Home»Health»American Sniper killer Routh said to have 'cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms'

American Sniper killer Routh said to have 'cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms'

Eddie Ray Routh
Eddie Ray Routh

It was revealed near the beginning of his trial that Eddie Routh had tested positive for marijuana when he killed Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield.

Routh was on a cocktail of prescription drugs, alcohol, and marijuana at the time of the killings each side claims, all of which were due to PTSD. He had been in and out of mental health institutions prior to the shootings.

Prosecutors contend that the marijuana Routh had consumed was likely laced, possibly with formaldehyde or PCP.

Now a psychologist has testified that Routh is not insane, and that cannabis had an effect on what took place.

From WFAA:

As gun smoke cleared above the bodies of Chad Littlefield and Chris Kyle, Eddie Routh thought to himself, “Jesus Christ, what have I done?” and he became immediately remorseful, so testified psychologist Randall Price, who interviewed Routh for several hours in jail.

On Thursday psychiatrist Dr. Mitchell Dunn told jurors Routh was legally insane at the time of the killings, in the throes of a psychotic episode caused by Schizophrenia.

On Friday Dr. Randall Price basically told jurors that Routh is faking it. He said Routh had “cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms” caused by constant pot smoking, combined with heavy drinking.

Price told jurors that cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms are more visual or smell-oriented, and can last for days or even a month. Jurors have been told Routh was upset by Chad Littlefield’s cologne, and that he thought some people were turning into “pig hybrids.”

Randall Price, who has a Ph.D. in psychology, said Routh has a “paranoid personality disorder,” or a person who always thinks someone is trying to take advantage of them.

He said a disorder is not mental illness. Price testified that marijuana abuse would increase the paranoia.

“It heightens their suspiciousness,” he said. “He angers easily.”

Price said on the morning before the killings, Routh was “on edge” about his girlfriend, and about having to live with his parents. He said Routh smoked marijuana and drank whiskey shortly before climbing into a pickup with Kyle and Littlefield.

Price told jurors Routh was immediately agitated because he said the men didn’t shake his hand, didn’t talk to him, made him eat a hamburger he didn’t want, and had lots of guns and ammo in the truck.

Price said Routh grew fearful and thought about killing Kyle and Littlefield as they drove, but thought it might cause a crash. So he waited for an “opportune” time.

A recent study however has shown that cannabis use does not appear to greatly impact those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Scientists have long known that schizophrenics have higher rates of cannabis use than the general population. However, studies have provided conflicting evidence on whether marijuana use leads to better or worse outcomes in the long-run.

While cannabis use did not appear to have any direct impact on symptoms or outcomes in the current study, higher doses of cannabis were modestly associated with anxiety and poorer patient functioning. On the other hand, patients that used marijuana showed better functioning overall.

“Cannabis use was associated with an improvement in general functioning, a finding that was also evident in our earlier study with a sample of patients with longer illness history.”

The contrast may indicate that the “impacts of cannabis on people with psychosis are quite complex and variable,” offers the team. Interestingly, there is also some evidence that compounds in marijuana could be useful for treating the disorder.

Earlier this month near the Texas base Fort Hood in Killeen, many veterans came together for a seminar on how marijuana has been shown to help treat PTSD.

Many also speculate that the alcohol combined with the multiple anti-psychotics Routh was prescribed is what ultimately set him off, rather than his marijuana usage.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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