Delta-8-THC Is Destroying Lives

Posted on February 14, 2024 View all news

My son was a full-time college student, doing well in school, living with two friends he had known from middle school. It was 2020, and Covid had shut down in-person classes, and his college had transitioned quickly to online learning. My son started to show signs of stress with his classes. He then began to text us with more and more strange messages. He said a group of men selected him as the future Republican president.

His roommates and friends called to say he was acting strange. He didn’t appear to be sleeping, was losing weight, and would break into long speeches with a very loose flow of ideas.

We brought him to the ER in June. He tested positive for THC but stated he rarely smoked. The ER doc released him. He wrote college-associated anxiety as a probable diagnosis but advised us to follow up with a psychiatrist.

We got him to move back home at the end of July. He was arguing with his roommates and stated they wouldn’t let him get any sleep at night.

At home, we said NO marijuana.
He had to eat three meals a day.
He had to see a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist diagnosed “psychosis,” but he was never prescribed any medications ( that we knew of). We know he never had any meds sent to any pharmacy because he was and still is on our medical insurance plan. My husband and I had no access to his psych care or management because he was over the age of 18.

He slowly returned to his normal, pleasant, happy self. He returned to classes in the Fall of 2020 and did well.

Then, he started vaping e-cigarettes in college, something we did not allow at home.

The odd behaviors started again in Fall 2022 when he was a senior at FSU. But the behaviors were more bizarre. He thought his girlfriend was pregnant with twins, and we (his parents) were planning on taking them at birth to traffic them. He was depositing forged checks into his checking account, then accusing us of stealing the money when the checks bounced. He started to argue and then physically threatened his roommates. Campus police visited him twice but found no valid threat.

On Thanksgiving break, he refused to come home. That weekend, he was even more threatening to his roommates. I filed a request to Baker Act him. The judge agreed, and my son was brought to the area’s psych hospital but discharged less than 36 hours later with NO diagnosis and No treatment.

I don’t know how he managed, but he was still working about 20 hours a week at an internship job but quit in April.

We moved him to a one-bedroom studio apartment for the rest of the spring semester because he stated he stopped using marijuana in the fall. At that time, he admitted he was vaping Delta-8 vapes before and during both these episodes. He said he was vaping a lot, that these THC hemp vapes are easily available in Florida, and that there are vape shops on every corner in the area around campus.

He finally moved back home with us, and we were grateful that his behaviors have slowly returned to “normal.” He attended 12 weeks of intensive outpatient counseling in August and October 2023. He was also prescribed Zoloft and Abilify, but He still says he hears voices yelling at him from outside at night, but that happens less frequently.

The second psychosis was much more severe and longer lasting than the first. It was frustrating and frightening. During this psychotic episode, my son wrote letters to both my husband and my places of work saying we were trafficking his unborn children. He ” stalked” a girl on social media whom he briefly dated the summer before and who he thought was pregnant but never was. He was convinced he was in the CIA and his roommates were plotting against him. He felt he invented Q-ANON. He wrote on Facebook in our family chat group that my husband and I abused him and that we were both Narcissistic and alcoholics.

My husband and I kept reminding each other that this wasn’t our son. It was the illness.

Our family has no history of severe mental illness like psychosis.

We have learned that the Delta-8 takes up all the serotonin receptors in the brain, which causes this psychosis, and it just takes months to get metabolized out of the brain.

We are still determining what his new baseline will be. Can he resume college classes? Can he hold a job? Can he live on his own? He is 24 years old but acts like a teenager who needs to be reminded to pick up after himself and do chores.

Fortunately, we have him home, but he threatened to return to college. We knew if he did, he would lose him again. He knows now that he can’t use any THC/CBD product. Ever. But we live in fear that it may happen again with more disastrous consequences.

Delta-8 is destroying lives.

Is there a genetic factor? Maybe. Can it be identified and screened for? I hope so, but people may still choose to use it.

All THC/CBD products need to be evaluated for safety, measured, and controlled. There needs to be warning labels – just as there are with cigarettes, tobacco, and alcohol. People need to be informed of the dangers.

It is causing so much destruction and heartache.

I know there is an obscene amount of money already made by the Cannabis industry and much more to be made in the future. In my opinion, the cost is not worth it.

Mom from Florida

One response to “Delta-8-THC Is Destroying Lives”

  1. This story is tragic, but you should have some relief in knowing that Florida passed a law banning Delta-8 THC. We hope the governor will sign the law and it will be banned throughout the country. The 2018 Farm Bill which legalize hemp must be revised.
    (Delta-9 THC is still a problem and vaping has been a great way for youth to hide their THC habit.)
    Your story shows that treatment does not guarantee that recovery can be permanent.

Leave a Reply

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