Sia says smoking pot caused her bipolar disorder: ‘I f—ed my brain up’

Sia

Australian singer Sia is promoting her sixth album, 1000 Forms of Fear, and she’s been doing plenty of interviews. The NYT recently interviewed Sia in a lengthy profile, and she refused to be photographed for the feature. That piece is really long, but it digs deep into Sia’s troubled past and is worth a read. Sia is notoriously reclusive and has taken to performing with a bag (or backwards wig) on her head or only after donning heavy face makeup (as shown above for Jimmy Kimmel last week). Sia and Shia both wear bags on their heads. Ha.

In recent years, Sia has made her living by writing songs for other pop stars like Beyonce, Flo Rida Rihanna, and Britney Spears. She’s a songwriting genius. She wrote Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in 20 minutes. Sia told NPR that she wrote and recorded her current single, “Chandelier,” in under an hour. I’ve cobbled together a few of Sia’s recent interviews. She started smoking pot at age 13, and she says it caused her bipolar disorder:

Her bipolar origins? “I don’t think it’s f—ed up childhood [that caused my bipolar disorder], in my case. I refrain from blaming anything on my parents. I think that everyone does their best and if they didnt do their best they’re just sick too. What I do think is that I smoked too much pot when I was a kid. I think it f—ed my brain up.”

She loves label makers: “I’m getting labels to put of the back of my sofa like, ‘The Couch That Flo Rida Bought,’ and, ‘The House That David Guetta Bought,’ ‘Thanks, Britney, For This Window Treatment.’”

On music & fashion: “I understand that music is fashion, and I’m fashionable right now. You get, maybe, two, three good years running, so I’m just exploiting it right now.”

On Chandelier: “I wrote this one, and I was like, ‘Oh, this would be great for Rihanna,’ and then I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t think I can give it away. I think I might have just written a pop song for myself.’ I was attached to it. [It] is a song about the demoralization of alcoholism”

Who is she as an artist? “It’s very subjective; I have no idea. As a person, I’m a good person who shows up for my friends. I do my best to be good. As an artist, I have no idea. I just sort of show up for the process. It’s just channeling, really. I feel like it has nothing to do with me.”

On the title 1000 Forms of Fear: “I just heard someone say it once. One of my friends was having a baby and I asked her how she was doing and she said, ‘Oh you know, the usual: a thousand forms of fear.’ And I said, ‘Can I call my album that?’”

[From Sirius XM and Elle]

Can smoking pot really cause bipolar disorder? That’s a pretty controversial assertion. I’m no mental health expert (of course), but genetic vulnerability must exist before someone can develop such a disease, right? Stress and substance abuse can be triggers, but they don’t cause the bipolar disease all by themselves. Help me out here, folks.

Sia hasn’t always refused to be photographed. Here she is with Alan Cumming at NYC fashion week 2011. She also stepped out for the Trevor Project last month.

Sia

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

 

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117 Responses to “Sia says smoking pot caused her bipolar disorder: ‘I f—ed my brain up’”

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  1. OlyB says:

    I find her very interesting and I do love her music. She looks like what I imagine the results of a genetic mashup of Streisand and Carey Mulligan would produce.

  2. GiGi says:

    Smoking pot or doing drugs really doesn’t cause mental health issues like bipolar or schizophrenia, but it absolutely can trigger the onset in people who may be wired that way.

    It’s hardly a controversial statement. It’s accepted science at this point. For people with a genetic predisposition to mental illness, it is advised to stay away from marijuana or other drugs.

    • doofus says:

      nail. head.

      was going to write the same thing. science, not BS crap about “gateway drugs”, is the way to explain this to kids (and everyone else).

    • Tx says:

      +1. Bi polar disorder is a genetic disease. You don’t “get it” by doing anything.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes. I never did well with pot thanks to an awareness of the history of mental illness in my family and my own predisposition towards anxiety. I would get paranoid that I was going to trigger a psychotic break, not exactly relaxing. Some people are better off staying away from it.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Thank you. THIS exactly. While pot does not CAUSE bipolar disease or schizophrenia, it can certainly exacerbate an existing mental disorder

      I cannot stand it when people make irresponsible and incorrect statements about marijuana.

    • aenflex says:

      Exactly. Trigger, not cause.

    • Liz says:

      But to be fair it’s a pretty strong trigger if you are a heavy user at such an early age.

      • PennyLane says:

        It’s almost a chicken and egg thing, however. People with mental illness tend to self-medicate, so using pot that young could also indicate that she was trying to ‘adjust’ herself already – it might also be just an indication of the seriousness of her mental illness if she was trying to self-medicate so early on.

      • Liz says:

        It’s hard to find any one reason for mental illness, personally I do believe there is a link between adolescent drug use and mental illness, from reading though some of the other comments I realise that I’m in the minority.

