The Ongoing Link Between Marijuana and Psychosis

On November 3 voters in several states passed ballot measures in favor of marijuana, and Oregon became the first U. S. state to legalize “magic mushrooms” for therapeutic use.

The rapid expansion of drugs in America has a number of healthcare professionals discussing the link between marijuana and psychosis.

Dr. Kenneth Finn, Pain Medicine Physician in Colorado, recently told a news outlet in San Antonio about the dangers of adolescent marijuana use, saying,

“When you’re having a fragile brain that is still developing and having negative impacts on that, some of those bridges, you cannot uncross, like the schizophrenic or the psychosis, some of that those symptoms persist even after cessation of [marijuana] use,”

The Mayo Clinic recently updated its information regarding marijuana, saying,

Marijuana use might worsen manic symptoms in people who have bipolar disorder. If used frequently, marijuana might increase the risk of depression or worsen depression symptoms. Research suggests that marijuana use increases the risk of psychosis in people who have schizophrenia.

Smoking marijuana can affect your memory and cognitive function and cause harmful cardiovascular effects, such as high blood pressure. Long-term marijuana use can worsen respiratory conditions.

And Psycom Pro, a resource for mental health professionals, writes,

Medical cannabis is not recommended [for patients with psychosis] as it can trigger and worsen psychosis in those diagnosed with schizophrenia as well as in those with an increased risk for developing schizophrenia.

A study published last year found that marijuana legalization has been linked to psychosis, suicide, and other substance abuse.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s publication JAMA Psychiatry found exposure to marijuana during pregnancy was associated with psychotic behaviors, weaker cognitive abilities, and other problems in children.

Despite all of the research linking marijuana use with psychosis and psychiatric problems — particularly in children — Arkansas law lets doctors certify children to use marijuana for psychiatric conditions like PTSD.

In fact an Arkansas abortionist got in trouble with the State Medical Board for the evaluation methods he used earlier this year when he certified a 12 year old girl with psychiatric problems to use marijuana.

All of this underscores what we have said for years: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.

Documents Show Abortionist Wrote Marijuana Certifications in Heber Springs

A Little Rock abortionist has been working at a medical marijuana clinic in Heber Springs, according to documents Family Council obtained last week via the Freedom of Information Act.

Dr. Thomas Tvedten is the owner of Little Rock Family Planning Services, Arkansas’ only surgical abortion facility.

Documents obtained from the State Medical Board via the Freedom of Information Act indicate that besides operating an abortion facility in Little Rock, Dr. Tvedten began certifying patients to use medical marijuana at Heber Springs Cannabis Clinic in September of 2019.

According to the documents, in February of 2020 Dr. Tvedten certified a 12-year-old girl to use medical marijuana. A complaint filed against Dr. Tvedten indicates that the girl was receiving treatment from child and adolescent psychiatrists Dr. Scott Hogan and Dr. Lynn Thomas in central Arkansas.

When the girl’s psychiatrists learned Dr. Tvedten had certified their patient to use marijuana, they filed a complaint with the Arkansas State Medical Board.

The Arkansas State Medical Board asked Dr. Kristi Kindrick, a board certified psychiatrist, to review the case. Dr. Kindrick prepared an Expert Reviewer’s Report outlining her findings. The report indicates Dr. Tvedten diagnosed the child using a screening tool for post-traumatic stress disorder, which the report says is not a substitution for a psychiatric evaluation. The report also notes that marijuana exposure puts children with severe mental illness at significant risk of worsening symptoms.

The report concludes that “Dr. Tvedten has acted in a grossly negligent manner” in diagnosing the child and certifying her to use medical marijuana.

The Arkansas State Medical Board suspended Dr. Tvedten’s medical license in August pending a disciplinary hearing before the board.

On October 1, the board opted to reinstate Dr. Tvedten’s license, but barred him from certifying anyone to use medical marijuana until the board holds a disciplinary hearing in December.

Obviously, this situation highlights a number of issues with Arkansas’ medical marijuana laws.

For example, Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment lets physicians with no experience diagnosing mental illness certify people to use marijuana for mental illnesses like PTSD, Alzheimer’s, and Tourette’s syndrome.

Family Council will continue to monitor and report on this situation.

You can read the documents Family Council obtained via the Freedom of Information Act here and here.