From delusions to suicidal thoughts: How one young man’s cannabis habit affected him

Cannabis, from the Cannabis sativa plant, contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound that causes users to feel “high”.

In June 2022, Thailand decriminalised cannabis, with the aim of cultivating it for economic and medical uses. Since then, cannabis has appeared in soups, curries, cookies, gummies, drinks and other products.

Dr Melvyn Zhang, a consultant with the National Addictions Management Service at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), said that cannabis is addictive regardless of the method of intake, as long as THC is present.

He added that THC will be absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to the brain.

“THC has the capacity to change the balance of neuro-transmitters in the brain which are in charge of our thoughts, mood and behaviour,” said Dr Zhang, who added that repetitive use of cannabis can also lead to mood disorder and psychosis.

In Singapore, cannabis and its derivatives are illegal. But cannabis abuse is on the rise.

On Feb 16, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), at the release of its annual statistics for 2022, reported a spike in the number of cannabis abusers nabbed – from 138 in 2021 to 236 in 2022.

Of the new abusers arrested in 2022, 70 per cent were below the age of 30, including a 14-year-old.

Mikhail said he stopped using cannabis some time after first trying it, but got hooked on it after breaking up with his girlfriend.

“Instead of me feeling lonely and miserable every night, I realised I could be happy and high,” he said.

Getting drugs was not difficult, he claimed, adding that a dealer would text him when there was supply. Mikhail said he spent about 25 per cent of his pay to get his fix, and often smoked alone at the stairwell of his Housing Board block.

When he finally stopped using it after two years, he battled severe irritability and uncontrollable bouts of crying.

He sought help for his paranoia and was referred to IMH, where he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and prescribed antipsychotic medications. But he did not stick with the treatment programme.

“When you can feel such pleasure in your mind and body that is so strong, it feels like a roller-coaster ride that you want to keep taking and taking again,” he said.

”Once you don’t feel high any more, you will feel that something is wrong with you. That’s when you start to question yourself, you start going into depression, you start having withdrawal symptoms.”

Mikhail said he felt deep shame for saying hurtful things on social media while using cannabis, and developed self-loathing.

Suicidal thoughts set in, and in early 2017, his two brothers took him to hospital after he tried to end his life.

It was a wake-up call.

Read more here: Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *