Marijuana and Anxiety

Discussion in 'Medicinal Marijuana' started by oldgeezers940, May 25, 2009.

  1. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    I've heard a lot about how marijuana can cause anxiety and panic attacks in long term users. For the longest time I shrugged it off as people just getting paranoid about getting caught. Recently I have experience some anxiety while smoking. While it surely wasn't a fun experience, it got me thinking, and I came up with this idea and wanted to see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

    This past month or so I've been having issues with my girlfriend of 3 years. I'd been very stressed out and often felt very uneasy when thinking about how this all might end. So one night I was sitting around and smoked a little. Right away I felt VERY uneasy and anxious. The entire night was miserable and getting to sleep was very difficult. I was scared, I thought people were going to come in my house, I heard this train go by and it made me think I was going insane. overall, bad night.

    About a week later I smoked again. I was experiencing the same stressors in life, maybe even more intensely. But this time instead of trying to flee the anxiety I confronted it. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out WHY I was feeling like this. Eventually I was able to work things out in my head and came to peace with myself. It was as if the marijuana made my underlying anxiety more obvious and allowed me to aggressively work on it. after spending time in deep conversation with myself the rest of the experience was wonderful. actually, life in general was wonderful after I worked out some of those issues... Instead of spending evenings feeling sorry for myself, I was now able to confidently tell myself that everything will be ok and that feeling sorry for myself wasn't going to help anything.

    So could it be possible that when people are younger they always enjoy marijuana because of the minimal amounts of stressors they have, but as they age and gain more stressors the marijuana experience becomes more uncomfortable because the underlying anxiety in their mind is brought to the surface and they don't know what to do about it (seeing as they thought the point of getting high was to escape).

    I've found that marijuana can be one of the most useful tools for dealing with anxiety seeing as it forces me to work out issues that are buried deep within my mind simply to be comfortable. Similarly, I can see how a person who is trying to use marijuana to escape there stress and anxiety might be pulled deeper into anxiety simply because they are made so much more aware of their anxiety and don't choose to work on it while they have the oppurtunity.


    I think if you have a negative experience with marijuana it shows that their is something you need to fix. Not only does it show you, but i think it also gives you the tools to fix it.


    any thoughts?
    2 people like this.
  2. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    To make this thread more about medical marijuana, what are your thoughts about using marijuana during talk therapy. What if their were therapist that used marijuana during therapy sessions and worked with their patient to work through their issues.

    I personally feel that a lot of people could benefit from a qualified marijuana therapist. Surprisingly I can't find any info of any such therapy exisiting.
  3. KMKbuzz4-2-0

    KMKbuzz4-2-0 Sr. Member

    Well you probably can't find info of that kind of therapy because I think a lot of people would attack this kind of therapy(even in the psychiatric community) and for the fact that people may not want to advertise or talk about the fact that they encourage and engage in illegal behavior while they're supposed to be providing an important sevice to the public. Lots of people are very sketchy about taking serious advice about their health(mental or physical) from somebody who is totally stoned. I'm not saying I'm against it because cannabis is very beneficial to me with my own depression and anxiety, I'm just saying that I think this is something that a lot of people would have a big problem with and thats probably why there isn't a whole to research about it.
  4. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    I'm not saying the therapist should smoke, just the patient. But with the acceptance of marijuana as a medicine you'd think it would also begin to be accepted as a tool. Unless the way I described using it to help with anxiety is uncommon.

    Anyone else use marijuana as a tool for working out their anxiety? (as opposed to using it as a medicine that you take and all of a sudden you feel better)
    2 people like this.
  5. KMKbuzz4-2-0

    KMKbuzz4-2-0 Sr. Member

    Cool. :)

    Wait a minute.... :shrug:

    Nah, seriously though like I said I believe there is a lot of untapped potential here and there probably are some therapists that do toke up but for the saftey of their job they probably don't advertise it.

    One thing I reaaaally like is the way you clearly pointed out that there is a difference between those who smoke and treat it like taking a Xanax or Valium and just as a way to distance yourself or escape your problems, and those people who smoke and then try to work through their problem using the cannabis only as something that may make it easier or make things apparent that were previously hidden. The former isn't near as helpful and can hinder your efforts because it can instill the whole idea of "why solve my problems when I can forget them?"

    Perhaps a role of a marijuana therapist or marijuana therapy in general could be as simple as making sure the patient is using the cannabis experience to better their situation and possible solve something rather than just another was to avoid issues.
  6. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    Wether or not the therapist smokes or not is his/her business. When I was talking about a therapist using it during therapy I was referring to the therapist letting the "patient" smoke before or during the therapy session.

    I'd even venture to say that treating marijuana as a drug like Xanax, or any other drug used to "treat" anxiety or depression, is actually why some people report marijuana making their symptoms worse. They expect marijuana to cover their anxiety instead of make them think about it.

    There doesn't seem to be any physical reason why marijuana use should increase anxiety so one would assume it must be a psychological reason. Are there any other theories out there as to why some peoples symptoms increase with marijuana use?
  7. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    In my rather long experience (41 years) with marijuana, I've found the opposite to be true. It's beginners and "junior smokers" (> 3 years) who have anxiety problems and panic attacks. Long-term users (me and my friends) never have such problems.