      • JessMa says:

        You are not alone Liz. I work with a lot of child psychiatrists because most of my clients (foster kids) are unwell. They want kids to give a wide berth to drugs including marijuana. They say that not only can it trigger latent issues but can cause them. It is due to the fact that their brain is still forming and vulnerable. They would much prefer you put off marijuana until your mid twenties if at all.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Have you never known anyone with a mental disorder that showed up during their teen years? It certainly happens, and can be triggered by pot and other drugs. According to the research I’ve been doing for work, there are a number of factors that influence the age of onset, but people thinking pot causes mental illness is actually one of the reasons it’s still illegal to study and find out for sure. We certainly know it’s not too dangerous to study in a controlled way, but until this reefer madness trope finally dies, we can’t.

      • Ennie says:

        using (whatever drug ) as a teen is not always trying to adjust, but a product of the environment and social pressure. Not all people are cared for or have strict parents who check on you, so, falling into addiction or near addictions is a very real possibility for almost any teen nowadays.
        I am no scientist, but using drugs, even those “natural” ones when your brain is not developed is not healthy at all. I have read here that many people here are advocates for weed, or see it as a very normal thing, but they hardly ever say what age is the “correct” for starting using. 21? As if that is the reality!
        I would blame her parents for not noticing and not attending her drug abuse if it escalated and was continuous, it was their responsibility to check on her.

      • Anna says:

        Alcohol and marijuana are similar substances in some ways. Alcohol can be a trigger for addiction and other mental illnesses if one begins at a young age, too. It has a lot to do with your genetic predisposition, your developing brain and body, and your circumstance. It’s never good to introduce alcohol OR marijuana to a young person, because there’s a lot of variables at play.

      • Trillion says:

        Teenage/early 20′s is precisely when psych disorders present. It also happens to be the time when people start using drugs such as alcohol, pot, etc. To blame pot for bi-polar disorder is irresponsible. There is a lot of substance abuse among those w/ psych disorders and this is because consciously or otherwise, they seek to medicate themselves.

    • StormsMama says:

      Exactly.
      I would argue she had a chemical imbalance which was a reason why she used pot to self medicate. And over time it exacerbated her chemical imbalance. Pot did not CAUSE her bipolar it merely brought it to her attention faster.

    • joy says:

      Totally. It’s possible that without pot it could have taken longer to surface. But it was in there waiting.

      • minime says:

        That is not true. The meaning of a trigger is exactly that. Without a trigger, even something that you have a genetic tendency for (that’s what it is with mental diseases, tendency) might never develop. It’s not the same as to say that if she wouldn’t smoke pot, she wouldn’t have it, but it doesn’t also mean that she would get it anyway.
        And as it was referred up-thread there is scientific proof that smoking pot at younger ages rises the risk of developing schizophrenia and can cause or intensify psychosis, but then again the same is true for alcohol abuse..and there is the question of self-medication of course, but that’s not true for everyone.

    • Jen says:

      I know plenty of people who lost their minds and who developed anger issues after years of pot smoking. There is no such thing as a ‘soft’ drug, they are all bad.

      • Ennie says:

        Not a scientific here, but a friend of my husband became a very very heavy weed user and he was never the same after a while. My husband could not carry a normal conversation with him anymore.
        It was not his lack of ambition to do anything, but he became worried about making easy money (the kind drugs dealers do), and paranoid about eavesdroppers, and if his friends were “betraying” or lying to him (everything gyrated about drugs and dealing in his mind, even when he was actually doing nothing in his life).
        Very destructive, and yes, I know people with willpower who have overcome using and have become very productive.
        I think it is important that parents would teach their children self control. that would come by handy.

      • Caz says:

        I know several people in their 40s with various mental health issues now who happened to be heavy pot users since their teens. They thought they were way cool back then. All in a bad way now. I’m glad i never tried it. Don’t feel I missed anything.

    • kc says:

      There is actually pretty strong evidence that there is a correlation. If the MET and LET genes (as well as others, in other ways, such as COMP) are homozygous, there appears to be a higher incidence of schizophrenia in teenagers who use pot, than is those who have the same genes and do not use pot, and the heterozygous genes and do use pot. It basically means that some people with a particular genetic make up are more susceptible to developing schizophrenia if they use marijuana before they are fully matured. I believe the risks go down if a person was to use pot after the age of 22 (which is when most people stop maturing biologically). There is a great documentary called “the Down Side of High”.

