Ad Gridley was 18 when he smoked his first spliff. It contained high-potency cannabis, also known as skunk, and it got him stoned. He loved the sensation. It made him feel he was special, the chosen one, floating above normal life. “As if I was in the most exclusive religion in the world,” he says. Smoking weed soon became the only way he socialised and relaxed. In fact, other than going to work at a hotel every day, he didn’t do much else other than get high. Gridley expected the giggles, the munchies, a bit of memory loss. What he didn’t know was that he would suffer severe, long-term psychological effects.
By the time he got to university, aged 19, Gridley was paranoid. He thought