Teenagers get sick from products with high THC levels

By the time he reached college, he had been through various addiction treatment programs. He had become so paranoid that he thought the mob was after him, and his college was a base for the FBI, Ms. Stack said. At one point, after he moved from his childhood home, he threatened to kill the family dog ​​unless his parents gave him money. His mother later discovered that Johnny had obtained his own medical marijuana card when he turned 18 and had started dealing with younger children.

After several stays in psychiatric hospitals, doctors determined that Johnny had a serious case of THC abuse, Ms. Stack said. He was prescribed an antipsychotic medication, which helped – but then he stopped taking it. In 2019, Johnny died after jumping from a six-story building. He was 19. A few days before his death, Mrs. Stack said, Johnny had apologized to her, saying that weed had ruined his mind and his life, adding, “I’m sorry and I love you.”

A recent study showed that people who used marijuana were more likely to have suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts than those who did not use the drug at all. Ms. Stack now runs a nonprofit organization called Johnny’s Ambassadors, which educates communities about high-THC cannabis and its effect on the young brain.

It can be difficult to pinpoint how much THC gets into a person’s brain when they use cannabis. This is because it is not only the frequency of use and the THC concentration that affects the dosage, it is also how fast the chemicals are delivered to the brain. In vaporizers, the delivery rate may change depending on the base in which the THC is dissolved, the strength of the device battery and how hot the product becomes when heated.

Higher doses of THC are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia and psychosis.

“The younger you are, the more vulnerable your brain is to developing these problems,” said Dr. Levy.

Adolescents are also more likely to become addicted when they start using marijuana before the age of 18, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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