    • wolfpup says:

      She is so wrong. Perhaps she needs to google bipolar disorder. There is first a genetic disposition, but severe stress kicks it in. About 57% of bipolar people have abused alcohol, as it seems to work for their symptoms, until that gets them in trouble too. Often the underlying illness (bipolar) is not treated because the primary diagnosis is alcoholism. It wasn’t until my bipolar illness was treated, that I was able to stop abusing alcohol; because It wasn’t the primary problem, but a symptom! Many bipolar people struggle for years, before being diagnosed. I will always carry a huge debt of gratitude, for the doctor who was finally able to help me, and give me my life back. I smoke pot occasionally, because it helps me with anxiety, far better than prescription drugs. Not that I am suggesting that for other people, but alcohol is more problematic for bipolar, because it intensifies feelings that are already out of whack. I wonder who is informing this young lady, or if the pot smoking is just a good excuse for an illness, that is embarrassing to have.

    • Rosie says:

      Pot as well as some other ‘drugs’ can lead to substance induced psychosis (see DSM IV and V) The psychosis is relatively short lived normally. However, when teens have a genetic predisposition for bi-polar disorder or a disorder within the schizophrenia spectrum, pot or any other psychotropic substance can definitely worsen symptoms.

  3. mkyarwood says:

    There is evidence to suggest that smoking pot regularly, particularly during teen years, can trigger a genetic predisposition to something like schizophrenia and bi polar disorder. Pretty happy I never tried it until well into my 20′s. All those scare tactics used in health class in the 90′s worked for me!

    • Steph says:

      LOL. I guess I wasn’t paying attention in health class. But your comment makes me want to tell my daughter she will get schizophrenia or bipolar if she does drugs before she’s 21.

      • mkyarwood says:

        If she has an anxious personality, it will totally work! If she’s like a ‘normal’ teenager, it won’t, haha. I dunno, there was also a thing in my brain that reminded me drawing the attention of adults and punishment was just something I didn’t want to deal with. I rebelled by sitting in a coffee shop during class and reading. Nerd.

      • wolfpup says:

        Be sure to tell your son that he may well go blind if he “peels the banana”!

        I would far rather my children smoke pot with their friends, than drink alcohol. ALCOHOL IS THE GATEWAY DRUG, dispensed usually from the parent’s own cupboard. I’m not saying that I want my children to become potheads, but sitting around with their friends quietly giggling, is preferable than the “let down your guard, lets be loose and rowdy” sort of play that comes with teen drinking. I bet that teens get in far more societal types of trouble with alcohol, than with pot. The problem is that it is illegal. Alcohol has a much greater effect, lasting hours and all night; whereas, one is no longer high on pot after a couple of hours; and one can still walk and talk after using. Judgement does not go away like it does with alcohol either. After it becomes legal, (and it will), parents will be able to understand and regulate it’s use with less fear of what it does, concerning the comparable harmfulness of alcohol. If it did cause the kinds of problems that are mentioned here, Colorado and Washington would not allow for recreational use, and all the states that allow for its medical use, would not exist. Period.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      I agree with this. My mom is bipolar and has smoked pot since a teen. I have some tendencies she does, but didn’t start until I was 20 and it makes me feel better, not worse. What’s more, I’ve been able to recognize similarities and use cognitive behavior modification to stay off medication and improve my mental stability. I know this is anecdotal, but it actually spurred my interest in the subject and prompted me to research it further and explain what I’ve witnessed.

      • Steph says:

        Same as your mom. I wish I had taken better care of myself, but I do what I can now.

      • wolfpup says:

        If pot makes someone uncomfortable, they shouldn’t smoke it. But lots of people receive medical benefits from it. It’s very important that people with bipolar illness understand the profound effects of alcohol, on this illness. Google bi-polar & alcoholism; I stay away from that drug! But anyone with any sort of psychosis should stay away from pot as well. It does not create psychosis, but possibly could magnify it – I bet alcohol could really cause the crazies, if one were psychotic… with alcohol blurring the boundaries. No one talks about alcohol, and it affects our bodies in such a profound way…stumbling, slurring, falling, being a fool.

  4. Steph says:

    Mental disabilities can absolutely be brought on through stress or drug use. But genetic susceptibility is already there. The outside factors just act as a catalyst to bring out the illness.

    • wolfpup says:

      Scientists posit that bipolar use of alcohol, is an attempt to manage its symptoms.

      I agree with drug education, but unless real facts are presented to teens, they will not pay attention. I have never heard of any serious study where there is a link between drug use, as being the cause of, or the inception for, mental illness. Wholehearted agree with it making an illness more challenging. If you have links proving otherwise, I’d research.

  5. mystified says:

    I think she has a point. I think pot does affect the mental health of some people with genetic predispositions toward mental illness. In a way, it’s good that marijuana has become legal in many states so that we can learn the full effects, both good and bad of this drug.

