Cannabis

Weed, marijuana, pot, hash, dope – it has a million names but I guess the most universal is cannabis so that’s the one I’ll stick with here. After alcohol, nicotine and caffeine it is the most commonly used drug. Indeed over one hundred million Americans have tried it and twenty five million in the past year. And why not? It’s not physically addictive, it can relax you and can cause euphoria. It can turn you into the world’s greatest philosopher!

Therefore why, you might ask, am I bothering to write this article? Well, I guess it’s by way of a warning. I’m not proud to admit it but six years or so ago, while I was a student, I was into smoking cannabis in a big way. At around that time in the UK there was a lot of talk about decriminalizing it, much in the same way as they have done in Holland. Being an ‘enlightened’ kind of guy I was all for it. After all, there was a whole stack of evidence that said it was harmless, that it was just a bit of fun. And perhaps that’s true – for 95% of the population. Unfortunately for me I fell into that not so lucky 5%.

I’m not suggesting that cannabis is entirely responsible for my anxiety. Clearly there are underlying psychological issues that had been fermenting away in my brain for a good twenty years. But one thing I can say is that it certainly unleashed a whole raft of stuff that I would have rather had stayed locked up. Paranoia. The feeling that something bad was going to happen to me. That I might die, that I couldn’t cope. I even remember one time I accidently smashed a bottle of milk on the floor. I was so paranoid that I thought I’d somehow swallowed some of the glass. The last time I ever smoked weed (and ever will I might add) I found myself having to leave my flat. I walked around campus thinking – or knowing – that I was having a heart attack. Who knows what I must have looked like? I vowed to quit. The trouble is, of course, that once Pandora’s Box has been opened it’s pretty hard to get shut again. I’ve been struggling to do so for about six years and the lid’s only just starting to go down.

If we can get technical for a moment there’s a little chemical that goes by the name of THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol that is found in cannabis. Back in the sixties there was generally a very low concentration of it in cannabis. However, in modern times, what with the intensive way it is produced, the concentration is much, much higher and this is what is believed to cause all of those nasty effects. It dramatically increases the risk of psychotic episodes (such as the one I suffered) and schizophrenia later on. Something I think we all want to avoid.

Of course, I could go on and explain how cannabis is potentially a gateway drug but our main concern is its effect on anxiety. Much is said about the medicinal properties of cannabis. Who knows, maybe it does have some analgesic qualities. However, for any of you who are tempted to indulge to calm your frayed nerves think again. Make no mistake, despite much media gumpf that says otherwise, cannabis is a dangerous substance and should be avoided by all – particularly us paranoid types!

N.B. As an aside, I would be very interested to hear the experience of others who have smoked a fair bit of cannabis. Did you have a similar experience to me? Do you think it had a significant role to play in your anxiety problems?

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Comments

  1. says

    When I read Andy’s post I was intrigued to say the least. When I was at University I had a psychologist ask me if I had ever smoked pot. I said I had and he said I hadn’t been anxious in the past because I was “self medicating”. Ironically my very first panic attack occurred while I was under the influence of cannabis.

    That started my saga of anxiety but also got me off of weed ASAP! I don’t blame marijuana for causing my anxiety disorder but I do believe that it may have “unlocked” something that was already there.

    In terms of what Andy stated I agreed with much of it. Particularly the notion that marijuana is a gateway drug – that is to say it can lead to other “heavier” drugs which of course is bad.

    The one thing I disagreed with was the idea that marijuana causes mental illness like schizophrenia. As far as I know this is not the case.

    Marijuana can illicit feelings/symptoms of paranoia or hallucination but both of these are temporary effects that do not last more than several hours AND stop when you cease smoking pot.

    Overall I don’t believe any drug, including pot, can make your anxiety go away. And in most cases it can aggravate things and make your anxiety much worse. Maybe not right away but certainly overtime.

    I’m sure there will be more comments on this one.

  2. Jenn says

    When I was a bit younger, I too smoked pot. A lot. I never had a problem with it making my paranoid or anxious. Even after I had my very first panic attack, my best friend suggested that I smoke to calm myself and it worked really well for me.

