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Marijuana and Violence

Consider the inherent risks of marijuana use. The scariest is psychosis.

Suicide, Murder, Mass Murder

Dangerous Side Effects of an Addictive Drug

Marijuana is well known for causing paranoia. It is less well known for inducing psychosis. Psychosis is a serious mental state where a person experiences hallucinations and delusions. In such a state, a person can act out violently, and hurt themselves or others. Schizophrenia is a type of permanent psychosis that can also be triggered by marijuana use. I once spoke to a mother of a college student who said that one night of smoking marijuana caused her son to suffer schizophrenia-like symptoms. She had to take him out of school to nurse him back to health.


A 24 year old who got caught up in marijuana addiction as a teen  killed himself this week. He started using the drug at age 14. His story is featured in the documentary film, The Other Side of Cannabis-Negative Effects of Marijuana on our Youth. Suicide is an example of violence against oneself, and a symptom of psychosis. The website, MomsStrong.org features other such stories of young people whose lives needlessly ended early because of drug addiction and suicide.

Researchers in Australia studied an aboriginal tribe where marijuana abuse was rampant. They found troubling psychological problems, psychosis and suicide.

Alan Clough is one of the researchers who studied Aborigines with a high rate of marijuana use.

Alan Clough is a researcher who studied Aborigines and their marijuana problems.



Murder is another result of psychotic thinking and behavior. Robert Durst, who is currently facing justice for the murder of a friend, is a lifelong marijuana user who is suspected of multiple murders. Eddie Routh smoked pot with his uncle the day he committed the double murder of American Sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Suffering from paranoia, delusions and other symptoms of psychosis, he was also taking all kinds of medications (anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, Ambien for sleep and anti-psychotic drugs). After his arrest, Routh told the police “pigs were taking over the earth.”  This story by CNN mentions his mental state was ‘fueled by marijuana abuse.’

Earlier this month, a British newspaper reported on the murder of two Alabama parents by a teen who just the night before had thrown a marijuana bash at their home. A Parents Opposed to Pot story refers to several other cases of teen murderers and their marijuana use.


Mass Murder

Why is no one in the media reporting on the marijuana connection to these heinous crimes?

Of greatest concern is the psychotic person who becomes a mass murderer. Roger Morgan, a 20 year drug prevention activist and founder of StopPot2016.com says, “marijuana is a causal factor in most mass murders in the U.S. and around the world.” The truck driver who killed 84 in Nice was a heavy marijuana user who had psychological problems. The plot ringleader of the Paris nightclub attack that killed 130 was also a heavy marijuana user. A recent mass murder in Japan, was committed by a man who was diagnosed with marijuana-induced psychosis prior to the killing spree. He slit the throats of 19 disabled people in an institution where he once worked.

The Orlando shooter had a history of marijuana use. So did both the Boston Bombers. And, the Aurora Theater shooter. And, the South Carolina Church killer, and on and on.

Look beneath the headlines. Many stories of mass shootings will mention marijuana use in the background of the shooter.

The Parents Opposed to Pot blog has several pages of articles about the marijuana-psychosis link. It is worth your time to read a few of them and follow the links to the news stories and science.

Since voters in a number of states, California, Nevada, Maine, Arizona, and Massachusetts will be voting on marijuana initiatives this fall, it is critical that we educate about the mental health risks that marijuana poses. So called, “medical marijuana,” like any other drug will have powerful side effects. These violent side effects definitely outweigh any possible benefits.

Kimberly Hartke blogs about health and wellness on Hartkeisonline.com.

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  1. There was a 50-year study recently published that confirms what you’re saying. Written about in Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-brain/201603/marijuana-use-increases-violent-behavior
    Another point that a pharmacologist who specialized schizophrenia explained is that most schizophrenics are not necessarily violent. The ones who use marijuana are the ones who become violent. She suspected that John Hinkley’s delusions had been marijuana-induced. We now read that Hinkley is out of prison, supposedly “cured.” perhaps because he’s been kept off marijuana. Hope it is not a mistake.

  2. Here is a news report of another recent mass killing:


    It is likely marijuana-induced paranoia and psychosis caused the rampage.

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