    During prohibition, there were many scare stories about the evils of alcohol. When prohibition ended, we found out that many of them were not true, exaggerated, or due to bad production methods. We also learned more about the legitimate problems with the overconsumption of alcohol. I think we will go down a similar path with pot.

  6. starrywonder says:

    She’s correct that doing certain drugs can bring the disorders to the forefront earlier.

  7. Vic says:

    I believe this could be true because a teenager’s brain is still developing until well into their twenties.

  8. Karen says:

    I dont think it created the bi polar disorder per ce. But it has been know to trigger psychiatric disorders so in that sense yes it might have brought it out in her (if she was predisposed)

  9. ughinsomnia says:

    I call utter bullsh*t. She would’ve been bipolar either way.

    • Tapioca says:

      Probably.

      Pot does affect the brain by making people incredibly boring though, which is why its use is actively ENCOURAGED in North Korea, to keep the population placid and non-revolutionary. And why every Bob Marley song sounds exactly the same…

      • lw says:

        If you think all Marley songs sound the same, then you must also think all Beatles songs sound the same. And all Miles Davis songs. And all Rolling Stones songs, Hendrix songs, Joplin songs, and the list goes on and on. Good grief. Learn about music, puleeze.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I think that’s a very broad and inaccurate statement.

        Some of the most brilliant creative minds on the planet smoked marijuana.

        Rick Steves, Oliver Stone, Morgan Freeman, Maya Angelou, Jon Stewart, Carl Sagan, Hunter S Thompson, Norman Mailer, Stephen King, Jimmy Hendrix, Edgar Allan Poe, Picasso, Janis Joplin, Sigmund Freud, Dennis Hopper, Louis Carroll, Charles Dickens..

        That’s just a small selection of pot-smokers that I wouldn’t classify as “boring” in the least.

        Maybe what you meant is that smoking pot makes boring people more boring. Now THAT I can believe.

      • Amanduh says:

        @ TOK: you forgot to add “Amanduh” to your list! That’s okay though…I’m not even mad ;)

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        …and Amanduh and Kitten.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        I don’t think that’s true at all, but rather that you’re buying into a stereotype, which makes you seem a little ignorant. Every one of my friends smokes from time to time, and we’re scientists, writers, artists, and doctors, all of whom also happen to be quite well read and well traveled. In fact, some of my friends who’ve gone straight edge have become super boring, and sound a lot like you.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I wanna go bowling with TOK and go through her music collection. ;) Maybe add in some craft beer too!

    • Erinn says:

      Exactly. And to blame her childhood as the alternative? No. Mental illness isn’t that cut and dry.

      I think she had the liklihood of being bipolar – her brain chemistry was geared towards it – and MAYBE the pot exasperated the symptoms and made her realize that she should get it checked out. I highly highly doubt it was the cause though.

  10. Kiddo says:

    I don’t think there is conclusive evidence that has proven this hypothesis. I did find a case study that suggests it, but obviously, with words such as “We feel” based on one individual, it’s a bit sketchy scientifically, but here it is:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811144/#B1

  11. Em says:

    I didn’t start smoking pot until a few months after my 19th birthday, I had decent enough friends not to peer pressure me so I didn’t really seek it out. However, I had been dealing with a diagnosis of bipolar and more since I was 15 and had been on medications from then until I was 18. Pot is my saving grace, though I can definitely see my indulgence has consequences. Still my healthiest addiction in my life yet. To each his own :)

    • mkyarwood says:

      I have no adverse side effects, either, (it even helps my anxiety, rather than heightening it) even though bi polar disorder is in the family here and there. I think by 18, your brain has finished most of its major growth spurts, tho. Most of the kids I knew started at around 13 and were complete burnouts by 16. Just like in Clueless.

    • Emma13 says:

      Thanks for sharing! It’s another reason to legalize it. To add to your experience, my father smoked marijuana on a regular basis to relax. My mom said he was completely insufferable, rude, hyperactive, and angry but as soon as he smoked for a bit he mellowed out to who she knew as him. He wasn’t diagnosed with bi-polar until his 50s and from everything we have read it really was his saving grace until he was given his own concoction of medications that work for him. He was self medicating with it and it worked. Having said all of that, I really do not believe it caused his or Sia’s bi-polar, she probably already had it/pre-disposed to it and maybe when she stopped she finally noticed the disorder (all speculation on my part of course).

    • Alyssa Callaway says:

      Same here! I know in a lot of cases (as stated in other comments) that pot has a negative effect on people with psychiatric disorders, but it has not been my experience. Pot has been pretty good to me.

      And I know where my bipolar disorder came from since there’s a strong family history of it. No strong family history of pot smoking though….except for maybe the ones who lived through the 60s and 70s.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      Same here. This is the version of the pot+mental illness story that never gets told.