    After my first panic attack, I continued to smoke for about 3 more years and then one day, totally out of the blue, I had a horrible panic attack while on pot. I smoked occasionally after that, but eventually I had to stop all together because I couldn’t enjoy it any longer due to the anxiety is was causing me. Now I can’t even be in the same room as other people who are smoking it.

    I am pretty liberal in my beliefs and see absolutely nothing wrong with people smoking pot. However, I would NEVER recommend it to someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder and I will never again smoke it, myself.

  3. Danny B says

    I also experienced my first ever panic attack soon after I began my pot smoking phase. After a little while I realized I was getting more nervous every time I smoked it, but unfortunately even when I quit soon after that, the genie was out of the bottle. Anxiety became overwhelming for me, and stayed that way for many months. Eventually I got it under control, but I have no doubt in my mind that marijuana was the trigger for all of it.

    The most amazing thing to me is watching so many people in my life who smoke pot, and also suffer from anxiety problems. So many of them have convinced themselves the pot has nothing to do with it, because after all, it’s “natural”. The amount of misinformation out there is staggering, and a young person so ready to believe it is all too often fooled into thinking that pot can do no worse than make you paranoid on occasion. I even know two young people that eventually killed themselves. Of course I can never prove marijuana played a part in their demise, but I absolutely believe it started them down that dark path of psychological problems.

    I firmly believe people should avoid marijuana like every other hard drug out there. While all of them may provide moments of fun and glee, the long term risks that they bring are never worth it.

  4. Andy says

    I agree. I think weed was definitley a major trigger for me. No doubt there were underlying issues but as you say Danny – it let the genie out of the bottle. It hardly seems like a week passes that some onen has done some piece of research that suggests that weed is linked to mental illnesses.

  5. says

    Hey Jenn I’m with you on that one. I can’t stand the smell of pot because it brings back horrible memories of my first panic attack.

    I cannot be any where near the stuff, it actually makes me nervous to even think about smoking any. Granted I’m older now and so it’s not very appealing.

  6. Tony_42 says

    I have used cannabis off and on for 25 years and I know of many people who get paranoid when using it. It changes the way you perceive things. I use it in moderation without much negative effect. It is effective as a medicine as well. I do not recommend youth using it while the brain is still developing. We need to legalize it, study it and educate the public as to the dangers associated with it. Sadly the prohibition approach is what is being used today and to garner support for prohibition lawmakers are still using too much lies and propaganda. We need to approach cannabis the same way we approach alcohol or tobacco. Education, not prohibition is the road to success.

  7. Tony_42 says

    Also something else, one must consider that cannabis will cause you to “open your eyes” and question things. This can be dangerous to those who rely on belief systems to get through life. Cannabis can disrupt indoctrinated programming. Many believe that this is the main reason governments don’t like cannabis. Because people are less compliant and subservient. Less malleable.

  8. Danny B says

    Tony, you’re spouting off the same crap that keeps people in my life using pot, and thinking it has nothing to do with their anxiety. I wonder why you’re visiting a site about anxiety, if you have no such problems of your own? I’m guessing you’ve also convinced yourself your pot smoking has nothing to do with it.

    Please, no one needs their eyes opened here. The government is not afraid of you and your pot smoking buddies uncovering the big government secrets. Paranoia isn’t a problem for you, eh?

  9. Tony_42 says

    Danny, I am sorry you had a very negative experience that you claim was triggered by cannabis. Can you please explain how prohibition helps prevent the harms caused by all drugs including cannabis and when you are unable to do that can you list all the many harms prohibition does do. Do you think if you had been charged with trafficking (passing a joint)and imprisoned it would have helped your condition? That is the treatment plan for many addicts and users.

    For the great majority of responsible users cannabis does little if any harm and for many it helps them medicinally. This is the truth. Go ahead and call me full of crap but the truth is I’m right and you know it.

