Depression & Marijuana

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Lived an eventful life up until the summer of 2011 when I began to smoke marijuana frequently. Noticed that I began to feel emptier, like I didn’t know who I was but thought it was because of the cold weather coming up(I usually get a little gloomy during winter.) I disregarded it and continued to smoke until January 2, 2012. I remember the night very clearly – I smoked up and tried to go to sleep, but my thoughts kept looping in circles and I felt that I finally convinced myself that I was insane. I felt a part of my brain shut down. When I woke up, I felt like I wasn’t in my body and that everything was dream-like. I developed anxiety and it’s beginning to really hinder my ability to do well in school and social interactions frighten me. I feel like everybody hates me. I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore and there is no purpose to continue feeling like this.

A. Your concern is a relatively common one. I receive many letters from individuals who have used an illicit drug and subsequently developed similar side effects. The side effects are frightening and psychologically damaging. These repeated negative experiences underscore why drug use is so dangerous.

Psychoactive drugs have a physical effect upon the brain. When we consume a substance, it enters our blood stream. There is a protective mechanism in the body called the blood-brain barrier. This barrier keeps unhealthy substances from entering the brain. It is almost 100 percent efficient, but some substances get through. These are the psychoactive substances. They change the brain chemistry. Users hope the change is temporary but that may not always be the case. Drug usage is dangerous. It’s a risk and any user needs to consider that risk. Can drug usage cause serious psychological problems? Yes, undoubtedly so.

If you are currently using illicit drugs, then stop immediately. I would also suggest being evaluated by a mental health professional. A mental health professional could gather a detailed psychosocial personal history and determine what may be wrong. He or she can also provide the appropriate psychosocial intervention to assist you with your symptoms. During the evaluation, a mental health professional may also suggest that you see a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist may prescribe a medication to assist with your anxiety and your “dream-like” symptoms.

I understand that dealing with your symptoms is difficult. It is important to see a professional. It is the right course of action. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Depression & Marijuana. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/02/depression-marijuana/