HEALTH A-Z & MARIJUANA NEWS

When your weed works against you.  What to do.

MARIJUANA AND ANXIETY - WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

Solution - Get a different type of Weed

 

In this article, we cover the medical science, veteran advice and smart testimonials about anxiety and marijuana.

 

Without necessarily knowing it, anxiety might be the number one reason why people smoke pot in the first place. In other words, recreational users are really self medicating for anxiety, albeit in an enjoyable way.  For others, weed makes their anxiety worse, what are they doing wrong?

 

ANXIETY - WHEN THINGS GO WRONG - THE SCIENCE OF FEAR

 

The basic problem is that people smoke too much weed that is high in THC (the psychoactive component). Of course, the solution, DUH, is to take less, microdose or try something else.  There are strains out there lower in THC and contain other ingredients (like CBD) that don't have the same effect, they are more balanced and work how they are supposed to, cure anxiety rather than exacerbate it.  Then there is weed without much THC and very high in CBD and that can work well for those who don't want to get stoned.  Then there is Hashish with several cannabinoids that work better for some than your regular Blue Dream, Kush, etc.

 

  • Anxiety might be the #1 root cause of mental and physical issues, and how marijuana works to nip it in the bud.  The science, veteran advice and smart testimonials about anxiety and marijuana; for some it works very well, for others it makes matters worse.
  • Marijuana is America's  #1 agricultural commodity for a reason.  Anxiety might be the biggest reason recreational users are attracted to it; to shed off the feeling of anxiety and feel like they are on holiday, a day at the beach, instead of feeling like a character in Orwell's 1984.
  • Without necessarily knowing it, anxiety might be the number one reason why people smoke pot in the first place.   Think about it, if we take our head out of the sand and take a sober look at the our place in the world, we see that many of our relationships; family, children, friends and employers are not as wholesome, stable and functional as we'd like.

 

"Findings suggested  that THC prevented the recovery of fear.  Animal subjects were repeatedly exposed to stimuli that normally caused an involuntary traumatic response, or anxiety. It was supposed that fear response came from memories of past trauma." - Researcher

 

We know that we're being spied on 24/7; on the internet, phone calls, credit card transactions.  We know that there are chemicals in everything we eat, in our cosmetics, our toothpaste and water.   Just to get by, most of us have to work 40 hours, and if we want to save for the future, we have to work 50 or 60.

 

"People who get more anxious and paranoid when smoking marijuana should smoke less, try varieties with several percent CBD, and also eat peppercorns, which contain terpenes that can change the effects of THC from anxious to cerebral and calming." - MMJDoc

 

While our situations are probably much better, than say, a slave in the Roman Empire or on a Cotton plantation of yesteryear, or a prison factory in China, and we should thank our lucky stars for the things we have, the underlying uncertainty of our situation: our finances, job, etc. gives many of us a minor to a major case of anxiety.   A chronic case of anxiety often goes unnoticed to the average person.  The behavior, I need a drink to unwind, or a toke to relax; these statements imply that the person has been wound up or is in a state of tension from their job or life.

 

Anxiety is the primary source of drug addiction.   To feel normal, and get rid of the feelings of fear, any number of narcotics can change a person's mood, the biochemistry where they feel no pain, all is well, and the annoying feeling of anxiety is gone, until the drug wears off of course.  This sets the table for habitual drug consumption to deal with chronic stress and anxiety.  In time, susceptible individual become serious drug addicts.  Some drugs, especially opiates and tobacco are very dangerous and are habit forming to most of the general population.  

 

"Pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using modulators of the cannabinoid system.  It is suggested that this study's results should be a launching point for research, development and clinical testing." - Researcher

 

Enter marijuana.  For some, Marijuana too is addictive mentally, but not physically, like alcohol, opiates, nicotine, crack and other are. Marijuana is lower on the index of addiction than caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and pretty much everything else.  The toxicity of marijuana is so low that it is impossible to consume enough to cause any long lasting harm whatsoever.  On the plus side, marijuana use is associated with lower DUI, suicide, domestic violence, overdose in every state that has legalized it.

