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

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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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34 Replies

  • Posted

    So I am trying to be positive here and wanted to get feedback on some things from anyone that has had similar issues or can point me to an existing thread.  

    Today I woke up with a little anxiety but nothing like most days.  So I am grateful for that, but the worrying won't go away and my ability think about anything else is pretty much nonexistent.  I worry about my focus and I can feel the anxiety trying to creep in but I have been able to hold it off.

    What I am asking is how much do we blame on anxiety and depression but in reality it actually is something else.  Not talking doom and gloom here, more like are all these changes (exercising a lot more, stopping caffeine, sleeping on a more routine schedule, diet, distraction techniques, etc...) causing me to feel differently and I am not used to it.  

    I have fallen into the mindset that everything that is wrong is now because of anxiety, even when it isn't or is it the anxiety still.

    I want to say that it is just my body and mind being so exhausted from the constant anxiety I have had for 5 weeks that it is taking a break, but how do i know that?

    I was able to go to my son's open house at his school last night and while there all my symptoms pretty much vanished or I at least put them out of my mind.  How do I know which one it was?

    Sorry to be so elusive in this, but it is difficult to explain.

    Any advice is welcome and needed.  If I can shake the anxiety and the depression and only be a shell what point is there in trying? 


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    • Posted

      Hi Dionne,

      I'll tell u something. Not too long ago, I was trying to be extra healthy. I was going to work and the thing I was consistently doing all day was drinking water. But I was feeling quite drowsy too which made me puzzled.

      Someone told me that cos of all the water I was detoxing and this can make you feel tired drowsy lethargic while all the toxins are being flushed out.

      This could be one reason. Stopping the caffeine too . Initially when u stop something like that or sugar you feel like crap.

      Hope this helps

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    • Posted

      Haha, well unfortunately I had some crap happen in my life so I went back on the coffee and less water.

      My focus went from detoxing to something else so I can't answer that.

      Does anyone else here know ?

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    • Posted

      I want to make clear that I am not against taking meds.  I am just trying to clean out my system to rule out what is side effects and what is part of my problem.  

      This includes things like caffeine, and salt and so on.  I have been drinking pretty much just water and very low caffeine tea. 

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    • Posted

      its because you are having to change your mind set thinking and that can be as scary as the anxiety dionne. The mind is a very powerful tool and can be destructive for some. For some people they are predisposed to say anxiety and depression as my doctor says its in my make up my 21 year old son is starting to go through stress I can now see why as events from 18 months ago are now having an impact on him now because Im an old hand at this i can see clearly where he cant but I can be there to support him but he was also told it is genetic for some. I have been having CBT since july and yes it has made me challenge forty odd years of thinking and change my thinking its bloody hard and as she says wont happen over night but i can recognise and challenge my negative thoughts and deal with those who have really hurt me in the past. I have had to carry issues from my childhood but with her help i can now finally challenge and change my ways of thinking because im 53, what ever time i have left on this earth i want to enjoy, I want to travel and I woant to be a stronger person. chamomile tea is excellent Dionne  and yes i believe diet has a lot to do with our anxiety. just to end on sharing a positive note when i went abroad in may i was petrified yet bive flown a few times but i got my self so worked up about reading whats happening in the world it ruined my whole holiday. I am going back in four weeks my whole family is going and I am so looking forward to going. you will get through this and see the light at the end of the tunnel you have support from your wife and together you will beat this, my family have been my rock in getting me through this take care my lovely and start to enjoy life 
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  • Posted

    Hello. I hope all is well with you. I am going through the same thing. I am 24 and have been dealing with this for about 6 months now. Back in February I smoked some MJ with my ex boyfriend while we were on the way to Austin. I believe I had a panic attack. I start experiencing all these symptoms & my first thought was "someone laced this I am going to die" well I've had multiple test done, a full cardiac work up done by a cardiologist, and everything came back fine. But I can't shake these symptoms. I constantly have this thought that the weed I smoked was laced & it damaged my heart. I'm too scared to go anyway, eat certain things, exercise, drive long distances, any of that. My cardio prescribed me a beta blocker to help slow down my heart rate, but it isn't helping my anxiety. My GP and pyschiatrist prescribed me lexapro 10 mg (which I am too scared to take) and also Xanax 0.25 (he wants me to half that & I'm still too scared to take it) and like you ever since this incident I am terrified of putting things in my body. It took me 3 months to even start the beta blocker. I question everything! I'm constantly looking at ingredients & if I'm too anxious about it I won't eat it. Crazy right? But I do want to feel better. I'm too young & im afraid to live my life. I hope you feel better soon!

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  • Posted

    I wanted to thank everyone for the advice and sharing, it has helped a lot.  I am about 7 weeks or so into this ordeal and just over the last 3 or 4 days I have seen a lot of improvement.  I am still having issues but I can see them gradually get less and less often and less and less in intensity.

    I am getting a full check up on my blood, hormones, thyroid, etc... just because I want to be sure and at my age it can't hurt to get things checked out regardless.

    The only time the anxiety seems to hit me now is when I first wake up in the morning or during the night.  It passes fairly quickly once I start reminding myself there is no reason for it.  I have not had to take a Xanax in almost a week now, but I am not against taking it if a bad attack comes upon me again.  The only side effect I do get from the Xanax is terrible depression the day after taking it, but I now know why this happens and that helps with me dealing with it.  even though the depression sucks, it is not as severe as the anxiety when it hits me hard.  Hopefully I will not fall back to where I was, but I know I am going to beat this and if that happens I will adjust as needed. 

