saying I don’t know what he’s thinking so basically he says “How dare I tell him what he can do and what’s good for him” but I tell him I understand how it’s working more than he seems to see himself.

I am mostly just devastated that he could see how happy we were that whole month or so. How we bonded and connected so much and worked together so well and laughed and planned all these things and then he still felt the need to smoke. He still felt it was worth the risk. It was worth me being mad. All of the happiness I felt is slowly deteriorating and he just thinks I’m being “unfair” because I’m “taking away the only thing he loves” which isn’t even a true statement. So I guess he’ll never understand the pain or sadness this brings.

I feared that it would make him basically going back to the way he was each time he smoked. I’ll try to tell him what you just told me, but he’ll think he’s “special” and “unique” in the sense that it won’t happen. Maybe it won’t… But I don’t even know why it’s worth taking a risk. Being high for an hour is somehow more important than sustaining the happiness we had. I guess it hurts. He claims it’s not “choosing weed over me” but I don’t see what else it could be, when he clearly knows that I was only happy because he had made the decision to stop and we could finally enjoy being together without it.

Have you experienced this yourself? What is your experience with weed regarding your schizophrenia, thoughts and episodes? Did you feel that sense of safety Dan is feeling and thought it meant you could smoke weed again? What happened when you did? Will smoking weed eventually make him permanently in that state of psychosis?

I appreciate all of the insight and time you take to help me and everyone else on this forum. It means a lot. I wish that my boyfriend could see how much it means to me and understand what’s actually happening…

Thank you. I teared up reading this. I don’t want to break up with him nor do I ever think it’s an option, although I can see where people are coming from. I told him that schizophrenia is not an excuse to treat me any type of way. Especially when there are ways to stop and he purposely doesn’t do them.

When he stopped smoking I felt he was finally realizing the pain he put me through and finally felt like he actually cared about me as much as he says with words. I finally saw it in action. I was amazed at his bravery and courage to stop, his willingnes to make us work and make us happy. I was amazed at the clarity of his decision and had such hope… He seemed to really see the connection between the two.

But when he said he was going to smoke again, I realized it was all a fantasy I had. He might care. But not as much as he says. I know it’s an addiction. I don’t want to put the blame fully on him. I know weed is addictive and schizophrenia is not his fault either. But he knows right from wrong. And I’m wondering if he can see how wrong this is. I don’t know if he’s blinded, but I know he can see how much it meant to me. He understood everything I told him. He chose weed over the relationship we had, whether he wants me to word it that way or not. He gets mad when I say he chooses weed over me, but he really does.

We were SO happy. I can’t even describe it. I am never a romantic person. But I was kissing him all the time and hugging him and was so happy. We felt so connected, talking about his mind and his world and I even made a dragon and said I’d try to make a world with him. We were going to buy a video game to play together and he was going to get a job with his dad and a warehouse job (probably can’t get it now that he smoked again…) and we were planning all of these events to do and things to see. We were always cuddling and smiling at each other and writing each other notes.

I just can’t believe he destroyed it.

Just to be high for one hour.

And I’m sure it’ll slowly bring us back to where he was before. Because he won’t see it coming.

He’s in the grips of addiction and lack of insight. Lack of insight is a biggie for SZ. I had no insight for a very long time.

Lack of Insight from NAMI

Last time I resumed my relationship with pot (for some stupid reason) was last summer and yeah, at first I felt Ok. It was sort of nice having that mellow high again. I didn’t feel safe but I did feel less board with life. But the thing was the old cycle hit fast. I would come down from my high and man did the paranoia hit me like a sack of bricks… so for some stupid reason, I smoked more pot, which then didn’t make me feel high, it just calmed me down a tiny bit, but then I was deeper in paranoia… so I smoked more and then I didn’t feel high AT ALL, I was just a little less panicked… until an even bigger wave of paranoia hit me.

The delusions really started amping up and wanting to play and then the false memories and I nearly lost it all again. I have no idea how I didn’t loose my job. I’m sure my family was heart broken to see this old bad habit come back. I really freaked out my sister and the delusions I had about her are far to ugly and personal to mention in public. It makes me a little physically ill when I recall what I was thinking.

I was deeper and deeper in trouble with every visit. The insight I had worked so hard to gain, I was loosing. But my family has been through this before and they helped me get my head out of my butt much earlier then when I was younger. I haven’t touched the stuff at all in anyway since August of 2013. I was only smoking for 2 to 3 months maybe and it wasn’t even that much compared to others… but I fell apart very quickly.

