Remind Yourself Youre Not In Danger
Panic attacks can feel different for everyone, but its not unusual to wonder if youre experiencing something serious, such as a heart attack or overdose, especially if youve never had a panic attack before.
The fear that happens with a panic attack is perfectly real. The threat, however, isnt, and reminding yourself that the panic will pass can help you start to calm down.
You might certainly experience some unpleasant symptoms after ingesting too much cannabis, but this scenario .
Can Marijuana Use Cause Social Anxiety Or Make It Worse
A 2009 review study found that frequent cannabis users consistently had a high prevalence of anxiety disorders and patients with anxiety disorders had a relatively high rate of cannabis use. However, it was not determined if cannabis use increased the risk of developing long-term anxiety disorders.
This means that we know there may be a relationship between using marijuana and having social anxiety however, it is not clear which comes first. It could be that people who already have social anxiety are more likely to use marijuana . It could also be that using marijuana frequently leads to a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
How To Handle A Panic Attack Safely
In a May 2018 article for Forbes, comedian Chris Allport was frank about what happened after he called 911 while having a panic attack caused by cannabis use. The dispatcher advised him to remember that it will pass and to drink water and breathe. Allport said the panic attack passed eventually.
Most people who call 911 because of an adverse reaction to cannabis report feelings of panic. The NHS says it is important to confront your fears head-on during a panic attack because it is the only way to learn that you will not be harmed.
It can help to have a friend support you through a panic attack. If you see someone else going through a panic attack, reassure them that they will be OK.
Medical News Today outlines a few additional tips:
- Visit a doctor if this is the first panic attack.
- Breathe from the stomach while slowly allowing the lungs to fill.
- Use medication if it has been prescribed.
- Breathe lavender scents unless you have taken a benzodiazepine recently.
- Go to a calm place or corner. This can reduce the stress that causes a panic attack.
- Identify the things that set off panic attacks and aim to avoid them.
Generally, 911 will not classify a panic attack as an emergency, but if you call them, they will oblige your request for an ambulance if you feel you need it. Though panic attacks are not dangerous, they are unpleasant. Having them frequently may also signify that you have panic disorder and need additional help.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Fall Asleep With Anxiety
Most Researchers Agree That The People Most Susceptible To Brain Changes Are Those Who Begin Using Marijuana Regularly During Adolescence
A small study of teenagers in Europe found that people who used marijuana had more gray matter in their brains, which can affect how humans mature over time.
The researchers noticed these brain-level changes in teens who had just one or two joints in their lifetimes.
Although researchers are unsure whether higher brain volume is bad for health, they do know brain volume naturally decreases during the aging process, according to the National Institutes of Health .
An international meta-analysis of 23,317 young adults also found that , anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
“Although the causes of major depressive disorder are multifactorial and complex, this meta-analysis suggests that the cannabis exposure could be 1 factor contributing to depression in young adulthood,” the researchers wrote.
Quitting Smoking Can Also Cause Anxiety
Unfortunately, those who decide to quit smoking may also be at risk for anxiety. Due to the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine, when a person quits smoking, he or she may also experience periods of hyperventilation, which leads to further anxiety.
In addition, smoking in general changes your lung health to such a degree that you may have developed poor breathing habits already that are going to be exacerbated by the way your lungs feel when they’re free of cigarette smoke.
That’s why you should be prepared for these feelings before you quit smoking, and make sure you have a support system in place to help keep you away from cigarettes.
Read Also: How Do I Stop An Anxiety Attack
Does Marijuana Help With Anxiety
Yes and no. For years, many cannabis consumers have insisted that theyve found relief using marijuana for anxiety. While research studies have shown that there is some evidence that people can use marijuana to treat anxiety, theyve also highlighted the fact that in some people, cannabis can make anxiety worse.
A Person Could Need More Sedation Medication For Surgery If They Have A Regular Marijuana Habit
A small study in the May 2019 issue of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that people who reported smoking marijuana or eating edibles on a daily or weekly basis needed higher doses of medication for sedation.
The researchers found that people who used marijuana daily or weekly needed 14% more fentanyl, 19.6% more midazolam, and 220.5% more propofol for the full length of their procedures than their counterparts who didn’t use as much marijuana.