    With regard to my “paranoia” as you put it, I’ll ask you this; if you were, as an example, very religious and had a whole belief system built up over your life time(this could apply to any belief system) and then you began to question it would that not cause great anxiety and panic? We are all indoctrinated in one way or another, cannabis helps many people realize it (yourself excepted). You simply do not have the experience after using cannabis once to comment. Are you sure it was pure cannabis? Was it laced with something? I will continue to use cannabis because it does not affect me negatively. Please respect my liberty to do so and feel free to abstain. I would also suggest that you refrain from tobacco, alcohol and fast food these are proven mass killers. Good thing I was able to educate my children regarding the dangers of these things. That is the key. EDUCATION NOT PROHIBITION.

  10. Tony_42 says

    “In terms of what Andy stated I agreed with much of it. Particularly the notion that marijuana is a gateway drug – that is to say it can lead to other “heavier” drugs which of course is bad.”

    Paul you are wrong, cannabis is not a gateway drug. That theory is ludicrous and patently false. Do your own research and you will see that this myth is a holdover from the “reefer madness” era. There is certainly more exposure to other drugs under prohibition because the seller of cannabis often has other drugs and therefor the cannabis user has opportunity to get those as well. The prohibition actually increases exposure and risk, particularly with youth. If you have an addictive personality then stay away from everything, drugs, gambling, fast food, whatever, because you will become addicted to something!

  11. Danny B says

    The pro pot smoking folks really give me a laugh. The true believers like Tony are just convinced it’s the greatest drug in the world, and could probably cure cancer if the right people just tried. But then of course, the government and drug companies wouldn’t want that, right Tony?

    I’m sure you’re a big fan of those 911 conspiracy videos too.

    This medicinal bull that so many people throw around is laughable. Yes, it might help some people with glaucoma, or a cancer patient who is very sick to eat a little better, but that is the end of the line with the “medicinal” talk. I have no problem with it being used medicinally, as there is some validity to those uses. However, the pro pot crowd desperately want all of us to believe it’s beneficial in a million other ways, as they walk around in their hemp clothing everyday.

    Tony, I did not try pot “one time”, and then have anxiety from it. Although I’ve certainly seen that happen to people. I smoked pot hardcore for a solid year. During that time my anxiety grew out of control, and once I stopped it was still out of control because of the effects it had on my brain. However, I continued to want to believe, LIKE YOU DO NOW, that it wasn’t completely to blame for my anxiety, so I would try it again here and there, and each time it caused the same results. Anxiety and paranoia.

    Just keep on smoking whatever you want. I’m not suggesting for one moment I really care that you do it in your own home. I just can’t stand the ridiculous claims that are made about how it’s not really that bad for anyone, and it’s all this big cover up to hide the real truth from us all. Please. I grew up a long time ago, and dropped all that nonsense. Please stop with the “eye opening” statements. I know all about them, but I’m not going to be talked into how brilliant marijuana is by some guy who’s browsing an anxiety site, while claiming his pot addiction has nothing to do with it.

  12. Tony_42 says

    Danny,

    Wow! You are the king of assumptions.

    Do not use drugs please Danny.

    Cannabis is not for you I get it! LOL. But let’s not let the criminals and the prison guard unions have their way by continuing prohibition and putting addicts and users in jail. Ruining lives while ignoring the drug problems. Let’s help people like yourself who have problems with drugs.

    I’m glad that you are able to understand that governments are not to be trusted without using cannabis. I am also glad that you recognize a few of the many medical benefits of cannabis.

    My argument here is not that cannabis is good and you should use it. It is that prohibition is bad and we should end it to reduce harms to society.

    Am I to understand that you believe the official version of 9/11. LOL! Next will you say that the war in Iraq was for freedom and democracy. LOL! As I said before most people are not aware of what is really going on, we are not in the loop.

  13. Jenn says

    I’m with Tony on this one! People always want what they can’t have…prohibition is not the key to “helping” people overcome the negative effects of smoking pot (or anything else for that matter). I know many people, young and old, that smoke pot with no problems whatsoever. It has never led to harder drugs or anxiety for those people. It all comes down to the fact that no one choice is ever good for the whole group. Abortion, drugs, 9/11 conspiracies…there are always two sides to every story and we should all have the freedom to believe and practice how we choose!

