When Garrett Rigg moved from a "transitional living program" facility near Chicago last month into a group home, it was a major milestone for the 27-year-old, who traveled 1,000 miles from his home in Denver to get treatment after a cannabis-induced psychotic break five years ago.
Rigg had to leave his hometown because it lacked suitable long-term treatment, according to his mother, Connie Kabrick. The three marijuana dispensaries at the intersection a half block from her home are the reason why she says he can't move back.
As marijuana increasingly becomes legalized, parents of children who make up the mounting cases of cannabis-induced psychosis and other mental illness say treatment is far less available than the pot they say is linked to the conditions.
Many marijuana advocates question the strength of the science behind warnings by federal and state public health officials. They say more rigorous studies are needed to prove whether frequent use of high-potency pot caused the mental illness or if it would have occurred anyway.
Whether marijuana is the cause or the self-prescribed cure, the rise in psychosis, schizophrenia and suicide among young, heavy users comes amid a shortage in doctors and facilities to treat them. Parents describe spotty understanding of cannabis-induced mental illness and the best ways to treat it among doctors and hospitals.
Mental health treatment, especially for teens needing psychiatric care, is lacking in most parts of the country, USA TODAY found.