By the time he got to college, he had been through various drug treatment programs. He had become so paranoid that he thought the mob was after him and that his university was a base for the FBI, Ms Stack said. At one point, after leaving his childhood home, he threatened to kill the family dog unless his parents gave him money. His mother later found out that Johnny got his own medical marijuana card when he was 18 and started selling to younger kids.
After several stints in psychiatric hospitals, doctors determined Johnny had a severe 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 years old. Days before her death, Ms Stack said, Johnny had apologized to her, saying the weed had ruined her mind and life, adding, “I’m sorry and I love you.”
A recent study found that people who used marijuana had a higher likelihood of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts than those who didn’t use it at all. Ms Stack now runs a non-profit organization called Johnny’s Ambassadors which educates communities about high-THC cannabis and its effects on the teenage brain.
There are “no known safe limits”.
It can be difficult to determine exactly how much THC is entering the brain of someone who uses cannabis. This is because it is not only the frequency of use and the concentration of THC that affects the dosage, it is also the rate at which the chemicals are delivered to the brain. In vaporizers, the speed of delivery can vary depending on the base in which the THC is dissolved, the strength of the device’s battery, and the heat of the product 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,” Dr. Levy said.
Young people are also more likely to become addicted when they start using marijuana before age 18, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.