It’s a beautiful April Day. It’s sunny and there’s a soft, warm wind blowing from the West, brushing the treetops and ruffling the last leaves holding on from the fall.
I am thinking of marijuana. Three years ago, in 2017, marijuana was an illegal substance in Canada and now it’s an “essential service”. The marijuana shops are open in case you need to stock up, like you do on groceries or medications.
Several afternoons each week, I am a virtual Youth Psychiatrist, completing telephone sessions with my young patients. The first few weeks went very well, but I am beginning to be worried about how “essential” marijuana has become.
I am hearing youth and their parents say things I never would have expected:
“It’s essential now, Dr. Beck. That means it’s okay to use it.”
“It’s only a bit of pot. I get it from a reputable dealer and I’ve got bigger things to worry about now than my kid using pot.”
“I stopped once before and I’ll stop again if I have to.”
Thank goodness some of these conversations are by phone and not the telehealth network, because it’s difficult to maintain any semblance of neutrality when I’m listening to these statements. I ask my questions:
“Do you not find you’re getting more depressed again?”
“Are you hearing any auditory hallucinations?”
“Sometimes marijuana can cause people to develop paranoia. Is that happening to you at all?”
“Has your motivation changed?”
Often the answers to my questions are not met with the usual pre-COVID concern:
“Oh, yeah, I’m depressed, but who isn’t? The pot keeps me from thinking about suicide.”
“I have auditory hallucinations – I was going to ask you if I should increase my medication.”
“I’m not paranoid because I’m not leaving my room.”
“I have no motivation. What is there to be motivated about?”
A week or so ago, I was wondering when the second and third COVID-19 Waves would arrive.
(This graph is taken from the article I spoke about on Day 32 that describes the 4 waves of COVID-19. Victor Tseng @VectorSting designed this. If you follow him on Twitter, you can learn a lot about COVID-19.)