Anxiety/Panic triggered by one time cannabis use or...?

Posted , 7 users are following.


not sure where to start, so please bear with me.  A little over a month ago (July 30th) this all started, or at least it all started at the levels my current symptoms are now.   This day was my 50th birthday,  it has nothing to do with anything really other than I had family and friends visiting.  I had no anxiety about my age and do not now - at least not consciously.   The family had gone through the loss of my mother back in May and along with other stressors (trying to buy a home - which isn't going well, daughter moving away, finances, etc...) and I wanted to try something to help me relax.  I must say that I am a recovering alcoholic, but I have been sober for 18 months so I did not want to relax by relapsing.   So me and a few others smoked some MJ,  I had only done this once before in my life and it has been years.  Well subsequently I smoked way too much because I had a full blown panic attack and suffered from Dp/Dr among other things.  My BP shot up to 190/115 and the next day it was still high so I went to the ER.  I suffer from high BP anyway, but nothing like those numbers.  My EKG and blood checked out fine and I was sent home once I stabilized my BP.  Every since this day I have been suffering from severe anxiety attacks and depression, almost daily.  The mornings seem to be the worst, but I also find it difficult to sleep.

I have had a few good days here and there , the last couple of days were okay but this morning it all came back again.  I never suffered from this level of anxiety before and went to see my Dr and was prescribed Xanax which does seem to help calm me down somewhat when I am having a very bad moment, but I am afraid to take more than I have.  It is "take as needed"  and out of the 20 pills given to me I have taken like 5 in the course of 2 weeks.  

I am not sure where to go from here,  I like many others have Googled so many times now that I am scared even more which I know feeds the anxiety.  When I do get a moment of calm I am very depressed so it feels like a no-win situation.   I tried some chamomille tea and it did not help because as I was drinking it I looked up side effects and got scared I might be allergic.

I did have my first appointment with a psychotherapist this past Monday and he advised distraction techniques and meditation.  I have another appointment soon.  he seems genuine and even answers my texts at any time. 

I just want to hear anyone's thoughts on all of this.  Did the weed cause this?  I am tired of looking up all these horror stories and other info from unreliable sources.  In almost every case the worst anxiety was from using MJ was from years of use or cocktails with other drugs, but my mind just cant let go that I am now having anxiety all the time. 

Today was really bad and I am searching for answers or advice.  Should I take my Xanax - I get scared of addiction or side effects.  I have had no side effects thus far when I take it other than a little tired the next day.

My wife has been very supportive and I would be lost without her or I should say more lost than I already am.

Thank you for any suggestions or comments - at this point I know patience is important and I find it diffuclt not to panic. 

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  • Posted

    One thing I would like to mention that I think is important and does give me some relief and hope.  I do have some good days here and there whereas some of the other stories I have seen do not mention this.  I would say this is good news but again the fear keeps knocking.  I am determined to beat this and I have read the thread on here that has similar stories, but I really want to focus on getting better and not the past, although knowledge of it does help to understand it all.
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  • Posted

    Well that suks, I know,it happened to me once,but that was many years ago in my teenage years. I smoked to much and had a panic attack. I believe this happens to us high strung people. I have always been a nervous person from child to adult. I am 57 now,and have lived off and on with anxiety, and panic. Get rid of you phychotherapist,because its a waste of time and money. You are now freaking yourself out. If your feeling gloom and doom,and scared,that is anxiety. Listen, look at it like this. This would have happened eventually because it's a chemical imbalance,and you got freaked out when you smoked,and had a panic attack, and now have major anxiety. The Xanax is a calm you down right now pill. You need a antidepressant,to get you feeling good again. I have been on one for years,thank god,and doing fine, feeling (normal).Your family doc should beable to handle that. Honest you will get over this with a antidepressant. Good luck!!!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the kind words. I do not think I will drop my therapist so soon. At least they are giving me coping skills that help albeit I have only been to one session. I have heard so much good about CBT that I want to give it a chance. Could you tell me what meds you are taking and if you tried others? I want meds to be my last resort, but I fully understand I may wind up needing them.
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    • Posted

      Why  would people rather suffer, then take a med. Baffles me. I would take 10 if thats what it took me to feel great again. Being like that scared the crap out of me, and I never want to feel that way again. In my early 30's I went on Zoloft.,then Celexa. They worked for me but both of them caused me a issue in the bedroom lol. See we still think about Then I went to lexapro,and did fine for a while, and woke up one day with a tension headache that lasted for 8 long and  dreadful years, I almost lost my mind. After 2 neuros,and every test in the book,the second said I had tension headache. They put me on everything from soup to nuts,and nothing worked. I went to my family doc and told her to switch my med. She put me on 60 Cymbalti,and 20 amitriptyline. My god a miracle,it went away.I have been on these for 9 years, and have not had an anxiety, or panic attack. Moral of the story is be vigilant with your meds, and if something doesn't feel right,or you don't feel better, then ask for a change or the doc may subjust something else. I say why suffer if there is medication that can make you well, so silly. Good luck!!!