  14. Bill says

    I’m in college, I have general anxiety/social anxiety and I actively smoke weed. In regards to triggering panic attacks, I have never gotten anything of the sort by smoking. What I have gotten very occasionally are increased bouts of anxiety when high (but not panic attacks), because it gets hard to take your mind off things that are worrying you. But overall, I would say that weed has calmed me down; I used to get panic attacks in high school and I was depressed for a while too, but I can say that I haven’t had those symptoms in a long time. Now whether this is a result of weed or not I can’t say for sure, but it’s not like things have gotten worse for me.

    In regards to changing belief systems, I think it is true to a degree. Depending on the type of person you are, weed can make you question the values you have, and by getting rid of certain values I’ve found that my anxiety has gone down considerably.

    With that said, I would not be surprised if people with anxiety have had bad experiences with weed, and I think it’s definitely a personal matter.

  15. Tony_42 says

    I agree Bill, It is a personal matter. I would like to live in a society where people have the liberty we are supposed to and where we help those that need it. Somewhere we took a wrong turn.

  16. Andy says

    Persoanlly, although i am not an advocate of drug use in any way, I think that must substances will be decriminalised at some point. Much of the crime associated with drugs comes from dealers etc. However, that is not to suggest that legalisation some kind of magic answer to society’s ills. Far from it and I think you are bing naive if you think so.

    Decriminalisation in Amsterdam has not exactly been a success – take it from me I have been there. The place has been seedy and unpleasant. A place where drug addled sag parties roam the streets at all hours and cause trouble. Also, closer to home in Lambeth, London, there was an experiment where cannabis use was tolerated so that teh polcie could focus on more serious crime. The result? A disatser. People where openly smokeing weed on teh high street and dealers flooded into the area. This also brought harder, nastier drugs into the area – which again does suggest that cannabis is a gateway drug.

    The truth is cannabis IS the starting point for most drug users. I’m not saying all, or even most pot smokers end up on smack but have you ever heard a heroine addict say: ‘I went staright onto the hard stuff?’ I doesn’t happen.

    For your sakes I am rather glad that you feel that weed has not contributed to your anxiety. However, the mounting evidence – real, scientific evidence – strongly suggests otherwise. Of course it is up to you what you do with your life and your body. I would never suggest that. But liek you said, it is about education. Before you start pouring chemicals into your body you must be aware of teh negatives as well as the positives.

    As an aside I’m not sure if I subscribe to this pseudo-psychology that implies that weed opens up the mind to new ideas. I always rememebr watching that Beatles anthology when Ringo said it’s a myth that they recorded much of their word off their faces. He said whenever they tried to it always came out rubbish. I tend to agree.

  17. kellyann says

    Isn’t it interesting how smoking pot sends one person into a spiraling panic oblivion and calms the nerves of the next. I happen to be of the former individuals but have close friends that use the stuff like a benzo! They reach for it the way I run screaming from the stuff! Someone should really do a study- it must be something inherent in the individual, but is it their nature or nurture or what that is determining such polar opposite effects? I have to say the concept of medical marijuana makes me nervous- I think of the individual trying to ease the effects of chemo, uses pot for the first time, and experiences a panic attack, which then develops into a full-blown anxiety disorder! How terribly sad…

  18. Tony_42 says

    I would prefer cannabis to chemo. I have seen chemo first hand. Not pretty.

    Cannabis is bad for some the same way alcohol and cheeseburgers are for others. Prohibiting these substances doesn’t help anybody. My children are less safe because of it. They have easier access to cannabis than alcohol or tobacco because thankfully those are regulated. A small percentage of cannabis users have problems. How does prohibition help them? The others will just continue to use it safely and responsibly in accordance with the freedom and liberty we have as human beings of this earth.

  19. Tony_42 says

    @ Andy

    “Decriminalisation in Amsterdam has not exactly been a success”

    That is not true people with drug problems (the minority by far) are treated with respect and dignity not jailed. When I visited Amsterdam there was NO violence evident. Portugal has also decriminalized with very good results. Prohibition doesn’t stop or even slow drug use. Fact.

