Marijuana is the most consumed illicit drug in the world, with over 192 million users. Due to the current legalization push of marijuana in the United States, there has been a lack of oversight regarding its public health policies, as marijuana advocates downplay the drug’s negative effects. This paper’s approach is from a public health perspective, focusing specifically on the cases of violence amongst some marijuana users. Here, we present 14 cases of violence with chronic marijuana users that highlight reoccurring consequences of: marijuana induced paranoia (exaggerated, unfounded distrust) and marijuana induced psychosis (radical personality change, loss of contact with reality). When individuals suffering from pre-existing medical conditions use marijuana in an attempt to alleviate their symptoms, ultimately this worsens their conditions over time. Although marijuana effects depend on the individual’s endocannabinoid receptors (which control behavioral functions, like aggression) and the potency level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the drug, scientifically documented links between certain marijuana users and violence do exist. Wider public awareness of the risks and side effects of marijuana, as well as a more prudent health policy, and government agency monitoring of the drug’s composition, creation, and distribution, are needed and recommended.
Introduction: In the United States, ten states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and over 20 states have decriminalized the recreational use of it. Recent reports suggest, however, that the increase of the recreational use of marijuana is causing detrimental effects to individuals, as well as the society as a whole [1,2,3]. These effects include, but are not limited to, the increase of violence, the increase of thriving underground marijuana markets, and increase in car accident claims after the legalization of marijuana where the recreational use of marijuana was legalized [1,2,3]. This is caused by lack of oversight. Marijuana is being legally sold with high THC concentration levels without taking into account its addictive qualities and adverse effects. On the other hand, and contrary to popular belief, marijuana is still illegal in the Netherlands and it is decriminalized. However, the consumption and storage of marijuana are limited by law and the approach taken by the Netherlands is to decriminalize the drug in order to be able to help individuals struggling with marijuana use. This prudent oversight has resulted in a decreased in violence and people are able to get the care they need to deal with addiction and become less prone to violence [1,2,3].
Furthermore, the consumption of marijuana is associated with an increase in violent behavior over the course of an individual’s lifespan, a high risk of psychosis for frequent users, an increase of cardiovascular diseases, and deterioration in health for individuals who have pre-existing mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, social anxiety, and depression [4,5,6].
According to research studies, marijuana use causes aggressive behavior, causes or exacerbates psychosis, and produces paranoia. These effects have been illustrated through case studies of highly publicized incidents and heightened political profiles.
These cases contain examples of repeated illustrations of aggression, psychosis and paranoia by marijuana users and intoxication. Ultimately, without the use and intoxication of marijuana, the poor judgment and misperceptions displayed by these individuals would not have been present, reducing the risk for actions that result in senseless deaths.
(The mounting anecdotal evidence of this growing and pervasive reality are recorded at Attacker Smoked Cannabis: suicide and psychopathic violence in the UK and Ireland – "Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality.")