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    • Posted

      "Why  would people rather suffer, then take a med. "

      I think it is situational.  I am not against meds at all, but I have had some history with side effects from other meds so I am always leery of trying new ones.

      I definitely do not want to suffer and if I knew for sure a certain med would help and not make things worse I would do it in a heartbeat. 

      Did you ever find out was caused your headaches?  I am glad you got through that, but was it related to meds or was a cause diagnosed.

      I do thank you for the advice and the kind words, they really help and if I can't beat this soon I will definitely look at meds as an option.  My state of mind right now would just blame anything at all on the new meds and I am afraid I would just be shopping and never find anything that works (in my mind).

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  • Posted

    first of all congratulations on your recovery from alcohol well done what I will say is the biggest mistake you are making is going on google my love it will have you convinced you have every conceivable going so please do one thing and stop googling symptoms you are all ready anxious this will only heighten it. Chamomile tea is full of natural substances I take two/three cups some days.You my friend, take a look back at your post you will see why you are stressed unable to sell home, daughter moving, financial worries this are all contributors to your stress and anxiety. what you have going is a good wife and when you have support from your close ones i believe it makes so much difference. its good you are having councilling. with any anti depressant they do have side effects for the first few weeks  and it will make it worse before it gets better but that is the "healing" process of the tablets kicking in once they kick in they can work well but you have to go through the rough bit first. I have been on citalopram on and off for years because i have had anxiety and depression for years, unfortunately its part of my make up  but I am having CBT and for the first time in my life I am controlling the anxiety far better rather than it control me. YOU need to be proud of what you have achieved giving up the alcohol I know a couple of people including an uncle of mine who had the same problems but they got through it with support and strength and it was hard and i really admire havent just got through one addiction but two so please tell your self how well you have done that is something to be proud of. I have never gone through it my self but have watched close friends who have. Put that chapter behind you and move on medication can help but I understand why you would be wary of taking them. meditation is wonderful it will take time but it does work.I dont know if you work but if you dont, why dont you find a hobby or interest that maybe you and your wife can do together. walking espescially in the fields woods ect or somewhere quiet is very good again you two can do it together. this forum is excellent for support and help and it is MORE ACCURATE than google because every one is going through/gone through the same symptoms as your self. You will find if you get a symptom or worry someone on here will be able to reassure you. rather than google putting the fear of god into you. I  wish you well and hope it wont be too long before you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. please forgive the long post I just want to try and help. remember there will always be someone on here to talk to 

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    • Posted

      Thank you sue, your message does give me hope and made me smile as I read the part about my wife.  She is off work today and is so worried about me but this has been hard on her too and sometimes i feel like such a burden.  She had a friend call asking her to go out for sushi and she said no (because of my current condition).  I overheard and told her to call back and go relax and have fun.  It scared me a little (others going about their lives while I suffer) , but she definitely deserves it and hell, how can she help me if she loses it?

      I am kidding of course, about her losing it, she is so strong and yes i thought I was too, but sometimes we have to prove it to ourselves when life throws us these curve balls.

      It is difficult to get past the "what ifs" - but I know I can't change the past and dwelling on it is not making thigs better.  Of course that is easy to say and hard to do, but one day at a time I guess.

      We live on the Gulf Coast (Pensacola) and plan on taking a nice walk on the beach tomorrow in the late afternoon when the crowds are gone - I am looking forward to it. 

      Thanks again.

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    • Posted

      oh how lucky you are being by the coast every time i go away i always find a quiet spot on the beach after a walk it is heaven to me sit and watch the waves they are so mesmerising and calming. I do understand you reluctance to take meds i actually love the smell of cannabis but would not touch it as i would be frightened of getting hooked but thats me lol but seriously well done if you can master without meds but if it did get to much please think about it we suffer a lot so anything to help has to be a bonus there are lots of things to try naturally and definately keep up the councilling espescially if it is helping you, i have learned so much from mine in fact shes organised it where i have extra sessions she has been so patient i also think you have to resonate with your councillor to, i did have them in the past but unless you gel it wont work. im so glad you have such a supportive wife because its not easy living with us is it lol people cant see where we are hurting like a broken leg ect and often there are some very deep issues. I am to lucky as i have a supportive family and friends my boss is so good as she has a sister who suffers far worse than me so she understands. it will get better dionne it takes time as you say spend lots of time walking and doing fun things with your wife she sounds an absolute gem oh and as tess has said like me STAY OFF GOOGLE if i could i would blinking ban it lol x


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  • Posted

    I'm afraid the MJ (which is now skunk and MUCH stronger) did cause this.

    Keep going to the therapist.

