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How To Combat Cannabis-Caused Anxiety

Cannabis is usually used to treat anxiety. However, it can cause exactly the same effect in some people. What does a cannabis anxiety feel like? And how do you deal with the symptoms?

Cannabis is one of the most powerful alternative medications on the planet. Many turn to it for relief for a range of physical and mental symptoms – including anxiety. Unfortunately, many people sometimes experience the exact opposite. Cannabis can cause panic and anxiety attacks in some individuals.

There are a couple of things you can do about this phenomenon. Other than just stop ingesting cannabis of course. The first most important thing is to realize what is happening to you. Recognition of the symptoms is the first step; dealing them is the next. Research is also a very important tool. There are some strains that have been bred to combat these kinds of feelings.

Best of all? There is also a good source of relief in another cannabinoid. Keep reading to find out which one.

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.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A CANNABIS CAUSED PANIC ATTACK

The first problem, of course, is that these feelings are hard to pinpoint. This can also cause anxiety too. On top of that, many people turn to cannabis for relief of such symptoms – even if they do not recognize it. Many people who describe themselves as “recreational users” are actually people self-medicating, trying to relieve the tension of the day and the stress and anxiety that go with it.

If however, you begin to feel worse rather than better after lighting up, that is one sign.

Another sign is the desire to check outside the window for the cops. Unless you have recently robbed a bank, this “reality” you might be worried about is not about to happen.

You have to be observant of yourself in such situations, which is also never easy.

However, if you feel like this condition is happening to you after you have toked up, don’t panic. In fact, that is the worst thing you can do. You can bring yourself down fairly quickly, and after it is over, don’t worry. You can always go shopping for another strain that does not tend to cause these kinds of effects.

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 (although driving is a bad idea). 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.

SWITCH YOUR CANNABINOIDS

Are you sweating bullets every time you take a toke of THC? If so, it is time to have a hard discussion with yourself. You might be one of those people for whom cannabis is not such a great thing. It is not the end of the world.

However before you come to this conclusion, there are other alternatives.

The first is to do your research – if you can – on what kinds of cannabis is bred specifically for “low anxiety” responses. Look for user guides. In general, the more “fruity” the aura of the cannabis, the less anxiety it will cause. Why? The same chemicals in citrus fruit are found in the plant.

Cannabis with lower THC also seems to cause fewer anxiety attacks in users. CBD, for example, does not cause panic attacks at all. If it is the psychoactive ingredient that causes you to have heebie jeebies, you may have to do without it.

CBD AS THE GO-TO PANIC ATTACK RELIEVER

CBD is in fact also a cannabinoid in its own right. Further, people who have panic attacks caused by THC may find this is their first and best line of defense. CBD occurs naturally in cannabis plants. It can, just like THC, be bred into higher percentages in strains. Some cannabis, in fact, has only trace elements of THC.

CBD also has a direct impact on how THC acts in the bloodstream. It is still not known exactly how this happens. However, one of the noted impacts already of CBD? It helps counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.

If you have had such reactions in the past, now is the time to take control. And even better news? This does not necessarily have to be as drastic as giving up on all THC. Do some strain research. Many high THC strains are also bred for high CBD. This might do the trick alone. A few drops of CBD oil under the tongue before you toke might be just the ticket.

While cannabis is frequently used to treat anxiety, it can also cause it. Here is how to recognize, treat, and avoid the symptoms.

3 Reasons Why I Can’t Smoke Weed Anymore

1. Panic Attacks

How this started happening, I do not know, but it sucks. Kicking back around the L-couch turned into a heart-pounding debate on whether or not I was going to die. The feeling usually passed after thirty minutes or so, but it still wasn’t worth it. Everyone else seemed fine; they were talking, laughing, and meanwhile I’d just drink cups of water, try to normalize my body language, and wait for the panic phase to pass. I tried to be unfazed but it never worked. I crumbled, and the little bit of game I did have faded.

