Early one morning in March, Madison McIntosh showed up on his day off at the Scottsdale, Arizona, driving range and restaurant where he worked. The 24-year-old sat in his car until the place opened, then wandered around all day, alternating between gibberish and talk of suicide as co-workers tried to keep him away from customers.
When he was still there 12 hours later, the manager contacted McIntosh’s father in Las Vegas, who called police and rallied other family members states away to converge at the young man’s side.
They found a shell of the once-star baseball player. For months, he’d been vaping a potent form of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people feel high, and staying up all night. He swung wildly between depression and euphoria.
The family rushed McIntosh to Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, where staff psychiatrist Divya Jot Singh diagnosed him with cannabis use disorder and a “psychotic disorder unspecified.”
Singh expects to make McIntosh’s diagnosis official soon. If he remains off pot and symptom-free a year after the episode, the psychiatrist can say with certainty he suffered from “cannabis-induced psychosis.”
“What shocked me is that I had never heard of it,” said McIntosh’s dad, Rob. “All you hear is all these proponents of legalization of pot without thought to the risks and the consequences.”
A number of physicians and parents are pushing back against the long-held assertion of users and advocates that marijuana is a safe, benign and even beneficial drug.