    And stop asking Dr. Google for advice. He doesn't know you!

    Love Tess xx

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    • Posted

      Yeah I figured the coincidence was too hard to ignore.. Do you think it was a trigger or did it cause it in its own?

      I have read of others coming out of this in a short time, like a few weeks or months some on their own and some with help. What gives me hope are my good days and seeing how lucky I am to not have any more symptoms than I do. Don't get me wrong when its bad it is difficult just to get out of bed

      I finally got some sleep last night after taking a xanax and right now all I have is a forbidding feeing of she it akk comesback. I know I will never go back to how I was before all of this but I pray and I think that in the long run I will be a better person for it all.

      The weed we smoked only effected me as everyone else is fine so obviously it is like anything else we it into our bodies , we are all different and react differently to things.

      Thanks for the advice thus far, was wondering if anyone on here has had success with CBT and if so if they could see some light in what worked for them.

      Thank you

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  • Posted

    Forgot to say, take the xanax if it helps. It doesn't sound like you're anywhere NEAR addicted!

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    • Posted

      Thank you - I actually took one last night which helped give me much-needed rest.  I just know it is easy for an addict ( for me it was alcohol) to get addicted to something else, but I think this incident has scared me so much that it is having the opposite effect.  Hell, I am scared to drink chamomile tea for goodness sake. 


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  • Posted


    Similar story. I had a skunk spliff at 21. Was already suffering from extreme anxiety due to social anxiety, moving away from home to uni and smoking MJ but not heavy user.

    The skunk exacerbated the anxiety. At the time I was already panicking about my health, I thought I was gonna die.

    I soon noticed the depersonalisation and derealization and suddenly had loads more floaters in my eyes.

    Was prescribed paroxetine and was on it on and off now for 20 yrs.

    Up until recently I was 100% sure it was the skunk which had damaged my brain no matter what doctors told me. But then I read something which changed my mind and made me feel more hopeful.

    Basically I now believe that the extreme anxiety changed my brain and how I see the world. The MJ was a trigger.

    I believe I need to go back to the original reason why I was anxious in first place and the belief I was gonna die.

    My anxiety has subsided considerably over the years and I've addressed some issues I had with talking to people and eye contact, etc. But I still need help dealing with talking in larger groups. I believe I will get there cos of the progress I have made and overcoming social anxiety has been a lifelong goal. I think once I feel more comfortable with this then the DR and DP may go.

    Feel free to ask me more about this. But yeah I used to google things which added to my misery and anxiety. It backs up your deepest fears but try to be hopeful cos hope is there.

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    • Posted

      Prior to this I did have anxiety, but I would say that I was able to handle it in a decent manner for the most part.  Maybe it was all just too much at once or maybe I held it all in for too long - this year has been pretty bad. My Mother passing hit me hard, but I thought I had recovered from the grief, it really hasn't been that long ago. I also think I have walking depression, or did - now my depression is pretty much obvious.

      As I sit here thinking about things if I am honest with myself I cannot say anything physical is wrong with me.  What I mean is that yes I am tired from taking the Xanax last night, but I feel fine otherwise.  I get lightheaded on occasion but that happened before at times from high BP.  Overall I cannot complain about my physical symptoms, but for some reason I can't shake this feeling of dread, especially after reading all the comments that it IS the skunk.  It is like every little problem is because of the weed or the anxiety or both.  

      I know this is not realistic but I could stub my toe right now or get a headache and I would blame it on the anxiety.  Hell it could start raining outside and I would blame that on it as well.  Like I said I know this is not true, but how to I convince my behavior or my mind of this fact?

      I also dont want to rule out any other problems just because of this incident - maybe something else could be wrong.  Hormone/thyroid issues etc...  I don't dread those issues but at least it would be an answer.  I do want to rule them out because my sister had similar symptoms when she was younger and that was her problem  and I know if I don't rule them out I will always be thinking of it.

      I have been into some pretty bad places mentally with alcohol in the past, but always came back to normal within a day or two even when I quit cold turkey a while back.

      It is funny, in my mind I know if I can just adjust my thinking and emotions and behavior (or whatever) that this will pass or at least become manageable.

      I am afraid my symptoms will get worse, but I have no basis on that other than fear.

      When you say your anxiety has subsided over the years what time frame are we talking and how did you function or make it throughout that time?

      Thanks for sharing the info and the support - if this thread helps anyone at all with similar situations then that also is a wonderful thing. .  


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    • Posted

      Well, in 2002/03 I had panic attacks. Last one was about 07. Since then considerable anxiety especially in large peer groups. It's only really since August that I can honestly say my anxiety is manageable.

      I've held down a teaching job (ironically enough cos of talking to big groups of students) since 03 but was off sick with psychosis for a year before.

      Honestly I managed for the most part to hide the anxiety at work but I would lose my cool a lot just from the smallest of things.

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