One of the side effects of cannabis use that many regular consumers have experienced at least once in their life is the sudden onset of a panic attack while smoking or immediately after consuming marijuana. In this article, we will try to understand why a panic attack happens, how to avoid it and how to manage this unpleasant sensation.
If you have never experienced it, you might think of panic attack as one of the usual rumours spread by the opponents of cannabis and its derivatives, which are generally known for their ability to relax the mind and body and used precisely for the management of anxiety. However, the panic or anxiety attacks induced by the consumption of cannabinoids are a reality to which some people are particularly susceptible. In fact, it is proven that cannabis can cause tachycardia, sudden fear and paranoia. Usually, the phenomenon is characterized by an unexpected increase in heart rate due to a feeling of fear for one’s health or safety. The muscles stiffen, you sweat profusely and the mind wanders in an ocean of situations that are often as catastrophic as they are unlikely. Also, some people perceive a feeling of fainting.
The reason for the cannabis panic attacks
It is not yet clear what causes this type of adverse reaction to cannabis, but most researchers who are interested in the phenomenon explain it as a mix of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. It seems that there are people predisposed to this type of reaction, but the main factor which may detonate it is the situation in which you find yourself while consuming marijuana. In other words, we refer to the emotional component (like a highly stressful period can be one of the reasons of cannabis-induced panic), a location or the group of people you are with that makes you nervous and not at ease. Furthermore, the presence of psychiatric pathologies or even a tendency to suffer from anxiety states could be often a common factor in people who experience this type of negative experience.
How to handle a cannabis-induced panic attack
If while smoking you don’t feel the usual relaxation, but instead, a negative feeling that shortly will make you feel agitated, we advise you to stop smoking, to sit or lay down in a comfortable position and take deep breaths.
It is certainly helpful to be aware that this eventuality may happen and that the unpleasant feeling with all probability will last only a few minutes. If you are in company, ask those who are with you not to leave you alone and try to chat quietly to distract yourself. You will see that in a very short time the sensation will diminish and then it will turn out to be just a bad memory. If you can’t get out of this anxiety and panic loop we suggest you consume food, especially fresh citrus fruits, perhaps paired with a teaspoon of sugar. In fact, these acid fruits mixed with the energy supplied by sugars have the ability to awaken the brain from the negative trip induced by cannabis. Even fresh air and a nice shower can help you feel more lucid and recover peace of mind.
How to avoid panic attack by cannabinoids
Surely if you have ever felt a strong fear, we advise you not to try again to consume cannabis at least for a short period of time. In fact, the fear of having a second attack could make a negative experience even more likely. In any case, if you want to continue to consume your marijuana as if nothing had happened, we advise you to do it in a situation of tranquility, perhaps together with a trusted friend and taking particular care in selecting a variety of cannabis with a high level of CBD and low of THC, which is less likely to cause this type of reaction. A few drops of CBD oil under the tongue before smoking could also be a great solution to give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your cannabis again without paranoia.