2. Everything Felt Fake

Everyone responds differently, yet for some reason smoking would send me into another world completely. I know this is usually a welcomed side effect, but as someone who’s already introverted it pulled me further into my head and I’d walk around like an alien or third-person narrator or overly analytical observational comedian whose only audience was myself, struggling to engage in ordinary human interaction and staring at text messages for twenty minutes thinking of the right way to respond. Even TV shows I normally watched for laughs were ruined; I’d laugh more at their attempts at humor and question why I ever thought they were funny.

This was all fine while I was in high school with a car full of people so baked we’d only get halfway through our Taco Bell order before we’d give up and drive off out of sheer embarrassment, but as an adult I can’t indulge in these sharp reality shifts. It’s too dangerous. I need to keep my head down, commit to something without question, and address my decisions and emotions when I’m 45. I can’t keep shifting into third-person and staying “stuck” like some whiny millennial consumed by feckless ennui until I’m so old I have to start calling my “quarter-life crisis” a “mid-life crisis” while still trying to answer the undying question of “What do I want to do with my life?” It’s not healthy, and it’s certainly not American.

3. Hyper Self-Consciousness

I hated being in high in public because I assumed everyone knew, which again, is rather common, but it was worse for me because my eyes barely open as it is and almost shut completely when I’m high.

Every interaction was bent toward awkwardness. I’d walk past a mom with her child and feel a sinking feeling of shame, like I was setting a terrible example for her children in the two seconds we passed each other. The worst was being high at Disneyland with my friends, walking around with nearly constant self-conscious anxiety when this tuxedo-clad, mustachioed, top-hat-wielding magician outside the “Magic Shoppe” stopped me.

“Hey, hold on there!” he fanned out some cards and offered them to me. “Pick a card for me.”

The request released a flood of adrenaline, priming my “fight or flight” instincts with the solution: Run away. My friends stood in a row behind me as a respectable family with a double stroller pulled alongside to watch.

“What?” I knew what he said I just needed time to think of a reasonable way to say “No” to this.

“Pick a card, any card…please.” His smile coupled with a stern insistence. God dammit. I drew a card from the deck and showed everyone behind me, avoiding eye contact with the family and growing crowd of bystanders. I handed the card back and he shuffled the deck.

He drew a card from the middle, “Is this your card?” Wow, I forgot to look at my own card.

“Yeah, that’s it…thanks!” faking surprise. My friends burst out laughing and the little kids behind let out a chorus of “Nooooooo!”

“I mean, no, that’s not my card,” I wiped the sweat from my forehead. The crowd behind me had grown to at least twenty.

The magician took off his top hat and emptied a card into his hand, “Then this must be your card, right?”

“That’s it! Wow, thanks.” I took a half step and my friends laughed even harder, which probably made it clear to the rest of the crowd that we were lit, and again the little kids screamed, “Noooooooo!” This guy had to be fucking with me.

“You don’t remember your own card? It wasn’t that long ago, was it?” he projected to the audience behind me. The magician had turned comedian at my expense. I knew my face was beet-red. My pulse thudded against my eardrums. I had to get out of there.

“No, I don’t remember, I’m sorry, I have to go, I’m really sorry,” I walked straight past him toward the bathroom on the corner of the street, staring at my feet. It was the only way to avoid the crowd who’d joined my friends in laughter.

“Dude! Where are you going!?” Each word trailed off a bit more as the Doppler effect told me they were at least fifty feet away.

“Sir!…SIR! Please stop.”

I could hear the magician’s dress shoes smack the pavement closer and closer. If I focused hard enough on the zigzagging pattern of cobblestone rushing beneath my feet he’d disappear, I thought.

This was a nightmare. He grabbed my shoulder and turned me around. I saw my friends holding each other up and one of them lay flat on his back clutching his stomach in laughter. The crowd hadn’t budged, some of them smiled and pointed at me,

“Sir, the card is on the bottom of your shoe,” he held back his laughter and caught his breath, “relax, man, you did great.”

1. Panic Attacks