The most common unpleasant side-effects of marijuana use are anxiety and panic reactions. These effects may be reported by users, and they are a common reason for discontinuing it.
Please note: We are not able to reply to individual emails regarding marijuana and panic disorder, or in regards to any other symptoms that may occur as a result of using marijuana or any other similar drugs. Please speak with your doctor or therapist about any questions you may have.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the most effective therapy in the long term for anxiety disorders, including those resulting from marijuana. For a referral to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in your area, visit our International CBT Referral Pages or your doctor can also give you a referral.
Many of you will wonder why we are doing an article on marijuana. Many people would not even consider marijuana as having any connection with anxiety and panic. But it has. Marijuana is recognised as being one of the causes of panic attacks and anxiety, and we think it is important to highlight this.
Many people argue for the legalisation of marijuana. Certainly it is seen by some as a harmless 'soft' drug which seems to have very few ill effects. However, more and more research is looking into the short and long term effects of cannabis / marijuana.
Some people may use marijuana with little negative effect. For other people, it may trigger an effect that will impact greatly on their lives. Many people will use marijuana just once, and as a result can experience on ongoing panic attacks, dissociative symptoms and anxiety. Other people may use marijuana for years before experiencing their first panic attack.
Young people today know little of the adverse effects that may result from the use of this drug. However, more and more people are now presenting with panic attacks or anxiety disorders which were triggered by by the use of marijuana.
For clinical information see the 'Substance Abuse induced Anxiety Disorder', American Psychiatric Association, 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Number Four' or speak with your State Government Drug and Alcohol Unit for further information.
If in doubt about the link between marijuana and panic attacks - read on
I'm a 21 yr. old male who has been suffering from (though, never diagnosed) what I believe is anxiety and panic disorder. I first experienced these very intense feelings after smoking THC (the chemical in marijuana resin) in a pipe of an old friend of mine. Ever since then, I've been afraid of taking any medications that can alter my personality (social drugs, antidepressants, tranquillisers, etc.); therefore, I've been living with this disorder for almost 5 years now, with no medication, but it's getting worse. I feel like I'm living in a nightmare or dream all day long... afraid of everything, and anything that can happen. It's like I'm there, but I'm not. Things that should seem familiar, seem odd and frightening. My mind never rests, I am in a state where my mind seems to play tricks on me (almost a paranoid, terror feeling). Though I do get attacks of sudden panic or anxiety, the symptoms of these are lingering in my life ALL the time, everyday and night.