Marijuana and Mental Illness Research

"If I knew marijuana would make me go crazy I never would have tried it."  - K. Anderson, co-author of A Night In Jail

Because pot is being legalized in more and more states, many young people assume it must be safe. However, when used by people whose brains are still developing (up to age 25) there are several risks, one of which is developing a mental illness. Recent studies have shown this vulnerability, and the tragic correlation is starkly illustrated by the life of my brother, K. Articles, websites, and videos, like the ones below, inspired my brother and me to bring his story to the public.


Dr. Danieli Piomelli was kind enough to meet with me when I was doing a series of interviews about marijuana and mental illness on a social media app. It is a prized interview for me because Dr. Piomelli was a member of the National Academy of Science who published this gold-standard report on the health effects of marijuana. Note: Dr. Piomellis says regular use of 8% THC increases a person's risk to develop schizophrenia later on in life. In California, a joint is about 23% THC. Kids are vaping and dabbing THC at 60-99% THC. The higher the potency, the greater the risks.

This is an hour-long recording of our second webinar with Behavioral Health Services. This video is comprised of an NBC -LA interview about the short film, A Night In Jail. After that, there is an excellent presentation by Dr. Messamore which describes how using marijuana raises the risks for mental illness. On the panel is Dr. Messamore, Kelsie Groenleer, Ali Abdelnaby (two high school students who spearhead a smoking/vaping prevention group called "Kick Ash"), and the co-author and inspiration for A Night In Jail, Kirk Anderson.

This is a 73-minute recording of our first webinar held in sponsorship with Behavioral Health Services (a Los Angeles County contractor). It consists of a presentation about the risks of today's marijuana by Jen Harris (of BHS); an NBC-LA interview about our short film, A Night In Jail; a screening of the 18-minute film (not shown here for copyright purposes), and a panel discussion. The panel includes Kirk Anderson, co-author, whose life inspired the story, and Dr. Jeremy Martinez from LA County Dept of Mental Health and Homeless Outreach. Moderated by Redondo Beach Mayor, Bill Brand.

Two-minute video: Anne Hassel used to work at a marijuana dispensary. She was a true believer in the plant as medicine and wanted to help others. She became a "budtender". Shortly after working in the dispensary, Anne became addicted to the new high potency products and suffered severe psychological effects.

Sally Schindel on Fox News
Sally, from, lost her son to suicide. Andy served in our military and did not have PTSD. His note said: "Marijuana killed my soul + ruined my brain"

Kalie Guse' was in a cannabis-psychotic state. She thought things were happening which were not. Afraid, she left her home and hasn't been seen since.

Dr. Miller discusses connection between marijuana use and psychosis.

Alex Berenson on CNN
Alex Berenson is a former journalist for the NY Times. He is the author of a groundbreaking book called Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.



Logo Parents Opposed to Pot
Parents Opposed to Pot. The cannabis grown and sold today is not same drug as was available in the 1970s. The average THC has increased to more than 15%. Cannabis issue can clearly lead to addiction. The damage to the brain from chronic use is worse compared with chronic use of heroin. Among the negative effects of long-term cannabis use in adolescence include neuro-psychological dysfunction, decline in IQ, short memory, among others.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana
Smart Approaches to Marijuana. We are professionals working in mental health and public health. We are bipartisan. We are medical doctors, lawmakers, treatment providers, preventionists, teachers, law enforcement officers and others who seek a middle road between incarceration and legalization. Our commonsense, third-way approach to marijuana policy is based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.

Moms Strong
Moms Strong is a support group partnering to inform and educate those harmed by marijuana. We are not funded by industry or the government, rather by parents as we hope to spread awareness and prevent tragedies like we’ve experienced.

Logo Parents Opposed to Pot
Smart Colorado recently traveled to California and Nevada to photograph adult-use marijuana products for their initiative. Their site is to used to help educate that marijuana is not just a plant. Smart Colorado says: "It is time to end the practice of illustrating all marijuana related-news stories and educational materials with the same overused photos of a marijuana plant. The public deserves to be informed about the wide variety of products and the THC potencies sold in legal adult-use marijuana markets. This collection of photographs also illustrates that, as of 2020, there is no consensus on health and safety laws regarding adult-use marijuana. State laws differ on individual serving sizes of THC, total THC limits, packaging, wrapping, and marking of products." While in California and Nevada, Smart Colorado obtained 25mg THC tablets and a 500mg THC mouth spray, both products that would be illegal in Colorado's adult-use market.

Johnny's Ambassadors
Stop Teen Suicide by THC! Johnny's Ambassadors works to educate parents and teens about the dangers of dabbing high-potency marijuana extracts and their impact on adolescent brain formation, mental health, and teen suicide.

Other Side Of Canibus
The Award-Winning film, The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth, will help you to understand today’s marijuana through interviews with researchers and other professionals, as well as individuals whose lives were negatively impacted by this drug.

Storytelling in Prevention Education

Storytelling Changes Attitudes and Behaviors

"Many business people have already discovered the power of storytelling in a practical sense – they have observed how compelling a well-constructed narrative can be. But recent scientific work is putting a much finer point on just how stories change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors."

Drama Therapy: excitement without drugs, enhancing self-esteem for people with addictions

What if one key could...turn a young woman away from substance abuse...There is perhaps not one key, but there may be one set of keys: drama therapy. Drama can provide excitement without drugs and offer a new interest and skills...Ultimately, drama therapy can enhance positive self-image, self-esteem and self-discipline among people struggling with addictions.

Performance is beneficial to both participants and audiences

Performance is very captivating and beneficial to both participants and audiences...The development and practice of these characteristics along with others make for resilient youth, better able to withstand problems that can lead to substance abuse. But audiences can benefit as well, by being exposed to the accomplishments of young people, by learning more about substance abuse, and perhaps by participating in some solution building. The organization benefits through using performance to accomplish its goals and ultimately, the whole community can become a safer, more supportive environment.

Drama is effective for prevention education and motivation

Drama incorporates a component of emotional response to the informational content, and the combination of emotion and information works together to promote individual intentions to become more involved in family and community prevention activities. This study demonstrates the efficacy of drama as a mechanism to educate and motivate.

Increases intention to not use drugs for students aged 14-15

...a promising way of increasing the intention to not use illegal drugs.