Too High: Family lost son to suicide, cannabis
As fun, and fun loving, as Randy Bacchus could be, his parents tried to teach him there were consequences to everything. Including the marijuana he began smoking at 15.
After high school Randy Jr. moved from Minnesota to Colorado where his parents believe his use of recreational, high-potency marijuana, led him to develop what’s known as cannabis-induced psychosis.
Randy Michael Bacchus III took his own life on July 17, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. He was 21.
As the Minnesota legislature looks likely to legalize some form of recreational cannabis this session, his family shared their son’s experience as a cautionary story on the risks of high-potency cannabis on adolescents who may be struggling with their mental health.
A survey in Lancet Psychiatry last year analyzed 20 studies with 119,581 participants, examining the impact of high potency cannabis, which the survey defined as more than 20% THC in flower and edibles and concentrated extracts above 60%.
Over the last decade the concentration of THC has increased in commercial products, and concentrations exceeding 30% are not uncommon in states that have legalized recreational use.
The survey found regular users of the strong stuff were three times more likely to experience psychosis. Daily users of high-potency marijuana were five times more likely to experience psychosis, according to the research.