Article by Deborah Wilson, CBC News
An emergency psychiatrist in Victoria warns that a dramatic increase in severe mental illness cases is connected to use of a powerful, relatively new drug called “shatter”.
Dr, Kiri Simms told On the Island host Gregor Craigie she treated 10 patients needing hospitalization in the past year after using shatter or other highly concentrated marijuana-based products made from butane hash oil.
“They’re coming in with symptoms of depression, anxiety and sometimes psychosis, which for a psychiatrist means a break from reality, hallucinations, delusions,” Simms said.
In the past, when most marijuana use involved smoking dried leaves and buds, she said the infrequent cases of marijuana-related psychosis usually were patients with a family history of schizophrenia.
“Most people did not become psychotic from marijuana alone.” Simms said.
That has changed. Now, most of the patients she currently sees are regular users of different marijuana products, often what she calls butane hash oil products. Those include shatter, wax and a gooey substance called honey or butter or oil, she said.
Simms said she has personally seen 10 people in the past year, “very, very ill and with the kind of psychotic experience that requires a stay in our psychiatric intensive care or on one of our in-patient wards.”