    • Brittney B says:

      THIS! Weed helps my bipolar more than anything else. It softens the mania, reverses the depression, and keeps my anxiety at bay when my pharmaceuticals cause adverse side effects.

      Now, if I’d smoked as a pre-teen/teen… it may very well have affected my memory and attention span permanently. But I wouldn’t be blaming it for my highly genetic mood disorder. And blanket statements have no place when there’s already so much misinformation, and so much suffering and dying because of it.

      Ugh, this is exactly what politicians need: more fear-mongering, a la Reefer Madness. (I say this because my state will be voting on medical marijuana this fall, and the propaganda being distributed — including in SCHOOLS — is mind-boggling. I can’t believe anyone still believes that stuff.)

    • GiGi says:

      Just to sort this out… Marijuana can be a trigger for a predisposed mental illness. HOWEVER. Once a person is displaying symptoms of a mental illness, marijuana and even LSD can be enormously useful. So saying that drugs can trigger a mental illness isn’t fear mongering, it’s truth. But the other side is this: my dad was a biomed researcher for a very large pharmaceutical company. And they manufactured LSD in the labs. Which was used to treat psychoactive patients. No one’s saying not to use these types of drugs if they’re useful to you… well, at least I’m not.

  12. Grumpycat says:

    It definitely doesn’t cause bipolar… There is a correlation though- one very big thing about bipolar is that people will often self medicate with drugs before they are diagnosed, the drugs ultimately make it seem worse because of the ups/downs, and then it can seem like the drugs triggered it even in cases where it didn’t. It’s hard to say what existed before the drugs was bipolar or teenage hormones etc. This is often also misdiagnosed early on as other disorders or ADHD so the overall records are imperfect.

    • Jenna says:

      This is just what I was going to post – only as it would have been typed by my pre-caffeinated brain, you said it far better then I could have hoped to! It doesn’t cause diddy other then the normal side effects of the drug/possible physical fall out down the line from inhaling a burning ash into your lungs. But folks DO try to self-medicated the diagnosis away, both before they know why they have the ‘need’ to, and after when it seems like a more personal form of control then the meds.

      See. Shoulda just stuck with a ‘yup, you totally are where my addled brain is trying to head, but can’t seem to reach the tracks yet!’

  13. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I’m glad she “doesn’t blame her parents,” but I don’t like the implication that, except for genetics, parents “cause” mental illness. Maybe severe abuse, but not being allowed to stay up past 10:00 or being grounded unfairly won’t make you bipolar. Parents get enough guilt laid at their doorstep.

    • Erinn says:

      THIS.

      It’s not my parents fault, besides their genetic predisposition for it, that I’ve struggled with depression. Their fighting might have heightened my anxiety at times, but it’s not their fault besides the genes they contributed that my brain is wired the way it is.

      • Lissanne says:

        You don’t have to get into the blame game to understand that children need to grow up in a calm household, and that your parents’ fighting might have been traumatizing for you. Children are very easily traumatized. We humans hold trauma in the body, and you can’t rationalize or medicate that away. Talk therapy can’t always help with this either. There are therapies for trauma, such as EMDR, that can help you identify and work through these issues.

    • jc126 says:

      She may have been self-medicating with the weed.
      However, just as a side note, psychosis is more common in people who have been severely abused. Piling tragedy on top of tragedy.

    • PennyLane says:

      I totally agree with you – life is complex and too much is often blamed on parents….however extreme things can happen sometimes where parents do cause their children’s mental illness.

      This guy, who was an acquaintance of mine in high school, first took LSD at the age of twelve – his mother, who was an artist, *gave it to him* because she thought it might help his creativity. He and his Mom continued to drop acid together throughout his teens.

      Long story short, Matt was always a bit strange, but it wasn’t until freshman year of college that he actually lost his mind: he started becoming increasingly incoherent when you tried to talk with him and would just say totally random things. It was really disturbing and it kept getting worse and worse. It was like watching his brain fall apart. A few weeks later he began physically threatening people, and then barricaded himself in his dorm room until the psychiatric workers came to take him away. Never saw him again.

  14. Hannah says:

    I love her early albums and her work with zero 7. That chandelier single and most of her more recent work doesn’t do it for me. She has sort if become really commercial like the people she write for.

    • MSat says:

      I so agree. Loved her with zero 7 and early solo stuff. That “Chandelier” song is like nails on a chalkboard to me – the “melody” is obnoxious.

      That said, I kind of like how she doesn’t want her face everywhere. It’s a smart strategy. She can have all the money and rewards of being a kick ass songwriter, but she can still leave the house to do her shopping and normal life stuff without being stalked. She’s like the anti-Gaga.

      • Hannah says:

        Yeah I really respect her and her need to make a living. But She’s making tons of money as a songwriter for commercial top 40 singers so i wish her solo stuff could be as good as it used too.

