Mental health risk warnings may be required in pot products in California: Shot

Liz Kircaldi says her grandson’s marijuana use led her to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He said he doubted the labels would work, “but what if it helps anyone? Great.”

Beth Lauberg / KQWD


Hide captions

Toggle captions

Beth Lauberg / KQWD


Liz Kircaldi says her grandson’s marijuana use led her to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He said he doubted the labels would work, “but what if it helps anyone? Great.”

Beth Lauberg / KQWD

Liz Kirkald’s grandson was at the top of her class in high school and was a talented jazz bassist when she started smoking. He is as serious about the song as he is about the pot.

And the more serious he became about pottery, the more he became paranoid, even mentally ill. He began to hear voices.

“They were going to kill him and there were people coming to eat his brain. Strange, weird thing,” Kircaldi said. “I woke up one morning, and Corey was nowhere to be seen. Well, it turns out he’s running around Villa Lane completely naked.”

KHN logo

Corey came to live with his grandmother in Napa, California for a few years. She thought maybe she could help. Now, he said that was innocent.

Corey was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Kirkald blames the pot.

“Drug use has activated psychosis, which I really think,” he says.

In fact, many scientific studies have linked marijuana use to the risk of developing mental illness, including schizophrenia. According to a published study, those who use high-potency marijuana on a daily basis are four times more at risk than those who have never used it. Lancet Psychiatry In 2019. One study found that eliminating marijuana use among adolescents would reduce the rate of schizophrenia worldwide by 10%.

California doctors and lawmakers want marijuana manufacturers to warn consumers about this and other health risks in their packaging labels and advertisements, such as cigarette requirements. They also want vendors to distribute health brochures to first-time consumers, outlining the risks of consuming marijuana for young people, drivers and those who are pregnant, especially those who are primarily responsible for the psychological effects of cannabis, containers with high concentrations of THC.

“Today’s turbocharged products are turbocharging the harms associated with cannabis,” he said. Lynn Silver says the proposed labeling law, SB 1097, is a non-profit sponsor of the Cannabis Right to No Act.

Californians voted in 2016 to legalize entertainment. Three years later, emergency room visits for marijuana-induced psychosis increased 54% across the state, from 682 to 1,053, according to state hospital data. For those who already have a mental illness, marijuana makes things worse – leading to more ER visits, more hospitalizations and more legal hassles, says Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a psychiatrist at Yale University School of Medicine, who Also works on the subject. Advisory Board of Physicians for the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program.

But D’Souza has had a hard time educating his patients about the dangers, especially since 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis.

“Both my patients with schizophrenia and adolescents hear very conflicting messages that it is legal; in fact, it can be used medically,” he said. “If there is medical use, how can we say there is something wrong with it?”

Legalization is not the problem, he said, but it is the commercialization of cannabis – heavy marketing, which can be a lifetime consumer to attract young people, and THC growth averages 4% to 20% and 35% among today’s varieties.

Limiting the amount of THC in pot products and labeling health precautions can help reduce the health risks associated with marijuana use, D’Souza said, adding that these methods worked similarly for cigarettes. He credited warning labels, educational promotions and marketing restrictions for the sharp decline in smoking rates among children and adolescents over the past decade.

“We know how to give them a message,” D’Souza said. “But I don’t think we still have the will or the resources.”

Some states, including Colorado, Oregon, and New York, have doubled their cannabis warning label requirements. California’s proposed rules are based on a broad protocol established in Canada: Rotating health alerts will be set on a bright yellow background, use a black 12-point font, and take the front one-third of the package. The bill provides language for 10 distinct warnings, including:

California's proposed rules are based on a broad protocol established in Canada: Rotating health alerts will be set on a bright yellow background, use a black 12-point font, and take the front one-third of the package.
California's proposed rules are based on a broad protocol established in Canada: Rotating health alerts will be set on a bright yellow background, use a black 12-point font, and take the front one-third of the package.

Opponents of the proposed warning labels say the requirements are excessive and costly, especially since child marketing is already banned in California and people must be 21 to buy.

Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, said: “This bill really puts an unnecessary burden on the counterfeit and legal cannabis industry because we already have incredibly limited packaging and advertising requirements,” said Lindsay Robinson.

He said the state should pay more attention to the fight against the illegal pot market instead of further controlling the law. Legal dispensaries are already struggling to keep up with existing rules and taxes – the state’s 1,500 licensed container retailers earned $ 1.3 billion in state tax revenue last year. Adding more requirements makes it harder for them to compete with the illegal market, he said, and more likely to go out of business.

“If they fail outside of the legal system, the only real option is to shut down their business altogether or work underground. And I don’t think the state of California, including tax revenues, should be one of them,” he says. “The focus of the issue is that the state has a huge, unregulated market.”

Liz Kirkaldi took a picture of her grandson Corey as a child. He started smoking in high school and developed schizophrenia.

Beth Lauberg / KQWD


Hide captions

Toggle captions

Beth Lauberg / KQWD


Liz Kirkaldi took a picture of her grandson Corey as a child. He started smoking in high school and developed schizophrenia.

Beth Lauberg / KQWD

Some people will work doubtful labels. Liz Kirkald’s granddaughter, Corey, now stable, lives with her father. But he’s not sure if a yellow warning would stop him when he was a teenager.

“They’re just not going to pay attention,” he says. “But what if it even helps one person? Great.”

Scientists still don’t know what causes schizophrenia, but they do believe that there are multiple causes, including genetics, family history, trauma, and other effects on a person’s environment, such as smoking cans. Some scientists believe that schizophrenia causes people to smoke. While it is difficult to prove a direct causal link between marijuana use and schizophrenia, associations are strong enough to warrant action, D’Souza said, and more importantly, pot use is one of the only risk factors that people can control.

“Not everyone who smokes suffers from lung cancer and not everyone who suffers from lung cancer smokes,” he said. “But I think we all agree that one of the most preventable causes of lung cancer is cigarette smoking.”

Applying the same health education strategy to tobacco-using marijuana, he says, is a long wait.

This story comes from a reporting partnership with NPR KQWD And Kaiser Health News (KHN).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.