Marijuana Psychosis Guide

Learn how to help a lived one in marijuana psychosis through this comprehensive guide.

dysthymia in men

What Is Marijuana-Induced Psychosis?

Marijuana-induced psychosis is a severe mental health condition triggered by the consumption of marijuana, characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and a significant detachment from reality. Unlike paranoia or mild anxiety that some users may experience from the drug, marijuana-induced psychosis can lead to a profound disconnection from reality, often requiring medical intervention and long-term treatment.

For young men, this condition can be particularly debilitating, affecting academic performance, career prospects, and personal relationships, and it can be extremely scary for those who may know someone experiencing it. Understanding the unique impact of marijuana psychosis on young men is crucial for effective prevention and treatment of a loved one.

Potency: Marijuana and Psychosis

Marijuana’s primary psychoactive component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has increased in potency over the past few decades. Today’s cannabis products, including edibles and concentrates, often contain THC levels far higher than those found in marijuana used in previous generations. High-THC products are particularly associated with a higher risk of inducing psychosis. Young adults often experiment with these high-potency products, driven by a desire for stronger effects and social acceptance. This experimentation can quickly lead to dependency and increase the risk of experiencing marijuana psychosis.

Marijuana Usage Among Young Men

Marijuana usage among young men has significantly increased in recent years. Cannabis has now become the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States. The legalization of marijuana in various states and countries has played a major role in normalizing its use. With recreational marijuana now legal in many areas, perceived risks have decreased, and social acceptance has risen, leading to higher consumption rates among young adults​. The ease of access to potent THC products, social factors, and peer pressure has contributed to the rising trend of marijuana use among young men. The portrayal of marijuana as a safe and natural substance in social media and peer networks encourages experimentation and regular use.

Causes of Higher Consumption

Prevalence of Marijuana Psychosis

With increased cannabis usage, the incidence of marijuana-induced psychosis has been on the rise, particularly among young men. According to recent research, cannabis is now involved in over 50% of psychosis cases, a major increase from the past. Studies have found that the risk of psychosis increases with the frequency and potency of marijuana use. For instance, daily users of high-potency cannabis are five times more likely to develop psychosis compared to non-users.

Risk Factors for Marijuana Psychosis

Certain factors increase susceptibility to marijuana-induced psychosis. Knowing if your loved one is at a higher risk can help with prevention.

Common Risks Include

Signs of Weed Psychosis

Recognizing the symptoms of marijuana-induced psychosis is crucial for being able to quickly get your loved one the help they need. Key signs include:

  1. Hallucinations: A common sign includes seeing objects or people that are not there, hearing random voices or noises, or feeling sensations that don’t exist.
  2. Delusions: These are irrational beliefs that can take various forms, such as being paranoid that others are out to harm them, having an inflated sense of self-importance or believing they have special powers, and thinking they are being targeted, such as believing the authorities are following them.
  3. Disorganized Thinking: Your loved one may begin mumbling or saying random, incoherent words that make it difficult to get their point across or express their complete thoughts.
  4. Behavioral Changes: You may notice increased agitation to minor situations and aggressive behavior such as yelling or throwing items or they may become increasingly isolative and stop communicating with their social circle or family members.
  5. Cognitive Impairments: They may show poor memory such as forgetting they had plans, or impaired cognition such as difficulty concentrating on tasks like reading, or a hard time making simple decisions. This can affect daily functioning with work or school and can cause them to isolate or withdraw from daily obligations.
  6. Emotional Disturbances: Your loved one may have sudden uncharacteristic outbursts or their moods may be more pronounced and change rapidly.
  7. Physical Symptoms: In addition to changes in appetite and sleep, they may make unusual movements that are involuntary like jerking and twitching.

When a Loved one has Marijuana-Induced Psychosis

If you observe any or several of the signs of psychosis, try to stay as calm as possible in order to get immediate help.

What to Do

Seek Medical Attention: If your loved one is showing signs of marijuana-induced psychosis, contact emergency services or take them to the nearest emergency room. Prompt medical intervention keeps everyone safe and helps get them stabilized as quickly as possible.

Provide a Safe Environment: Ensure a calm, safe space, away from potential dangers – remove any objects that could be used for self-harm or harm to others while waiting for help.

What to Expect

Medical Assessment: In a medical setting, healthcare professionals will conduct a thorough assessment to determine the severity of psychosis and the best treatment plan..
Medication: Antipsychotic medications may be prescribed to help stabilize and manage acute symptoms like hallucinations and rapid cycling moods.
Observation: Healthcare professionals will provide continuous monitoring to ensure their safety and make adjustments as needed.

Abstinence From Marijuana: Completely avoiding, or not using cannabis at all, is crucial to prevent psychosis from happening again. Support from therapists, family, and support groups can help your loved one maintain abstinence​​

Medication Management: Psychotropic medications to manage any underlying conditions may be necessary to manage symptoms and prevent relapse. Regular medication management with a psychiatrist can ensure the efficacy of treatment.

Residential Treatment: Residential treatment is often indicated for those who’ve had a psychotic episode as it provides a safe, structured environment with 24/7 care. Medical supervision, individual and group therapy, symptom management and peer to peer support helps prevent future episodes. Inpatient treatment that diagnoses and treats underlying conditions in an environment where they learn and practice healthy coping strategies is considered top of the line treatment for young men with drug-induced psychosis.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is a crucial component of treatment for weed psychosis. Your loved one will have the greatest chance of recovery and relapse prevention with:

Long Term Care: Men who stay engaged in a supportive, recovery-focused community have better chances of long-term sobriety. Transitional living programs offer gender-specific support for men, allowing them to maintain their life obligations while receiving real-time clinical support. After transitional living, moving to sober living or outpatient programs ensures continuous support while easing back into normal duties.