 

"People who get more anxious and paranoid when smoking marijuana should smoke less, try varieties with several percent CBD, and also eat peppercorns, which contain terpenes that can change the effects of THC from anxious to cerebral and calming." - MMJDoc


 

DEAR GABBY, WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT MARIJUANA AND ANXIETY?

 

A woman with a whole lot to say about  her Pot experiences and your anxiety.  Text is edited for clarity in some cases.

The first thing to get out of the way, in practice, Anxiety or depression isn't a problem that can just, POOF, and it be gone. You have to constantly work at it. You're battling your basic instincts gone out of whack here, and it is not easy to stop the tide. You can win many battles, but still lose the war. That's my first tip: Don't think there is a one time cure. It's not that easy. Books and videos, programs can help somewhat, but I'm not seeing the best of results.
 

What is a panic attack?:
 

The first thing you need to do is realize what a panic attack is, that way you know what is happening to your body in this instance and it may help you rationalize what is going on. What happens is that your mind thinks it's in danger, this especially happens to people who need to be in control of their own body, and releases Adrenaline, which in term causes your heart to beat faster, your vision to blur or tunnel, and your body to shake.

 

It's exactly the same response as if you were about to fight someone, but the only difference is, your mind doesn't really feel a threat.  The result of this fight or flight response is that you don't interact with others very well, come off as weird, abrasive, out of tune or distracted.
 

What does this mean? This basically means, your mind has no where to centralize the fight or flight response. You have nowhere to run, and nothing to fight. This is what causes a panic attack. Your mind just doesn't know what to do, so its in between fighting or leaving, but you can't leave your own mind, and you have nothing to fight. Thus, a panic attack occurs.
Now let's talk about why we start getting the flight or fight. It's impossible to write exactly why.

 

Marijuana may cause your mind to feel the need to flight or fight, everyone is different, but we can sum it up to a couple key factors:
 

"Redundant on purpose - to drive the point home.....People who get more anxious and paranoid when smoking marijuana should smoke less, try varieties with several percent CBD, and also eat peppercorns, which contain terpenes that can change the effects of THC from anxious to cerebral and calming." - MMJDoc

 

Your mind is uptight. It needs to be in control, and be at attention at all times. These people usually are the ones that ask when its going to end, or are scared that they will get stuck that way forever. You'll feel your heart and start thinking it's out of place for it to be beating so fast which could trigger it. You could zone out for a minute, come back, and that could trigger it.
People who aren't used to being high. This is more understandable. You smoke too much with too little tolerance, you get very high.

 

I've personally had this happen. You smoke and smoke and smoke, but it doesn't seem like its doing anything and then 10 minutes later it all comes on at once. This can be very overwhelming. Especially since most strains are very powerful in this age and day. What you need to do in this situation is drink water, and eat sugary food. If this doesn't calm you down, do an activity. Basically, you want your mind to just forget your high so in time, you can be less high.
 

You've been having problems/stresses in your sober life that are now coming to light when you get high. This has to do more with setting, but it can easily cause a panic attack. Don't go to Marijuana when you start having issues or stress as they will only push that over the edge. Get everything sorted out that you can before coming back to Marijuana.

Finances, relationships, family problems, job issues, car troubles, etc, are all things that can come to light when you smoke Marijuana. You may be even too scared to confront them in your sober life so you push them into the back of your mind to try to hide them, that won't work, Marijuana will bring those right back up to the surface.
 

Now how do we fight these and get the high back in shape?
 

Well, I'll tell you that when you're having a panic attack, you're very lucky to come down from one in with reasonable mindset. What you need to do is fight the anxiety before it begins. You need to go into it with a "Fuck it" mindset. Don't be trying to talk yourself up, or talk yourself down from being anxious or nervous, it won't work.
 

You need to go in and just say "I'm looking to have a good time, nothing bad will happen, fuck the anxiety". Letting go is the hardest part, but once you can learn it, you'll be almost invincible to anxiety that is caused by a unimportant source.
 

Tools and Tips:
 

Take it slow! I can't stress this enough. Even when you learn to let go, smoking too much can take reasonable thoughts and throw them right in the trash. Remember, weed can be intense. Take 2 hits max, and see how you feel in 10 minutes. The key point is, you can always get higher, but only time can make you get sober.
 