Researchers haven’t determined why this was the case, but they believe marijuana could potentially desensitize the body’s receptors that process sedatives.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Morning Anxiety
How Cbd May Reduce Social Anxiety
Although this is an area of great complexity and the neuroscience is still being worked out, CBD has been shown to work as an anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing drug. Individuals suffering from social anxiety who were given CBD were found to have increased blood flow in the cingulate cortex, which plays a role in interpreting the reactions of others.
In a 2015 review, cannabidiol was supported as a treatment for social anxiety disorder when administered acutely . However, we don’t know what the effects are of long-term use of marijuana.
They also experienced decreased blood flow to the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus , which are key in forming and recalling memories, and also the inferior temporal gyrus, which helps you perceive faces. In studies with rats, CBD has been shown to reduce aversion to stressful situations.
CBD is thought to inhibit the uptake of anandamide in the PAG. Substances that inhibit the uptake of anandamide have been shown to prevent anxiety. In addition, all of the brain areas involved in anxiety, including the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and PAG contain CB1 receptors, which are indirectly involved in the effect of CBD.
As a whole, we still don’t know exactly how CBD has its effect. However, it seems that when using this substance, you may be better able to suppress unpleasant memories of anxiety or embarrassment, and also have a better ability to perceive the reactions of others.
I Can’t Breathe And My Chest Hurts I Might Suffocate
Many don’t realize that your increased breath rate during a panic attack causes most of your symptoms, such as an increased heart rate or stiffness/tightness in your chest. So slow down your breath. Grab a paper lunch bag and cover the opening of your mouth with the opening of the bag and create a seal with your hands. Breathe slowly in and out of the bag this will help regulate gas exchange and in turn, help relieve your symptoms. Your goal should be less than 20 inhales/exhales a minute.
Also Check: Can You Use An Inhaler For Anxiety
Does Cannabis Cause Mental Health Issues
The relationship between cannabis use and mental health isnt as straightforward as you might think.
Cannabis also known as marijuana, weed or pot affects everyone differently, making it difficult to predict who will experience negative effects.1
One person might have feelings of relaxation and euphoria, while another person may experience anxiety and paranoia.2
This can depend on factors such as:
- how much cannabis they use
- whether they use cannabis often
- the type of cannabis
- the persons size, weight and health
- the environment they are in
- the persons personality.2, 3
With all these different factors at play, we cant say cannabis is the single cause of any mental health issue. The evidence just isnt strong enough.4
But what the evidence does show is that theres still a relationship between the two.
Risk Factors For Panic Attacks While Taking Cannabis
Medical News Today states that research on cannabis use currently focuses on adolescents who are more likely to use marijuana for the first time. Adults who are regular users offer us a better picture of who may get a panic attack as a result of regular use.
Up to 25 percent of people who use marijuana may become problematic users. Of this group, another quarter of users may have an anxiety disorder. People who have anxiety as children are more likely to use cannabis in problematic ways.
There are a few things problematic users have in common.
- Many have experienced maltreatment or bullying as children.
- Some people who begin using marijuana as adults may simply have had fewer friends who use marijuana as teenagers, causing delayed problem use of marijuana.
- Persistent users normally had problems with marijuana as early as age 9.
Recommended Reading: What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorder
Cannabis Addiction: What Does It Mean
Cannabis can be a tough opponent to beat. The addiction that the drug brings is not comparable to heroin or cocaine addiction for several key reasons. Firstly, cannabis itself does not contain any addictive qualities. Often, cannabis addiction is linked to a behavioral or mental disorder for which it is being used as a coping mechanism, whether the user realizes it or not. For example, an individual living with bipolar disorder might develop an addiction to cannabis through repeatedly using it to feel calmer, more balanced, or simply better. This can get even more complicated when you consider that cannabis cannot only heighten pre-existing conditions rather than alleviating them, but in some cases can even bring out, or awaken, a mental concern that an individual never knew they had.
Cannabis addiction, or extended cannabis use, can potentially lead to something known as cannabis-induced anxiety disorder. If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone.