Aftercare Planning: Creating a personalized plan with treatment providers that includes continued therapy, support groups, and access to resources like vocational training and educational opportunities helps sustain sobriety.

Ongoing Support Network: Regular follow-ups with mental health professionals and participation in support groups of other men with similar experiences provides ongoing encouragement and accountability, significantly reducing the risk of relapse.

Life Skills and Coping Mechanisms: Continuing life skills learned during treatment helps create healthy habits and routines, including establishing regular exercise, adopting a balanced diet, and prioritizing adequate sleep. Integrating these practices with learned effective coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness, stress management, and relaxation exercises creates a well-rounded lifestyle for long-term sobriety.

FAQ: Marijuana and Psychosis

Does marijuana-induced psychosis go away?

Yes, with quality treatment and discontinuing cannabis use, men can recover fully from marijuana-induced psychosis. Early intervention and effective treatment plans are crucial for the best outcomes.

Is marijuana a psychotic?

Marijuana itself is not classified as a psychotic substance, but its use can induce psychotic symptoms, especially in men who are more at risk for psychotic disorders such as those with bi-polar disorder or a family history of mental illness.

Does cannabis cause schizophrenia?

High-potency cannabis products have been linked to an increased risk of developing schizophrenia, particularly in men with family members who have the disorder.

Can someone be in psychosis forever?

Not necessarily. With timely and appropriate treatment, recovery is possible from marijuana-induced psychosis. The prognosis depends on various factors, including how long your loved one used marijuana and the quality of treatment they receive.

Will this happen again if marijuana is used?

There is a significant risk of recurrence if marijuana use is resumed, especially high-potency products. Staying away from cannabis is essential to prevent relapse.

Is it the parents fault?

Not at all – parents are not to blame for their child’s marijuana-induced psychosis. Various factors, including a family history of other mental health disorders and external factors such as stress, friendships, underlying trauma, and more, can contribute to the risk. Supporting and seeking professional help is the best course of action.

How will treatment help?

Treatment helps by addressing both the immediate symptoms of psychosis and the underlying causes. Medical interventions, therapy, and support groups work together to promote recovery and prevent relapse. Treatment also helps socially, as men experience fun without substances, create lasting friendships, embrace educational topics and skills that interest them, and learn helpful life skills that make them feel prepared to leave treatment and lead a healthy, happy, and independent life.

What other drugs can cause this?

Other substances, including synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., “spice” or “K2”), hallucinogens, stimulants, and alcohol, can also induce psychotic episodes.

What other risk factors are there?

Additional risk factors for marijuana-induced psychosis include early age of first use, heavy and frequent marijuana use, and the presence of other mental health disorders.

How long does marijuana-induced psychosis last?

The duration of marijuana-induced psychosis can vary. More minor occurrences may last days to weeks, but some may experience lingering symptoms for months.

How long does it take to recover from a psychotic episode?

Recovery time can vary based on the severity of the episode and adherence to treatment. Some may recover within weeks, while others may take months to start feeling like themselves again.

Is marijuana-induced psychosis genetic?

Research shows that some men are more likely to develop marijuana-induced psychosis, especially if they have a family history of mental health issues like schizophrenia.

Is marijuana-induced psychosis on the rise?

Yes, the incidence of marijuana-induced psychosis is increasing, particularly among young adults, due to the rising potency of cannabis products and higher consumption rates.

How PACE Recovery Can Help

Treatment for Young  Men Only 

At PACE Recovery, we provide mental health services exclusively for young adult men. We treat cases of marijuana-induced psychosis every month and have seen life changing outcomes in our patients.

Advanced Treatment Protocols

Upon admission, each client undergoes a thorough assessment to create a personalized treatment plan, incorporating both medical and psychiatric evaluations. Treatment begins with full stabilization, followed by a mental health-focused approach that addresses underlying mental illnesses, negative tendencies, and any past trauma.  After a strong recovery foundation is established, we address substance-use disorders, putting emphasis on what is driving the substance abuse.

In-House Experts 

Expert medical care, including ongoing medication management and psychiatric support, is provided by a team of experienced professionals that are judgment-free. Our team consists of psychiatrists adept at treating drug-induced psychosis in young men. Utilizing the latest medical research and advanced treatment protocols, our specialists provide empathetic, evidence-based care that addresses both the immediate and long-term effects of psychosis. Our medical team is skilled in managing complex cases, frequent marijuana users, and co-occurring mental health disorders, ensuring that each young man receives the highest standard of care throughout his recovery.

Integrative Care

PACE emphasizes a well-rounded, integrative approach with scientifically-backed therapies, mindfulness practices, and stress management techniques to address both mental and physical health. Parents can rest assured knowing that our approach includes thorough psychiatric evaluations, individualized medication management, and continuous monitoring to ensure the safety and well-being of their loved ones.

Clients engage in regular physical activities and receive support through community and peer connections, creating a positive environment conducive to recovery.  For long-term recovery, PACE offers comprehensive aftercare plans, including ongoing therapy, support group meetings, and regular follow-ups. We focus on education, life skills training, and vocational support to help young men build a healthy, productive future. For more information or to seek help, please contact us today.