Eat before you smoke. The drop in blood sugar induced by marijuana does make your heart beat faster than normal. If you get a meal in before smoking, you can even out your blood sugar levels.
 

Your heart is not going to explode. I promise. It may seem like your heart is going 250BPM , but it's your mind messing with you, it's probably going no more than 120 BPM. Which may sound like a lot , but in all honestly, that's a hard jog around the block and if you can't jog around the block without having a heart attack, then you should probably see a doctor before using any drug.
 

It will end. No one has invented a type of weed that can keep you high for more than 6 hours, and that's a long stretch. Trust me, if someone invented a type of THC that lasted more than 12 hours, they would one rich dude and you'd be paying 40 bucks a gram for that shit.  You're not going crazy. It may feel like it , but THC isn't going to make you crazy. I haven't seen a story as of yet that indicated anyone going to a mental hospital because of Marijuana.
 

No one has died from Marijuana. Not 1 single person. If you think you're dying, you aren't. People have consumed much, much, MUCH, more Marijuana than you could be comfortable smoking in one session and they all came out fine.  DO SOMETHING! Don't sit around and keep freaking yourself out. Get outside and look at nature with some headphones in. Play a video game. Produce music. Do anything , but sit around worrying about yourself.
 

Being caught is a possibility. I can't say it's not. You can greatly reduce your risk of being caught by BEING SMART. Don't hotbox your car and drive around downtown. Don't leave the house with anything on you. Don't blow smoke in your neighbor's window. You should be fine as long as you follow those basic steps.  Set and setting are VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. If you don't feel comfortable sober, you won't feel comfortable high. If you are in a sketchy situation, do you think being high is going to decrease or increase this? Use your brain.
 

My last tip for you is to learn when to stop using Marijuana. If you just can't ever have a good time or smoke without a panic attack, just leave it alone until you're ready. No one is going to make fun of you or look down on you. I would much rather smoke with someone who is sober than with someone who is freaking out and yelling at me to call the ambulance.
 

 

WHEN SMOKING POT FOR ANXIETY GOES WRONG

 

Comments -  Sometimes too High

My anxiety problems are a little different. I'm not worried about getting caught -I'm 52 LOL, and I'm not worried about my heart exploding, or the high lasting forever, or whatever. I just find that if get really high -like a 7 or 8, I get anxious about regular life stuff - my job, paying bills, my kids, etc.

 

Comment - Going to Try Peppercorn

The weird thing is that when this comes up I know it is exacerbated by the drug, but it is still unpleasant. I am not anxious much in my everyday life, just when I get pretty high on cannabis. At lower levels, it doesn't come up. And I don't always get anxious at the higher levels - just enough to make me want to stay away.  I deal with this by just not getting too high, but sometimes it is just fun to get really messed up. I'm going to try the peppercorn thing sometime, but I am skeptical.
 

Comment -  Freak out
 

Yea OP didn't include this , but this is exactly what happens to me!
I'll get myself all worked up about finances or how my life could be better, etc and then start freaking out.

 

Comment - How to Handle
 

I was going to touch down on this , but this one is wildly variant on the person, everyone's life is different. But the best thing to do honestly, is not fight the feelings. Don't have a full blown anxiety attack, but organize those thoughts. See what is really bothering you in your sober life that you just can't come to terms with. Once you can organize and sort through these thoughts, maybe you can make change in your sober life, which in term would help your high life.
 

So if high, you're worried like "Oh, I should work harder and get a raise", go out and get that raise in your sober life. All the pot is doing is opening up things that you're too scared to confront, or too scared to maybe go out and do because you don't want to fail.
 

Comment - Stupid on Pot
 

While I agree on that in principle, I find that most of my anxiety that comes out under cannabis is of the irrational type that I can't do anything about.  For example, I am in a startup. Startups are really hard, and always on the brink of bankruptcy until they get going. While sober, I can realize that, acknowledge the anxiety as being normal and just move on. Getting out of the startup isn't the answer - while sober, I love it and have no real problems with the anxiety.
 

However, under cannabis it is like I lose the ability to rationally examine the anxiety and I just get the pure spiraling anxiety. It seems like the main thing I lose is the ability to understand the anxiety and just acknowledge it. I want to be able to say "Yes, I am in a startup. yes, it is probably going to fail. But for now I should just enjoy these few hours and then get back to work"
I am never even close to a panic attack -thank God. But it just makes the cannabis experience harder to enjoy at higher levels.

