How to stop a panic attack while high

Published Jun 10, 2019 10:40 a.m. ET
Credit: Deagreez

Though some people manage to successfully use cannabis treatment for anxiety issues, not everyone is so fortunate. Though it is rare, it is possible to experience the opposite of calming effects which can trigger an anxiety attack. This is especially true among infrequent and inexperienced marijuana consumers who are experimenting with higher dosed cannabis concentrates, tinctures, or edibles. Even the most experienced marijuana enthusiasts are at risk for this potentially adverse side effect, so it’s a good idea to have a plan in case one of your smoking sessions takes a turn for the worst. To help, we have compiled a list of five things that you should so if marijuana use triggers an anxiety attack.

1. Remove yourself from all crowded or noisy areas

An anxiety or panic attack is generally caused by an overwhelming over-stimulation of the senses. Almost anything can be a trigger, but completely removing yourself from a large crowded or noisy area can help to alleviate some of the discomfort, as you wait for the symptoms to pass. Most of the time, it’s being in a stressful situation that triggers this kind of response, so this is a great first step to recovering from these types of episodes.

2. Find a calm and dark area whenever possible to recover

Since light is in incredibly stimulating thing, it’s a good idea to draw the blinds shut, turn off or dim the lights, and remove any other potentially triggering bright or moving light beams from the space. Sine marijuana use will heighten the senses, its normal for any stoner to be more sensitive to bright lights, and this is especially true during a panic attack.

3. Try to find somewhere comfortable to relax

A panic attack can make it difficult to breathe and impair your perception, which can be dangerous if you trip or fall and get hurt. The best place is one where you can lay down and sprawl out without fear of falling off if you fall asleep, but anywhere that you can sit back and get comfortable will improve the pace at which you come back from the unpleasant experience, while keeping you as safe and comfortable as possible throughout the remainder of it.


4. Drink plenty of water and snack if possible

Though generally, people who are experiencing an anxiety attack are not able to sit down to dinner right away, small sips of ice cold water, and bite sized salty finger foods can help to dilute the cortisol from your stomach which can you to focus, while perking you up a little. Do not try to eat solid foods of any sort until you are confidently past any type of breathing issues.

5. Focus on your breathing

This is one of the oldest and most effective tricks in the book, and it can help at any point during an anxiety attack. Focus on your breathing while inhaling the deepest breaths you can muster, before slowly exhaling. Slow, methodical breathing can help to bring down your heart rate and allow you to focus, which can help you to recover from the suffocating symptoms that are caused by anxiety.

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The effects of marijuana on anxiety

THC is known for its therapeutic abilities that can produce a soothing sense of euphoria, which is expected to be relaxing, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the way marijuana use works. When you consume cannabis products, they heighten the senses and can make you hyper aware of your surroundings. In many cases, this turns out to be a kind of enlightening experience, but in other feelings like fear, panic, and anxiety can bubble out of control. At this time, there is no way to predict for certain which effects of marijuana you will receive, which is why it is always recommended to begin with microdosing when trying new cannabis strains.



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