    “which again does suggest that cannabis is a gateway drug.”

    “The truth is cannabis IS the starting point for most drug users.”

    The “gateway theory” has been proven to be bunk. That’s like saying milk is the gateway to alcoholism. The reason harder drugs are available is because the black market dealer often sells them as well as cannabis. The two main groups that don’t want legalization are the police/prison unions and the criminals themselves because they would lose a ton of money.

    “Before you start pouring chemicals into your body you must be aware of teh negatives as well as the positives. ”

    Cannabis is a natural plant. Look at the side effects of any of your pharma “meds” and compare.

    “pseudo-psychology”

    LOL! It is undeniable that cannabis changes the users perceptions and does allow the mind to go in different directions. Everybody knows that.

    I agree that cannabis can be dangerous to a small minority but to make it illegal because of that is stupid, otherwise half the stuff on my home would be illegal because of “potential harm”.

    It seems like you are out to demonize cannabis because of your bad experience, just like the DEA.

  20. Andy says

    Nobody is demonising cannabis, merely pointing out the risks in using it. I think you have a 60s, free love attitude towards it to be honest that is out dated. I can tell you that in England very few weed users are jailed or even prosecuted. I don’t think that criminalisation works paticuary but I think you forget that te Victorians abused many substances. Hence the fact that they are all illegal now! Cocaine, opium and cannabis were widely used in the UK for hundreds of years and it was eventually decided they were not helpful for society. Which they aren’t. Drug use is rarely a positive thing.

    I think your comparison to milk is hilarious. There is no correlation at all. But you are missing the thrust of my argument entirely. The whole point is that cannabis use is strongly linked with psychological problems. Bona-fide scientific studies support this. Not annecdotal stories. My aim is not to tell anyone what to do. You take what you want. I want to lay out the facts as I see them and you can make your own mind up.

    And there is a major difference between medicinal drugs and illegal ones. They are specifically designed and tested for a particular purpse. And likewise, there are many natural substances that are toxic. Nightshade, poison Ivy…would you take those because they grow wild? A tired and out of date idea.

  21. Tony_42 says

    Hence the fact that they are all illegal now! “Cocaine, opium and cannabis were widely used in the UK for hundreds of years and it was eventually decided they were not helpful for society. Which they aren’t.”

    Nope, drugs were criminalized in this century not in “Victorian times”. Google “Harry Anslinger” and see why cannabis was criminalized.

    I’m glad you agree with me on prohibition. Any thinking person can see that it is a failure.

    Big pharma has a “lock” on our medical system right now but that is changing, thankfully.

  22. Tony_42 says

    Schizophrenia link to cannabis denied
    “Thursday, August 27, 2009, 09:20

    A STUDY by North Staffordshire academics has rejected a link between smoking cannabis and an increase in mental illness.

    The research found there were no rises in cases of schizophrenia or psychoses diagnosed in the UK over nine years, during which the use of the drug had grown substantially.”

    There are more studies touting the benefits of cannabis than those touting negative effects. You know this. It should be legal and researched but it is suppressed. I wonder why?

  23. Andy says

    You misunderstand me. The social problems from the Victorian times lead to criminalisation. It is well known in this country.

    As for the links with heavy drug use and mental illness my research suggests there is a strong link, particuarly with cannabis. In teh 90s there was a strong call for cannabis to be decriminalised. It was eventually downgraded to class c yet it has been put back to class b. This is in light of the evidence that suggests it is a contributory factor in mnetla illness.

    However, there are suggeststions that there are chemical components in cannabis that would be beneficial. This does not mean that the doctor will be prescribing a joint any time soon. It means they’ll be taking that chemical and making a pill.

    I’m not sure why you have this idea that governments are trying to suppress cannabis becasue it’ll inspire some kind of revolution. Even now in England it’s a low priority for police and I seriously doubt you would be taken to court of smoking a bit of pot. Hardly the efforts of a police state trying to keep nation under lock down.