Hope is Just a Phone Call Away
Acute Human Clinical Trials
The anxiogenic properties of isolated THC has have been firmly established in humans and as demonstrated in Table , and no human studies provided any evidence of anxiolytic effects. However, the dosages administered varied widely in the studies described ranging from 2.5 mg to 30 mg . In addition there were two studies which utilised mg/kg . While these two studies are able to be compared more easily with the animal studies, this difference in measurement means that they are not comparable to the other studies as the masses of the participants are not provided.
Table 5 Studies of cannabinoids for anxiety in humans
Don’t Miss: How To Relax Muscles From Anxiety
What Does Cannabis Anxiety Feel Like
Anxiety is anxiety. We have all felt it. Some people call it paranoia. Others describe this as a panic attack. Essentially it is the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Or could happen. In turn, it causes a physical reaction – the body tenses up. Some people sweat. Others experience a racing heartbeat. The mind can loop on potentialities for a long time.
It is an absolutely horrible experience. It can occur on its own or as part of other symptomology.
Cannabis more specifically certain cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, work in many cases to quell these feelings. Again it is not entirely understood why, but in some individuals, cannabis ingestion can cause the same, prickly, uncomfortable feelings.
Summary Of Adverse Effects Of Marijuana
- Anxiety and panic.
- Impaired attention, memory, and psychomotor performance while intoxicated.
- Possibly an increased risk of accident if a person drives a motor vehicle while intoxicated with cannabis, especially if cannabis is used with alcohol.
- Increased risk of psychotic symptoms among those who are vulnerable because of personal or family history of psychosis.
In novice marijuana users, rarely in regular users, marijuana may precipitate reactive or neurotic depressions.
The majority of all adverse responses to marijuana are panic reactions in which people begin to fear that they are dying or losing their minds. Panic reactions, or “bad trips”, may become so severe as to be incapacitating. Smith reports that roughly 50% of marijuana smokers in the United States have on some occasion experienced this adverse reaction.
The longer marijuana has been used, the more pronounced the cognitive impairment.
Read some of the comments from people who have had experiences with marijuana and anxiety
: Hi, I’ve had panic attacks for more than 1.5 years now. Fortunately, I can now control the attacks and am aware that “I am not going to have a heart attack”
I really feel like a freak of nature. Can you explain to me what’s happening? Do other people have these kinds of reactions?
Recommended Reading: What Drugs Help With Anxiety
Keep Mood Swings In Check
The fast-paced lives we live are vast contributors to the changes in our moods. This affects us differently as some of us are not sure how to manage them as they come.
Thanks to the thorough studies on medicinal marijuana, people living with panic attacks and anxiety can rest easy. Its been shown to help bring mood swings under control regardless of how severe they may be.
The chemicals in our bodies, such as endocannabinoids, are huge contributors to this benefit. They work closely with the chemicals released in CBD products to regulate our moods.
Scientifically speaking, CBD is bound to other brain receptors linked to bouts of depression and anxiety. Serotonin is one of the brain receptors that interact directly with CBD and causes the different emotional reactions that we face.
Self-medication has never been an accurate way of going about handling the profound mood changes. Instead, an adequate prescription from a medical professional gives the user a sense of direction.
Read Also: What Is The Meaning Of Phobia
How To Relieve A Panic Attack In Progress
If you realize you are in the middle of a panic attack or feel rising anxiety caused by cannabis, good. That is the first step.
Second, take deep breaths. Try to ground yourself in the now. This will allow you to take immediate, concrete steps to make this feeling go away. Stepping outside for a few minutes might also do the trick. So does taking a quick shower. Or even sticking your head under the tap while running cold water over the nape of the neck.
Third, try to eat or drink something. It will have an instant impact on the chemicals in your bloodstream. What you eat or drink is also very important. Try a glass of lemonade, or a piece of fresh mango. These are laden in terpenes just like cannabis in fact. And terpenes like pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene all calm anxiety. They are also found in other foods too, like citrus fruit.
Now you have your feet and brain more or less back on track, continue to stay physically and or mentally busy. You could listen to music. You could go to the mall . You could clean the basement. The point is, the more you move, the better you will feel. The more you distract yourself in real time, the more you focus on your immediate surroundings, and the less your brain will wrap itself around disturbing distractions.
Remember, this will not last forever.
Also Check: What Can Help My Anxiety