Citation: manicpanic. "Two Hours of Mental Agony: An Experience with Cannabis & Beer (exp100064)". Erowid.org. May 29, 2021. erowid.org/exp/100064
Marijuana and Panic Disorder
I've been mulling over the idea of sharing this, and have decided to do so with the hopes of possibly helping or informing someone out there in a similar boat. To give a few details about myself- I'm 35. I have a diagnosed panic disorder which I developed in my late twenties. I also have mild blood pressure problems triggered by anxiety. In my teenage years throughout my early twenties I was a semi-regular toker.
Recently I discovered that my neighbors are all smokers, and it got my gears turning- I had actually determined about 3 years ago that I could no longer smoke pot because of my problems with anxiety. I had bought a bag and smoked semi-successfully/regularly for about a month. I'd always smoke just a tiny bit and even though there were unpleasant feelings I would maintain mental control. Then one night I had a major panic attack while high which had me convinced that I was dying. Panic can make a person feel that way anyway, but for me, when I am too high I lose my ability to rationally escape the negative thought spiral. It's like my thoughts collapse in on themselves and I'm stuck in this loop where I can find no redeeming value in myself as a human being. It always starts with self hatred and intensifies into overwhelming waves of panic that convinces me that death is imminent. So back to the neighbors -
My neighbor hooked me up with some incredibly lush green, sticky, stinky weed. I put the stuff in a jar, put the jar in a plastic bag, and the plastic bag in a Tupperware container and I could still smell it when I walked by! I won't specifically say where I am, but geographically I'm in an ideal spot for good weed! I went in to this experience well researched. I had been reading up on forums and watching videos getting advice on how to manage panic for pot smokers. I thought I was really going in with some good tools in place to use responsibly.
For starters I bought a one hit pipe. My goal was to approach the bud with a healthy respect and tip toe my way in to getting a buzz- instead of rolling up a fatty and getting totally blazed. I just wanted to smoke enough to get that pleasant sensation where the sound of music gets tweaked a bit.
I just wanted to smoke enough to get that pleasant sensation where the sound of music gets tweaked a bit.
That's really my main purpose in toking in the first place- To get some creativity flowing. So I had my one hitter. I had all my coping mechanisms in place. Lots of water, positive vibes, white candles, etc... I really wanted to get this right!
So the first night I picked a tiny little bit and put it in the hitter. Blew out just the slightest amount of smoke then waited. I don't know if it was a bit of a placebo effect but I felt a tweak pretty quick. I became more in tune with sound. That's always my first clue that I'm getting high... My sense of sound intensifies to the extent that I can walk outside and even be conscious of the sound of air flowing. A few minutes later I took another tiny little bud and got a significantly stronger hit with a lot of smoke. My neighbor told me this was the 'one hit shit'.. After this happened my sense of panic was up just a bit, but not overwhelmingly so. I pulled out my guitar and played my way through the uneasy feelings (which is something that would work for me in the past when I got a little too high). Two hours later after a really fun solo jam session I went to sleep with no real issues. I felt like someone nailed me to the bed almost the instant I hit the pillow which makes me believe there was a strong body high component to this stuff. Keep in mind that I hadn't smoked in 3 years too which I'm sure had an effect.
Two days later I was going to give it a real test drive. I got a couple of pints of decent beer. Drank slowly. I had a little hit just like before just to get a taste of a pot buzz before I started drinking so I didn't accidentally get too intensely baked straight out of a beer buzz. One beer in and I felt great. Had a lot of creativity flowing and started working on a song just from the nice little mix of beer and that tiny hit! Then came the problem... After beer number two the inhibitions slipped a bit too much. I wanted to get high and listen to what I had been working on for the last hour. So I pushed play and lit up a hit. Then I didn't feel a change so I lit up another hit right afterward. Both hits produced large plumes of smoke.
Five minutes passed and the song became background noise to the massive rush of thoughts in my head. I knew immediately that I had made a huge mistake! There was an immediate sense of doom. Physically there were these waves of nervous energy and adrenaline that built in my chest and worked outward to my legs and arms into my feet and fingertips. I immediately had to get outside. This is something that occasionally calms me down in a panic attack. But it was raining and the drone of the rain hitting the ground was too intense for me to handle. By this point (maybe 10 minutes had passed) I was in a full blown panic attack. I was shaking profusely. I had to speak to someone just to escape my own head momentarily so I went and spoke to my wife. This turned in to a 2 to 3 hour massive battle with my own brain!
I checked my blood pressure and heart rate during all of this a few times because as usual I was completely convinced I was going to die. My B/P was 140 over 100 and my pulse was staying at around 110 bpm. These numbers had me convinced that my heart was going to explode. The feeling of knowing you're going to die tends to loosen up the tongue quite a bit. I could not stop talking about what a piece of crap I thought I was to my wife who's evening was totally ruined by this outburst of bullshit. She kept reminding me of the positives about myself. I am sure if she wasn't there I would have called the hospital and been locked up on the mental ward for suicidal tendencies. I kept 'confessing my sins' and saying my goodbyes convinced this was the end. It was just a total nightmare, not to mention how utterly humiliating it was once I sobered up.
So in conclusion I have had to make peace with the harsh reality -once and for all- that my days as a pot smoker are over. This is a real bummer to me in some ways because it signifies an end to something that produced some happy times years ago. The reality is that I really like weed. I love the way it smells. I like the process of breaking it up and handling it. And once upon a time I really loved smoking it. But panic has ruined my ability to cope with the intensity of being high. My own lack of discipline makes it so eventually I will slip up and smoke too much and get too high and that is a risk that I can no longer afford to take.
As hard as it is to admit - I'm incapable of handling it anymore.
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