      • Krista says:

        Same her. Can’t blame her for the hustle. But Some People Have Real Problems is much more my style.

      • QQ says:

        agreed You Guys! I looovveedd her Zero 7 stuff, and a lot of the stuff she’s written for other people but Chandelier ? Ehng! Apparently she was super pissed Titanium came out with her vocals and no permission as she had recorded as a demo for someone else? But I love her hustle and obviously she has a Knack for it

        in other news Sia I could have sworn she came out as gay a few years back and recall a Perez Article (ugh I Know..i dont do that anymore! ) but then Just earlier this year I heard she was engaged to a dude? So maybe Bi? Idk none of my business per se just curiousity

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Perhaps I have shit taste in music, but I love Chandelier. I think it is a really emotionally complex interpretation of alcoholism, and her voice in the chorus expresses so much yearning and pain. Not your typical pop song, that is for sure.

      I loved Breathe Me when I heard it at the end of Six Feet Under, but for some reason I haven’t checked out her earlier work. I need to get on that! :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    I had depression with Suicidal feelings and anxiety attacks from age 11. When I tried pot at 13 it was the first time I felt reasonably cheerful and calm. Although anti depressants have been crucial for me, I still use pot to calm my nerves and control depression. My friends who have all smoked pot since teens have degrees and good careers. Nothing but good reviews here.

    • Ennie says:

      Some of my students, on the other hand have used it and had even left school.
      One of the boys started using and had to smoke it more than weekly, he ended up dropping out of 8th grade.
      Others, easily under the influence of weed, have used harder drugs and are in worse shape.
      I am not totally against it, but seeing it as “normal” does not help, neither the availability at a young age, or the fact that is is sold by unscrupulous dealers who usually look for longtime clientele.

  16. Skins says:

    The pot nowadays is so much stronger that it used to be I can see it messing with peoples heads. Especially for people with the money to buy the top shelf stuff. Look at Biebs walking around stoned out of his mind all the time. Its not woodstock week anymore

  17. Chris says:

    Predisposition is the word. If you have a family background of mental illness the risk of pot triggering it is higher than with those who don’t have it in their family. It can also exacerbate mood swings and anxiety if you’re that way inclined too. I smoked on and off from age 16-22 and by the time I got to 22 I suffered incredible anxiety every time I smoked, so I had to quit it.

  18. aenflex says:

    BTW regardless of her statement, I agree that she is a musical genius.

  19. Dash says:

    She was never a typical popstar, but previously she did appear in her music videos and do more interviews. One year she wore a big gold dress to the ARIA Awards. So she was definitely more in the public eye at one stage, but just in Australia. Interesting to see where her career has taken her!

  20. Stou says:

    Hello,
    From experience, i can tell that marijuana does not provoque mental ilness or disorders.
    BUT, as a lot of people said here, it can cause a relapse to fragile person with predispositions to bipolar disorders or sphizophrenia.
    I’ve seen someone getting more and more ill as he began to smoke pot, at the end of the summer
    he has to go back to a mental hospital he has not been since years. He was schizophrenic and totally ok before he began to smoke :( . (he is stable now)
    And smoking pot during childhood/teenage years damages a bit the develpment, mostly affecting education (memory and performances).

  21. z says:

    Supposedly she’s only 38… jesus she looks like hell.

  22. BeefJerky says:

    I’ll add my two cents: good friend was a heavy pot smoker in her teens and college, had a manic break junior year of college, had to be hospitalized, diagnosed bipolar. So there’s another example. It does seem to provoke mental issues that were already under the surface.

  23. SK says:

    Weed is most definitely a trigger for bipolar and schizophrenia. It is actually probably the worst drug for triggering those mental illnesses. I know multiple people who were triggered in this way.

  24. Sara says:

    So, what type of mental illness does alcohol cause?

  25. Ginger says:

    Bedhead, here’s what I know: I have had various issues throughout my life that in retrospect only made sense once I got my Bipolar diagnosis in 2007 when I was 38. This included bouts of depression, manic episodes, drug and alcohol use, mismanagement of my money, cutting myself, suicide attempts and acting out sexually. It took some time to accept the diagnosis and treatment as you can imagine it was a shock. I had to learn how to deal with it both medically and psychologically. The following year my whole life as it was blew up and I became far too dependent on alcohol to cope. This can cause interactions with ones mental health medication. Plus I was depressed about the resulting weight gain from the medication. (This is a side effect of virtually EVERY mental health medication and the number one reason people stop taking them.) I too stopped my meds and got very scared about what would happen as a result. Then I finally found a great psychiatrist to help me with recovery from all of it. When I recounted my past alcohol and drug usage as a teen and young adult he did say that using certain hallucinogens can “cause” bipolar disorder. Personally, I feel that if the mental illness is already present in one’s genetic bloodline (as it is in mine) that it can trigger or compound the illness. I was exhibiting symptoms of the illness from a young age before I ever touched any drugs or alcohol. So here is where you might get the “chicken or the egg” dilemma. And that is still a controversy in the psychology/psychiatric community. As a side note: I’ve found a medication that works for me and have been through a lot of therapy to help me deal with my illness. My life is back on track and I’m happy and healthy. I am very fortunate to have loved ones that assist me on my journey. That’s not to say that it isn’t a struggle but I’ve learned to cope sober and medicated.