    I just wanted to offer some hope to those out there that may have similar issues.  Again I am not back to my normal self yet,  not even close, but an improvement is all I needed to have hope and I think in another 3 or 4 weeks I will be close to being where I need to be.

    I know I will never be the same again after all of this, but I do think I will be stronger and more aware than I was before.  

    I have lost 40 lbs in about 6 weeks which I know is unhealthy, but my blood pressure was always high before all of this and now that I have cut out salt and caffeine it is better than it has been in 20 years.  I am averaging 125/75.

    Been taking B12 and Vitamin D supplements as well - no idea if they are helping or not, but I think they are.

    My major complaint now is the dissociation that I get on some days accompanied by light-headedness.   It is not as severe as it used to be so although I hate it, it is getting better as well.  It seems to be a symptom of a symptom for me due to lack of sleep which I am still having trouble with.  I never seem to get to that deep dreamless state, nor can I sleep for more than 4 hours tops at a time.  

    What has worked for me thus far?

    1.  CBT with a great therapist.  I suggest trying it if you have not and are able  - also if you have tried it and it did not work maybe try another one.  I just know it helped me a lot so far.

    2.  Identify (if you are able)  what is causing your symptoms.  Yes I know the root cause is anxiety for most of us, but things like depression from the Xanax, or brain fog from the lack of sleep,  etc... for me was important.  Once I nailed down what was causing them I could isolate how to avoid them or to explain them which goes a long way to getting better.  At least it did for me.

    Another symptom I am having that I am still working on is being overly sensitive to things.  I used to love horror movies but now just the idea scares me for some reason.  That is just an example,  I am also overly suspetable to things like music, like if it is a sad song I cry, and I used to bnever do that unless it was a special circumstance.  I think my testosterone may be low so getting that looked at just in case.

    All in all I am pleased with my progress and I hope this helps someone even if it is just the positive vibe.

    I am physically healthier than I have been in a long time so if this 50-year-old guy can make progress I know many of you all can as well.

    Be safe, stay strong, smile when you can,



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    • Posted

      Ah wow. That's great news.

      The thing u said about noticing a small change struck a chord with me.

      It does give u a bit of hope which is so important.

      I look forward to hearing more in the future. well done Dionne.


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  • Posted

    I can definitely relate! A year ago I went on a night out and got very drunk, we went back to my sisters friends house and he had some weed. I being drunk started smoking it like a cigarette and I'm pretty sure I passed out. When I came to I had the most awful panic attack, didn't know where I was, severe paranoia and since then nothings been the same. I did already have an existing anxiety disorder but it was under control and barely made an appearance, now it's a daily struggle. MJ really isn't good for anyone with anxiety, it can really mess you up as I've found out. Nobody believes that it's the cause and just says it's me being paranoid but I'm convinced it was this.

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    • Posted

      Also, I can relate to being overly sensitive to things! I was also into horror movies but now I can't watch them, it really makes my mind go in to overdrive. Also anything sad on TV always brings a tear to my eye, and I was never like this before.

      I'm glad that you've come a long way, it really is a daily struggle but you just need to celebrate the positives and the good days. I've gotten a lot better but I still find it hard to go out alone, or to new places. It's annoying because for 6 years I felt I lived my life to the full, travelling and having fun and now the thought of being on a plane terrifies me and I don't know why. Today for me has been a bad day, which is why I'm here, I've not been on this website for months, used to use it all the time as an emotional crutch to remind myself that there are others going through the same. Haven't needed it for a while but here I am again. Just need to remember this is a blip and doesn't define anything.

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    • Posted

      I think as looking at it in a broader sense.  I can only speak for myself though.  The MJ for me caused me to have a major panic attack  and one that was so horrible it created a "trauma" event for me.  Just thinking about that night really messes with me and can be a trigger, but I am getting better at talking about it.  

      I think the sensitivityI am having is because I actually thought I was either going to die or be stuck in that state forever.  It is almost like a near-death experience and in a way it was exactly like that because even though I was in no physical danger my mind did not know that.

      So perception is a very strong thing and it is difficult to tell your mind that it is or was wrong because it was a natural response to the circumstance.   

      Either way I know smoking is what triggered or set off my current condition, but in and of itself the MJ did not cause this, it was the catalyst just as another drug or situation could have caused.  I will never touch the stuff again, hell I got nervous the other day when my wife was burning sage cause it smelled similar.

      I hope things continue to improve for you, and it is a daily struggle sometimes, but this morning I actually woke up and was fine for a few hours.  I did not even think of all of this and it was like it never happened.  Then something reminded me and it all came back.  I do think that ruminating and worrying is detrimental to recovery, the hard part is figuring out how not to do it.

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    • Posted

      You're so right. The ruminating reinforces the trauma. But the fact u had a couple of hours where u forgot about it all is encouraging.

      I work in and around the area where I first had my trauma. I've never called it that before but yeah I guess it is a trauma.

      And certain parts of where I work remind me of that time. Which makes me depressed.

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    • Posted

      I can totally relate because mine happened on my front porch of my house so every time I go out there it reminds me.  Good news is we are going to be moving soon.  Not because of the incident because I know running away from it wont help, but hey one less thing to remind me.
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    • Posted

      Yeah I really think not will help. Especially if u don't hav to go back. It's not running away it's moving on. Like with ex partners in a way. Well ones where the relationship isn't working.

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