Just the energy it took to hide being high, and hide buying pot, and hide the pot and hide the stuff that goes with the pot… that also took a lot of energy and that amped up my paranoia too. I was alway freaking out on my sis for fear that she would try and clean my room and find my bong or find the pot. I’m so glad not be using my energy that way. What a relief it is not to have this in my life.

When I quit, my mind settled back down. I was SZ long before I started drugs. But this last time, I think I recovered fairly quickly. I still have my voices, my visual and tactile hallucinations, but they faded to tiny things when the pot left my system.

I think I have finally learned my lesson. Pot only makes it worse.

Thanks for the personal story! It sounds very similar to my boyfriend. I don’t think weed CAUSED his schizophrenia, a phrase Dan keeps throwing at me for some reason. I try to tell him it didn’t cause it - weed isn’t schizophrenia - but it makes it WORSE. A lot worse. But he refuses to believe this. He doesn’t want to be “told” he can’t do something. He doesn’t want to be limited. And he loves weed a lot I guess and it must be so because he puts it before me without realizing it. For all of these reasons, I don’t know if he’ll stop…

As you probably read, he thought a lot of things about me that made no sense. At all. Things that nobody would ever do or think about. Like having an orgy with my mom and her friends? Having sex with everyone at my job. Flirting with old men to get what I want. It was all just odd and things I would never imagine ever doing or wanting to do EVER. He thinks I’m a succubus (spelling?) and am just a sexual creature that manipulates everyone around me with my body. It’s strange because I don’t even find myself attractive. So I don’t know how he gets that idea.

The cycle you just explained to me sounds very similar to him. He’ll be high. Then all of a sudden his friend and I are having sex, I’m having sex with my cousin, his brother… basically any guy who is present or was present at some point. He starts to talk to himself and think everyone’s against him. One of the last times he smoked weed before the breaking point when he “quit” he had warned his brother not to lie to him and that he “knew what he was doing” and at some point they’d have to fight (Dan is a good angel, his brother is apparently an evil angel and ALSO wants to have sex with me). It’s all just ridiculous and very stressful. And he won’t listen at all.

He thinks weed isn’t the culprit because he still has these thoughts sober. I told him he does, BUT he is able to control them and listen to reason. I am shocked he can’t see the correlation and saddened that it’s going to start again. He will NOT listen to me. I can see this already, because when he smoked yesterday he was able to not think anything negative (even though he “didn’t know where I was” when I left for work…). I think it’s a risk that nobody should take. Not only because we were so happy, or because he hurt me while on drugs, but because it’s not good for HIM.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Schizophrenia is such a tough illness because it lies to you. It tells you you’re fine when in reality everyone around you can see you are crumbling. Weed is also deceptive. It gives you a false sense of calmness but really exacerbates psychosis. Twice while I was high I had the delusion that I had to kill my mom because it already happened and otherwise would break the space time continuum. It was really scarey and if a small part of me didn’t believe it I would have acted on it. My therapist gave me an article on marijuana and schizophrenia that said the psychosis gets worse when the high wears off. That wasn’t my experience but it sounds like it gets that way for your boyfriend. For me the psychotic thoughts would come when I was stoned. I know its a hard situation but he really needs to be evaluated before he gets worse. The motivator for me seeking treatment was the fear. I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. It really got to a desperate point. I was pleading with my mom to just let me kill myself and believed that God was commanding me to chose whether I lived or died so my mom and I agreed that the best thing to do was go in the hospital. While I was in the ER waiting for a bed I attempted to take a gun from a cop to shoot myself. I only recently came off of PTI. I’m just saying you don’t want him to become violent and the weed has the potential to do that with his psychosis. Good luck to you. :sunny:

@SunGirl thank you for the comment! i hope everything is going okay for you! those sound like scary thoughts to have had! i’m glad you were able to overcome your fear.

I’ve smoked weed for 6 years and my history is very strange. Weed chills me out, makes me very happy, and even less judgmental. I’ve even noticed I haven’t ever felt suicidal when I’m high. I’m not supporting weed I’m only stating what it’s done for me. My experience has always been positive. The first year though I had full blown psychosis. Nothing terrifying but I would travel places and trip as if I were on shrooms or acid. That doesn’t happen anymore. And just for your information, people with SZ are 2X more likely to use/abuse weed.