My Son’s Journey from being an Accomplished Scholar-Athlete to Psychosis, Addiction, Jail and Living on the Street

April 5, 2019

Editor’s note: portions of this story have been previously published on as part of a review of Alex Berenson’s book, Tell Your Children The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence.

What I have to say needs to be heard. This has to do with getting out the truth – real and vital information that can save lives and hopefully shed light on the devastation being caused by marijuana use for more individuals than people have any idea. THC’s assault on the brain is impacting tens of thousands upon thousands of people and many more than that, when you include the concentric circles of families who are impacted, as well as close friends and colleagues.

I am an educated woman who has been on this journey with my now 29 year old son for more than 5 years. Some background on my son – he was a standout student/athlete in high school who went on to a top college where he became a three-season runner and All American Cross Country runner his senior year. He had a passion “to make a difference in the world” and wrote his senior thesis on the inequities of our country’s education system with plans to pursue his Ph.D., which his thesis advisor implored him to do.

But first, he joined Ameri-Corps and moved to New Mexico with his college girlfriend to teach economically disadvantaged children. Everything went well for the first year but sometime during the second year, things started to fall apart. We had no idea he had started smoking marijuana, which he never had used during high school or college. We asked him to come home to see if we could help him and shortly after that, he had his first psychotic break. That was when we found out about his marijuana use. This journey has now been ongoing for over 5 years. Our son has had over 17 hospitalizations, and has been in long term treatment programs, committed to two different state mental institutions, locked up in jail and homeless on the streets. We have had to call 911 more times than we can count. And every time he is released, he resumes his pot use as he cannot fight his addiction, and the descent into delusional psychosis and then full psychotic break ensues. As one doctor so eloquently stated at one point, “pot will always trump everything.”

I have educated myself through research, attending conferences, speaking to doctor after doctor and meeting family after family on the psych wards. I have met some of the top doctors and psychiatrists in the field of psychosis and marijuana-induced psychosis. They all know it; the hospitals, the medical providers, doctors and psychiatrists, and the families affected. But, the reasons this information is not being released in this country are convoluted, complex and driven by profit. Other countries are light years ahead of us – Finland, Australia, the U.K. – in understanding the connection between marijuana use and psychosis/schizophrenia. The connection between the “predisposed brain” is still not completely understood and more research needs to be done. The high potency THC of today is a powerfully psychoactive drug. We are essentially beyond helping our son, although I cannot and will not give up trying. His propensity towards violence is terrifying. A brain on fire with psychotic delusions of horror is a tragedy waiting to happen. It is just a matter of time and I continue to try and alert authorities the best I can. My son was a gentle, loving, peaceful person who everyone loved. There is no history of mental illness on either side of the family. Barring a miracle, our son will spend the rest of his life in the penal system.

Please everyone wake up, pay attention … this is REAL! The claims by the nay-sayers on the whole “correlation-causation” with no cause-and-effect relationship is like the beginning years of tobacco saying the warnings of nicotine and lung cancer were anecdotal and unfounded. Again, this has nothing to do with anything beyond wanting to warn people about the truth around marijuana and the brain. I am an open-minded individual who leans primarily liberal on most things. But I am also a mother who has watched her son’s life be destroyed and that of her family. The marijuana industry is a multi-billion dollar industry which is being driven by profit over the safety and well-being of human lives. The truth needs to be told.

Submitted by: A Mom in the Northeast

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  1. Reply

    Dear Northeast mom,
    I’m so sorry that our country is allowing this neurotoxin to be unleashed in the highest potency forms ever made, and allows the marijuana industry to call it medicine. I am so very sorry that your son is on the streets and is servery damage from marijuana. I ‘m so very sorry for your pain. My hope is that more people will hear your story and stop this nightmare. You have my 100% support , and I’ll keep educating and keep pushing back on this drug promotional movement.
    Much Love,
    Aubree Adams, Moms Strong

  2. Reply

    My heart aches for you. We must start a grass roots movement to stop the legalization of this drug. I have seen the damages it is causing in the minds of young people. We are praying for your son and for your family.

  3. catherine


    Dear Northeast Mom,
    You deserve a medal for all you have gone through. Know that there are so many just like you all across the country. Moms arms reach out and embrace you and hold you. You are not alone. You are good and you are valuable and you and your son do not deserve this suffering. Some families are aware. Some suffer in silence not knowing what is responsible for their loved ones life unraveling.. For each individual harmed, the ripple is large. For each lost life, lost soul, there are moms dads brothers sisters grandparents communities grieving, suffering, looking at their empty chair they would have occupied…. You are right; this is about exploitation of our children so a few will be enriched. I pray that the nation will wake up. I am very sorry for all you have gone through. I hope that telling your story will move the ball down the court that must faster so this will end more quickly and save lives. Thank you for telling your story and sharing with all of us.
    Physicians families and friends…

  4. Reply

    Dear Mom in the Northeast,
    Thank you for sharing with us here at Moms Strong and with the world we are trying to reach with our warnings and efforts to unmask the marijuana charade.
    I am so sorry your family has endured so much and still carries the burden of this horrific disease of marijuana use disorder.
    I pray you find peace and may your son stay safe and find his way out of the hold of addiction. Sharing your story is one way we can enlighten the world about the need for support and change. Clearly the normalization of drug use is harmful, not helpful.
    Thank you for joining us.
    Sally Schindel, Moms Strong

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