  24. Tony_42 says

    Even now in England it’s a low priority for police and “I seriously doubt you would be taken to court of smoking a bit of pot. Hardly the efforts of a police state trying to keep nation under lock down.”

    —————————

    That’s patently untrue. England has ramped up it’s “war on pot”. If you were to set up a news alert for “cannabis” you would see how much police resources are wasted. Many are ending up in jail, usually growers or grow workers. The Lancing cafe closure is an example of extreme waste of police resources. “Cannabis Granny” a 69 year old woman using small amounts of cannabis in her food another. They came knocking and arrested her twice. One person had 7 plants in a shed, was away on holiday so they started a manhunt. There are many other examples. The amount of police resources used in England chasing small time cannabis users and growers is astounding. Organized crime is thriving of course. So many people use cannabis it is part of society. There are thousands of CCTV cameras in England. The news articles on cannabis are mostly one sided propaganda pieces, though I did read an article recently about how a British researcher was able to shrink cancer cells in the lab. These types of studies are popping up all over the world as people shake off the “reefer madness” crowd and are able to finally study it without restriction. Alcohol is the bigger social problem in England. I would like to see a study on the link between alcohol and mental illness :) Nah, never mind, we already know how destructive alcohol is.

    Just Google Lancing cafe and cannabis granny, that story is funny and she is a cool lady. Prohibition is bad. It does more harm than good.

  25. Andy says

    Lol, I do live in England and London to be precise. I have several friends who are policemen, I know exactly how cannabis use is viewed by the police! You have selected some headline grabbing stories that do not reflect the reality. You are much more likely to recieve a caution if you are caught in possession of cannabis. However, this is beside the point. Drugs are out of control in the West, I agree that prohibition is not working. That does not mean they are somehow good for you, which you seem to be implying. Alcohol is legal, tobacco is legal…neither are good for you.

    This will be my last word on the matter and I just want to clarify my position. If you are an anxiety sufferer it si advisable that you desist in using cannabis (how about trying it for a couple for months Tony, see how it works out. I would be interested to hear the results). Whether you believe that it causes long term mental illness it cannot be argued that it can cause short term paranoi and anxiety in users. Surely any substance that does this should be avoided for those of us who suffer from panic. An arguable no brainer.

    Drug use and its social problems can be argued until the cows come home. No one has a suitable answer yet – if they did we’d all be doing it. Personally I think the reliance on drugs hints at somethign much deeper and fundamentally wrong with Western society. Whatever drug you use (drink, smokes, weed, LSD, whatever!) you are looking for escape from reality. An arficfical way to enjoy yourself/relax/have more confidence/seek new experiences. This is the real point. What is missing from our lives that we feel teh need to suppliment our daily expereince with potentially harmful substances…and interesting one. And one that I’m not going to reply to!

    It has been amazing to see such a great response to this post but I think it is time to move on.

  26. Tony_42 says

    I have gone for years without cannabis use and my use is sporadic. It is non addictive physically. I disagree with your assessment of the British policing of cannabis. You are only looking at the London situation. I have been reading at least 7 or 8 stories daily about UK busts, always low level people. There is an active propaganda campaign by “home office” and I notice you are not up to speed on the truth about cannabis in many areas. People (particularly youth) know the truth and to twist it or tell “half truths” is counter productive to reducing the use and dealing with the small minority who have problems with drugs.
    You are quite willing to judge others so I will say that if you use pharma concoctions, drink coffee, eat any junk food, drink alcohol, use tobacco, then you are being hypocritical. And remember dissent and civil disobedience to bad law are the highest compliments to democracy. It cannot exist without them. Live and let live man, you will be happier and more peaceful. I would like cannabis to be studied for it’s medicinal benefit. It cures cancer. Hmmmm, I wonder why it is illegal? Wait, excuse me, I feel a cold coming on, I have to go take some legal oxycodone (an ingredient in crystal meth)and I’m feeling depressed so I have to get my valium. There was a new disease created the other day call “tired syndrome” I have to take my pill for that. LOL!