  26. Jake says:

    Bipolar Disorder is genetic and it isn’t caused by environmental/external factors (like smoking pot at a young age). Sia isn’t a doctor and doesn’t know what the hell she is talking about.

    • wolfpup says:

      Genetics + severe stress = bipolar = self-medicating = lots of problems…and potential misdiagnosis, as being a drug problem. Lots of bipolar patients go for years without a proper diagnosis. I mentioned this in the thread above, but 57% of bipolar patients abuse alcohol in the attempt to self-medicate. I had an alcohol problem, with inpatient stays, but when I found a doctor who treated me for bipolar illness, my alcohol problem just went away.

  27. raincoaster says:

    Pot is medicine, and like any medicine, when abused it will fk you up. I have a friend who is an evangelical stoner, but at a certain point he got very depressed and was smoking pot all day and all night, not sleeping properly, etc. It gave him incredible focus which enabled him to go on manic internet researching sprees, staying up for three days straight etc etc. It was, to say the least, not good for him. He’d call me at two in the morning because there were black helicopters outside, for instance. We lived in the same neighborhood and I could SEE there were no helicopters, but he was seeing them. He once cried because the world was going to end when Nibiru hit the earth and the only place that would survive was the high plateaus of Saskatchewan, and he couldn’t afford to buy land there, so he’d die too. I told him look, just RENT, because if the world as we know it ends in nine months what’s the point of locking yourself in to a 20 year mortgage. And this is a guy with no underlying psychological issues except a tendency towards Seasonal Affective Disorder.

    I mentioned some of this again recently, and he didn’t remember ANY of it. None at all. Pot affects your mind; if it didn’t, people wouldn’t use it. But you can’t just assume that if some is good, more is better.

  28. Chrisine says:

    This is VERY important: Yes, marijuana changes the brain in young users. It’s now a proven fact. The pro-marijuana crowd is causing a lot of dangerous effects by giving the impression marijuana use is harmless fun. It’s not.

    The news has appeared everywhere (USA Today, NY TImes, etc) but let me just link to Psychcentral so you can read that using marijuana as a young person is now known to definitely alter the brain shape long-term. As this young woman said, it permanently does change your brain and she’s backed up by observational science of real, marijuana users brains.

    http://blogs.psychcentral.com/science-addiction/2014/04/new-studies-show-long-term-effects-of-cannabis-on-the-brain/

    “First, an article in the Journal of Neuroscience used MRI scans to look inside the brains of young, recreational marijuana users at regions associated with addiction. Previous studies have shown that other drugs known to be addictive affect the brain’s reward centers – especially the brain’s amygdala, which controls emotional learning, and a structure called the nucleus accumbens, which controls pleasure (including our ability to laugh). We’ve also known that adding cannabis-based chemicals to the brains of rats creates changes in these structures related to addiction. But it’s quite a leap from introducing cannabinoids to rat brains and knowing the effects of smoking pot on humans.

    So a team of Harvard-led researchers recruited 40 young adults – 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users – to see if what is true in the brains of rats is also true in the brains of college students. Sure enough, human marijuana users had changes in volume, density and topography in both of the amygdala and nucleus accumbens.

    “These data suggest that marijuana exposure, even in young recreational users, is associated with exposure-dependent alterations of the neural matrix of core reward structures,” the researchers write.
    ___

    Young people are really playing with fire when using drugs.

    • wolfpup says:

      The important word in this study of data, is “suggest”. So it is not fact at this point; one sees so many varying studies…but are you then fine with alcohol, or are you a complete teetotaler?

      • wolfpup says:

        Also, the alteration being discussed, is with dependency structures in the brain; that is the area of addiction. The problem with this particular study for me, is that it is dealing with only 40 adults – 20 users vs. 20 non-users. This would not be accepted in the scientific community as the sampling is so small. If the dependence/addiction structures are being affected, why do we not hear of marijuana addiction? Isn’t that what this study is addressing? I did read the article that you posted with a link. I’m really wondering whose assumptions are being argued from this particular journal.