    Younger users don't have fewer stressors, they just have different ones. Adolescence can be one of the most stressful times of a person's life, with raw emotions and crazy hormone levels flying around. Older users know themselves better and are wise enough not to get caught up in the runaway thought chains that produce anxiety and panic attacks.
  8. Guru

    Guru Sr. Member

    Man, if I'm upset for whatever reason I often feel like just skinning up a joint and trying to forget about it, but some of the time I just end up even more obsessed by it and consequently, more upset. Especially when I smoke and I'm guilty about something, or I've let myself down in some way, it tends to makes me really anxious and is not enjoyable atall.

    Although I frequently use cannabis to help me come to terms with things that Im confused/unsure about. I like to just sit and contemplate, I often find it extremely helpful in putting things into perspective.

    I don't think weed is a drug that's going to make everyone who is upset happy, it's more of a mood-enhancer, you feel good then you smoke, you feel great and vice versa. It's not like other 'Euphoric' Off-Topics that will make you feel instantly happy.
  9. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    Agreed, however I'd think worrying about mortgage/car/credit card payments, getting laid off, and providing for a family would cause more stress and anxiety than teenage problems. Don't get me wrong, those years are certainly stressful, but at that age the thought of "how will I even manage to get by" isn't there.
  10. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    From your experience, what do you think the source of the "beginners" panic attacks and anxiety problems while smoking seems to be? From my experience, people who have panic attacks tend to have underlying problems that they need to deal with. If marijuana use is leading you into a panic attack, I think it's reasonable to say that the plant is showing you that there is something you need to work on.

    And for you and your friends who are long term users, how do you think marijuana has helped relieved some of the anxiety you might have? Do you find that, for you, marijuana causes you to escape your anxiety and stress or does it allow you to actively work on the things causing the problems by allowing you insights into yourself?
  11. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    For psychological states, the set of the person experiencing them is as important as the setting in which they take place. When I was an adolescent, everything was a crisis. After maturing, I've ridden through enough crises to know that I don't need to get upset. In fact, remaining calm and cool is a much more effective way to deal with crises than to get upset. I have more of a sense of humor about my own and others' behavior.

    Fear. Fear of getting caught. Fear of dying. Fear of strange physical sensations. Fear of strange thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Fear of losing friends and losing the respect of others.

    That's an interesting hypothesis but it doesn't come to the level of "reasonable to say". If the first statement is true, then it would be likely that the second would be true as well. I don't agree with your first statement. The two most common causes of panic attacks seem to be fear of getting caught with weed by police, parents, or school officials and fear of dying brought on by the fast heart rate caused by THC. Neither of those are "underlying problems". They're simply exaggerations of reasonable fears brought on by marijuana's ability to make you more suggestible.

    It makes anxiety more tolerable, while I'm high, but I wouldn't say that it relieves it. Because marijuana helps me to focus on other things, I don't dwell on the negatives as much.

    The former. Marijuana "insights" seem pretty feeble compared to the insights of 40 years of meditation.
  12. oldgeezers940

    oldgeezers940 New Member

    That makes sense. I've experienced the panic of being caught by police. In that scenario I knew what was causing my distress and surely didn't consider it an instance of marijuana showing me an "underlying problem".

    In other scenarios I have experienced anxiety without any of the causes you listed. In these situations I realized that my anxiety was being caused simply by my thought process. I realized that over thinking and negative thinking were causing me to be anxious. Marijuana just made me realize that my current attitude was self destructive.

    So, while marijuana induced anxiety or panic may not ALWAYS be an indicator that changes need to be made, but would you agree that marijuana can point out things, such as negative or over analytical attitudes, by making one feel uncomfortable or anxious?
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  13. Plainsman1963

    Plainsman1963 New Member

    A sagely ole woman who was one of the people who indoctrinated me into marijuana blazing told me that: the marijuana high reveals yourself to yourself. I was at first puzzled over this adage, but since I've been a mature user I understand what she meant. For one, marijuana tends to make you "introspective". Large issues in Life such as coping with unemployment, marital problems/divorce, terminal or chronic illness, house foreclosure, and the sort have a tremendous psychological and physical impact on our quality of Life. Smoking marijuana during this period of duress and being stoned can only make the situation worse. There is no real insight necessary to cope with these very "pragmatic problems", no need to be instropective about one's terrible stae b/c in veritruth the only thing that will help to "solve" the problems is to earnestly work on the problems with your sober mindstate. Doing this will require huge amounts of Energy, Focus, and Resolve, and self-confidence. A panic attack could very likey occur as a result of sensing that you are running out of time b/c youv'e spent the time getting stoned instead of earnestly 'taking the bull by the horns" and tryin to solve the problem. IMO do Not get stoned again until you have Honestly solved some of those problems.
    2 people like this.
  14. MrProtein

    MrProtein Active Member

    I have worked on issues while high before....Its a good experience. I never ever have panick attacks about things going on in my life....occasionally, and I mean once in a blue blue blue moon, I will think my heart is beating to fast.

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