  27. D W says

    I agree with the post. I smoked tons of weed as a teen and young adult. Come to find out it isn’t as harmless on the brain as once thought. My sister had her fist Panic Atack while high at work. It triggered a life long battle with anxiety, agoraphobia, and other anxiety issues.

    I also suffer with anxiety, which, I do feel is somewhat related to weed smoking.

    The bottom line is, it is here for a reason. Yes God put it here. Why? It is a pain reliever, as well as other medicinal values. If it work for someone to escape while terminally ill, then smoke it with God’s blessing. But for recreational use in the young brain, it is harmful.

  28. Mary J says

    Hello, just here to share my story.

    I am in 2nd year university and i smoke pot on a daily basis (several times a day). I have experienced waves of severe anxiety since before high school. At this point, i’ve become such a regular smoker that the ‘newbie’ effects of weed no longer affect me. I no longer experience paranoia and if i do, I can easily talk myself out of it in a matter of minutes because I understand that I’m just high and it’s all in my head. On the other hand, when I am sober, I find it almost impossible to talk myself out an anxiety attack. I realize that its all mental and “everything is going to be alright” but the effects of anxiety (sweating, shivering, light-headedness, dizziness, faint, loss of appetite, etc) persist. I know smoking pot is illegal and unhealthy but for me, being able to deal with my anxiety is worth the risk.

    Is there anyone else who is in the same boat as me?

  29. Tony_42 says

    @ DW. Science has shown that cannabis (and most drugs including alcohol) can have an adverse effect on the developing human brain. I agree that youth should not use large amounts of ANY drug.

    @ Jane. I still get a little “paranoid” when I get really high (rarely) but it disappears as I come down a little. I also prefer ingesting cannabis orally in baking or eating pure resin drops as this is the best potential to reap medical benefits.

  30. Elw says

    Yeah, I don’t think weed and anxiety are a good combo. I used to smoke all the time. And I never had any problems. And then, suddenly, one day I was really high and just laughing and the next minute I was positive I was going to die. Like, right that second. I had a full-blown panic attack and it was possibly the scariest one I had ever had. It’s bad enough to get an attack, but I think being disoriented and generally high makes it a lot worse. Also, I’ve talked to a lot of people and it seems like cannabis has this effect on quite a few people. I guess we’re just lucky, lol.

  31. Lisa says

    Hmmm…nope, actually, cannabis is the only thing that has helped my anxiety and social phobia, along with the IBS that I have. I react very badly to SSRIs (extreme nausea) and Xanax also makes me extremely ill. Perhaps it made your anxiety worse, but it has helped me immensely. The main thing that it helps me with is calming my stomach and IBS, which are related to my nervousness. I don’t use it to get “high.” I just have enough to calm my stomach and nerves.

  32. DG says

    I just stumbled across this after 4 months of dealing with panic and anxiety. One night in November, after YEARS of heavy pot smoking, I had my first panic attack and it’s been horrible since. I don’t know if pot unlocked these issues, since i’ve been anxious since I was a kid, but it’s definitely made it harder for me to control my thoughts, which can spiral out of control now. I’ve had about 5 full blown panic attacks since that night and have been dealing with DAILY anxiety (higher than normal). i strongly suggest not smoking pot if you have major anxiety issues. I do miss the release pot gave me, but it’s not worth it for me to possibly go back to that horrible place again.

  33. Tony_42 says

    DG, do you use any other substances like alcohol? Are you generally fit and active? Could a combination of things be causing your panic attacks?

  34. DG says

    Interesting that you ask that Tony. I actually just trained for my first marathon and had just stopped running for the first time when this all happened.

  35. Gwenno says

    I found this forum just surfing the internet about cannabis and anxiety. Pot has 2 distinct strains, sativa and indica. It makes a big difference in your “high” Sativa will give you a psychological high, with indica giving you more of a couch lock high. Quite different results. My son who suffers from anxiety, smokes a mostly indica strain and it totally soothes and relaxes him. Marijuana has many different properties according to the strain. Educate yourselves and it will make a big difference in your experiences.

  36. Tony_42 says

    I agree Gwenno.

