New marijuana users may sometimes suffer from anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks while smoking weed. Ironically, medical marijuana and marijuana derivatives are often used to treat these exact symptoms and conditions. How come cannabis both causes panic attacks and can be used to treat them? What are the ways to resolve this seeming contradiction? Let's explore the truth of the matter.
People with anxiety disorders are often prescribed marijuana as a medication. Even more often people self-medicate this way. So, if cannabis helps people with anxiety, how can it cause panic attacks? This question is very complex and requires further research.
Last year, a German medical journal Deutsches Aerzteblatt International published an article about the dark side of non-medical marijuana use. In the article, the authors highlight that, conditional on many other factors, the use of marijuana can cause side effects, including panic attacks. The risk of this side-effect mostly depends on the age of a consumer, specific strain of weed, amount of cannabis, and the way it was consumed.
Several years ago, National Institutes of Health funded research that studied the connection between marijuana use and panic disorders. The study determined “a consistent association between current (past-year) marijuana use and lifetime as well as current panic attacks.” So, panic attacks may be a common occurrence even among the veterans of marijuana consumption. This effects among regular stoners may be caused by a sudden increase in the amount of THC they consume.
Considering that a panic episode can happen to anybody at any time, we should focus on the ways to prevent or stop the undesirable effects.
A panic attack is not the most pleasurable thing to experience while smoking marijuana—troubled breathing, increased heart rate, poor coordination, and depersonalization mix into a feeling that you would want to stop immediately. There are a few methods to stop and control the attack.
First of all, you should remember that you are in charge, and you can control it. Try to compose yourself. Another factor to remember is that you need to train your breathing. Hyperventilation often accompanies this kind of attacks. So, you need to try and regulate your breathing.
Experts recommend the following exercise: Take a long breath through your nose for five seconds and hold it for two seconds; then breathe out through your mouth for seven seconds. Try to even out your breathing and the problem may go away.
Finally, you have to remember that a panic attack from weed is often caused by the cannabis component THC. Try to control the amount of weed you smoke and choose the strains that have lower THC levels. You may be not ready for very potent weed yet.