        There are folks who choose not to imbibe,, well and good. But on this particular drug, adults should be able to choose either way. I know the US community is very interested in these these things, either way, but so far, I do not see success for those who argue against it, except as their personal choice, which is freely given. Marijuana is a medical issue for me, and perhaps that is why I argue so hard for it to be legal. SO less destructive to the body than alcohol.

  29. Francis says:

    All I know is that Sia can sing her butt off! Gurl can sannnng!

  30. paranormalgirl says:

    Psychiatrist here. Currently, Bipolar is considered to be of biological origin and can lie dormant until triggered by environmental stressors or substance abuse. Because of the trigger factor, it can appear that an environmental issue or substance abuse issue “caused” the onset, while in reality, the disorder was always there.

    • wolfpup says:

      Lots of things can trigger an episode for me: even taking pharmaceutical meds. Stress for a period of days can start an episode, a sleepless night, sometimes it is nothing that I’m aware of, but suddenly I am feeling angry, and being rude. I’m wise enough, at this point, to ask for help right away, because I do not like being zingers. It is not comfortable. And I know what is happening, and what to do about it.

      What really helps the most, is consciousness of how I am feeling, and what I am thinking. I can often change my thoughts, before I trigger a mood. Also, I ask myself if the feeling that is coming into my being, is valid; if I want to explore it, or if it deserves, a place in my soul. I’ve avoided a lot of depression that way. This is an additional challenge, but I am mostly up for it, because I very much like being alive, when the illness is managed, (Yes, I’ve been in that suicidal hole, which is undescribable to those without this disorder.) I care for myself, and I try to be as tender to me, as I am to others. If I don’t care for me, who will? Who knows what is best for me, except myself? Big hugs and kisses for me all day long… And I only let people who love me, be my friend. NO drama!

  31. Jackie Jormp Jomp says:

    ” She wrote Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in 20 minutes. ”
    I can’t believe it even took someone that long.

  32. LAK says:

    I once attended a drugs seminar that posited that a teenager or pre-teen’s brain is like a baby’s brain such that synapses are forming and connecting, a process stopped in it’s tracks by drugs and pot and that will trigger mental illness in some people.

    They had lots of stats to support their theory, backed by scientific evidence.

    • wolfpup says:

      There is an extremely large group of teens in the US who use. I’m not condoning it, but all this naysaying, certainly is not on the Huffington Post, New York Times, and any reputable mainstream media. There are a lot of celebrities, and states like Colorado & Washington, that do not look at this “evidence” as being useful, so far. I grew up in California, and have been around a pot smoking culture, even if I did not imbibe. I just don’t see studies being quoted, or bad press for marijuana, except by very conservative and religious groups. If it were really so harmful, I think that there would be more debate in the 20+ states that have allowed for medical marijuana, or in the states that have, or will be putting on their ballot, the use of recreational marijuana. A lot more people smoke it, than let on.

      • Chrissy says:

        The high number of teens using scares me. Of us 5 kids, 2 of my brothers used pot as teenagers which led to lots of LSD for one and ecstasy for the other. Both struggle with severe emotional and psychological issues now and have for years. One was diagnosed as bipolar after attempting suicide last year (he’s 37 now). Taking drugs while your brain is still forming those important connections is a terrible thing. The doctor told my brother that drug use absolutely could have brought the bipolar out but that he most likely had a genetic predisposition for it as well. They both had a limitless future ahead of them and I can’t say the same thing anymore. It’s terribly sad. Stay away kids. It’s not worth it.

      • wolfpup says:

        And parents, don’t drink alcohol because it is a very poor example of drug use, and be sure lock away the *real* gateway drug: ALCOHOL. Why do grown-ups continually try to dodge this fact?

        Drugs like ecstasy and LSD are lab generated products. I think that they can be a problem for anyone’s brain.

        In my experience, someone asking me simply “what’s wrong?” would have been more helpful, than just condemning the drug (alcohol) that I was using, to deal with what was wrong! They just said “don’t drink”, and I’m going “my ass”. And then a humane and gifted doctor, came into my life. All doctors are not the same…some only make “C’s” in their courses. I want those with “A’s” treating me.

  33. jwoolman says:

    She might be assuming that 13 would be too young to be bipolar already. It’s not. My relative showed clear signs (in retrospect) after hitting puberty, which was before 13. It’s far more likely that she was using the drug to feel better, self-medicating as they say. It’s very common for people with the “mental” (brain) disorders to use alcohol and other drugs this way. Often it does make things worse eventually, but it is a short-term fix. Since onset of such disorders can be much younger than is usually assumed, it’s easy to think the drug use is a trigger when it is unlikely. An honest “we’re not sure, but if you have something emerging already the drugs are more likely to make it worse” would be better in talking with your kids about the risks.