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Marijuana-Induced Anxiety Attack

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Hello. I had what seemed to be an anxiety attack last night. At first I started to question reality and if I really existed or if everything was a figment of my imagination. I truly thought I was going crazy. Then I started fearing that I might lose control and harm myself or harm others which was the absolutely last thing I’d ever want to do. I eventually went to sleep and woke up with a little anxiety but not as bad as last night. I had an episode from smoking marijuana a few months ago and I was pretty debilitated, having the fear of dying and the same fear of harming myself or others. A few months of no episodes and I had the attack last night. What should I do now?

Marijuana-Induced Anxiety Attack

Answered by on -

A.

The first thing you should do is stop smoking marijuana. Quit while the damage is minimal. Many people don’t consider marijuana a dangerous drug, but experiences like yours suggest otherwise. I receive letters like yours regularly, in which people describe using marijuana and subsequently developing symptoms of mental illnesses that they did not have before using drugs.

The federal government classifies drugs into five categories or schedules depending upon their dangerousness, acceptable medical use and the drug dependence or dependency potential. Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous and schedule 5 the least dangerous. Marijuana, along with heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, ecstasy, (and others) is categorized as a schedule 1 drug. Drugs in schedule 1 are “the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”

Continued use of marijuana can lead to negative outcomes. Studies consistently show that people who use marijuana have increased rates of psychosis when compared to people who don’t use marijuana. If you continue to use marijuana, despite evidence that it is having a negative effect on you, then you risk suffering long-term consequences which may include the development of significant mental health problems. You have to decide for yourself if that is a risk you are willing to take. I would not recommend it.

In the meantime, you might want to consult a mental health professional about treating your anxiety. Without treatment, anxiety can become worse over time. The sooner you treat your anxiety, the sooner it will go away. In therapy, you can also explore why you feel the need to use drugs. Drug use is a form of escapism. Psychologically healthy people don’t need to use drugs. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Marijuana-Induced Anxiety Attack

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Marijuana-Induced Anxiety Attack. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/15/marijuana-induced-anxiety-attack/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 15 Feb 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.