 

Comment - Anxiety
 

Marijuana is the worst drug for irrational anxiety. Which is why most people can't fight it.
I don't exactly know why Marijuana is as bad as it is , but even little things can spiral out of control.

 

For example, my last panic attack was a year ago, I left my apartment after smoking, got in the car and was driving down the street. All of a sudden I asked myself "did I lock the door?" and it was really bugging me out. I started shaking and thinking the cops were in the apartment going through my stash and were waiting for me.

 

Comment - Creative

 

Turns out the door was locked. I would turn the emotions around, instead of thinking "wow I could go broke" say "Wow, I could get rich!" just think about all the things you would do with a billion dollars. Think about all the trips you would take, all the places you would see. Think about how awesome your house would be and what you would have in it. Think about the cars you would drive.  Just something to get your mind away from that thought.
 

Comment - Honesty
 

Absolutely agree with you. Pot can be really good at revealing things to you that you are scared to confront while sober, and it's up to you to work through them, or to change your perspective and accept them.
 

Comment - Paranoid
 

This is exactly my experience. Even with my gf I get self-conscience. There's nothing that can help me except for trying to think externally. I try to think outside of myself when I'm with people , but if I'm too high that goes out the window. I don't think there's a cure for it. It's just think that's how my mind works now that I'm older.

Comment - Haunting

 

Stress in your sober life. Finances, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc. These can all kind of "haunt" you when high. Sometimes you don't want to face those problems, but marijuana kind of forces you, so you're left doing something you aren't comfortable with.  It's almost always this one lol.
 

Comment  - Hard time Thinking
 

I have an extremely tough time thinking of the right word when I'm high. Come off sounding like a total idiot if I try to talk. Been smoking since 8th grade and just started noticing the problem in the past few years -22 years old now Tolerance is not the issue- I take months off at a time. Do you think it's because I started so early and smoked throughout high school? My brain could be permanently changed.

Comment- Change in Brain Chemistry


There are definite changes in brain chemistry over time. I started in 8th grade -dumb, yes and used to love it all through high school. Now, in college, I find it to make me feel unintelligent and shitty overall. This is not a matter of tolerance. I can stop for a year and have the same results. I guess I grew up and moved onto grown-up drugs. No positives for me when it comes to smoking.
 

Comment - Blood Sugar Issues

Yes, blood sugar is what really catches people. No one remembers it when its happening , but pot can really make it drop and even sober, low blood sugar is scary.
 

 

Comment - Too Much
 

I used to smoke everyday, then all of a sudden getting high have me panic attacks. They were mild at first, but I had a total freak out and went up to a cop looking for help.  I've smoked since, but your  are very true. I'd say the biggest one for me is the environment and what I have planned for the day. I used to be able to get stoned and do anything, now if I know I have to go out in public I know I won't be comfortable if I'm high.

Comment

I've literally cried to my mom once because I thought I was dying from smoking. It happens man.
I think something else that may help, is reading other people's panic attack stories. When a panic attack is happening, you aren't rationalizing anything. When you're sober, you just realize how silly a panic attack can be. Reading stories about them can maybe open your mind to being like "Wow, is that even worth a freak out moment?"

 

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FURTHER READING

 

REDDIT - For everyone who has anxiety when using Marijuana, please read this

 

Anxiety and Medical Marijuana - Medical Research

Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans

-- Journal, Volume, Issue Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Apr;226(4):781-92

Finding:  Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of fear extinction (reduces anxiety) in humans.

 

Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans

-- Journal, Volume, Issue Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jul 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Finding: THC prevented the recovery of fear (anxiety) in this experiment of extinction learning.

 

Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve

-- Journal, Volume, Issue Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 May;36(6):1219-26.

Finding: Cannabidiol significantly reduced anxiety.

 

Marijuana Effectiveness as an HIV Self-Care Strategy

-- Clinical Nurse Research 2009

Finding:  Participants rated cannabis as similarly effective as other pharmaceutical medications for the treatment of their Anxiety symptoms.



 

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