Can my son’s marijuana use be therapeutic?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on March 12th, 2010 - Last updated: January 31st, 2014
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Dear Stanton:

My son is 19 and has a diagnosis of Tourette’s, OCD, depression, and a complex partial seizure disorder that manifests in the form of rage! He says that marijuana helps him control the rages even though he takes medication. I fear he will end up in prison for possession!

Is it possible he is telling the truth, or is he dependent on this drug, and using this as an excuse?


Dear Helen:

It is certainly possible that your son is medicating himself with marijuana, and that it may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of his various maladies (I wonder how he has so many things wrong with him so young!; but that’s another question). When you think about it, how different is the use of antidepressants, tranquilizers, and other psychoactive prescriptions compared with your son’s and others’ use of illicit drugs? Don’t people seek each as a way of relieving uncomfortable feelings (although more illicit than licit drug users are using drugs simply for pleasure and diversion)?

Of course, your son is liable to be arrested. Obviously, he can take care and join the vast majority of marijuana users who never encounter the legal system due to their use. On the other hand, after you reassure yourself that you son’s marijuana use is serving a legitimate therapeutic effect, perhaps you should start to speak out about your and his experience! After all, if this really helps him, shouldn’t he and others like him be given the opportunity to relieve their pain?

Very best,

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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