    @ DG

    Baffling! Usually high levels of exercise and fitness decrease anxiety levels. I hope you can find a non pharma solution to your anxiety. Did the anxiety stop after the cannabis was out of your system?

  37. Margot says

    I think it is really interesting that so many of you had your anxiety “unleashed” by cannabis. I smoked it in high school with no issues, a little paranoia, but no real anxiety. I always have blamed a combo of Wellbutrin (an anti-smoking drug), nicotine gum, and caffeine pills which I took all at once in order to get some work done (I was in my mid-20′s). This caused my first anxiety attack and I continue to have them now 5 years later after completely giving up caffeine, niccotine, and all other medication. I think we (anxiety sufferers) are all programmed to start getting anxiety in our later lives, and some stressful event will inevitably set it off- be that cannabis, large doses of caffeine, or a stressful life event. I don’t care if people blame cannabis or not, but I firmly believe if not the cannabis, something else would have set it off in you. A new baby. Or a mean boss. Or a triple espresso.

  38. says

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  39. ThinkingAboutThis says

    Having been married to someone with serious substance issues and major anxiety I would agree that there are two types of people the 95% for whom cannabis is relaxing, easy to titrate, a great muscle relaxant, great for nausea, inspiring and makes tasks easier and nature and music more beautiful etc. and the other 5% for whom especially heavy regular use causes greater anxiety. My former partner would get more anxious and more agitated and definitely thought he was going to have something really bad happen (aka the death, impending doom thing) but so many others I know have not had this problem and find it relaxing. Just my thoughts on the topic…

  40. Gwenno says

    There are clearly documented two strains, sativa and indica that give marked different results. There is now emerging high CBD cannabis see projectCBD.org. Lots of information here. Cannabis with high CBD percentages reduces the stoney effects of THC and gives you the benefits, antianxiety and pain reduction.

  41. Jellyfish says

    Hey Paul, great and honest post. Too bad the comment thread got hijacked by Tony the troll. Anyhow, in high school I smoked weed, and it definitely caused me a tremendous amount of anxiety and terror. Eventually I wisened up and quit, which my body thanked me for. For some, smoking weed is fun. For others, it is terror. What pisses me off is that when I quit, my friends – much like Tony the troll – just couldn’t understand why on earth I didn’t want to smoke weed. “it comes from the earth… It’s medicinal..” and all that crap. The bottom line is that it is a powerful psychoactive drug. If you enjoy it, that’s great, but don’t try to force your opinions ok those of us who choose not to smoke it. You are no better than the government in that respect. Thanks again Paul for broaching this topic.

  42. Tony_42 says

    @Jellyfish troll :)

    I’ll bite, LOL!

    How does the prohibition of marijuana, a widely used, non toxic, non carcinogenic proven medicine make society safer or help those who have problems with it?

    Answer – It doesn’t.

    PS – I’ll give you the same advice as I did Andy. Don’t consume cannabis. It’s not for you. I will continue to use it. It is a positive in my life. Great medicine.

  43. Jellyfish says

    I don’t need your advice you dumbass troll. You missed my point entirely, which is not surprising. I don’t care if people smoke weed. But what people like you can’t comprehend is that weed is a powerful drug and it can have horrible effects for a part of the population. Ignorant fools like you are basically bullies, putting your garbage ass opinions on a thread like this. Of course weed should be legal. Duhh. That’s not my point. My point is that I’m sick and tired of people with closed minds like you forcing your tired and false opinions on other people. Which is exactly what you are doing here. By the way, in case you are confused, you are the troll with nothing to add to this thread.

  44. Tony_42 says

    Name calling? Really? Any evidence to add to the discussion? No? Thought not :)

    Are you taking pharmaceuticals? You have anger issues. LOL!

  45. Tony_42 says

    To everybody except jellyfish. Ignore jelly belly.

    Cannabis is very effective medicine that when used properly can help with many ailments including cancer. Cannabis can cause anxiety but in most it subsides in a short time. Also, no one has ever overdosed from cannabis use, it is impossible. Cannabis is non toxic.

    Have a good day everybody :)

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