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Q. Why did I get a panic attack after smoking Marijuana?

Answered by
Dr. Aditya Gupta
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 21, 2018 and last reviewed on: Nov 29, 2022

Hello doctor,

About a month ago, I decided to smoke marijuana with some friends, as I have several times before. Everything was going as usual, but when I took the second drag, I instantly had a panic attack. I decided to go to my room to try to wait it out, and after a while, the high went away, but the panic stayed. The rest of the night, I was in a state of constant anxiety, and at around 10 PM, I took some Doxylamine to try to fall asleep and end the night. When I woke up, to my surprise, I was still in a state of panic. This is where I started getting more worried. The rest of the week, I felt depersonalized, and I had horrible anxiety. I had several ups and downs during this period where I would feel better then worse and so on.

A couple of weeks went by, and I slowly started feeling a little better. It is the fourth week now, and I still feel as though I have this pit in my stomach, which I am always trying to fight to prevent another full-blown panic attack. I feel horrible, and I just want to feel myself again. The Doxylamine seems to help calm me down a little, but this is not an ideal way to cope, as I cannot be tired all the time. Most of the time these days, I feel fine, but when I am not being proactive or doing something, I feel it creeping on, and I dread the feeling. I have been feeling depressed lately as a result of all of this, and I just do not feel the same. Did I inadvertently trigger some kind of panic disorder within myself, as a result of smoking? Or am I somehow over thinking everything? I want to go to my physician to talk to him about it, but he will probably think I am just trying to get my hands on Benzodiazepines or something. Any help would be grateful. I do not know how much longer I can live like this.

Thank you.

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Substance-induced anxiety disorder seems unlikely here as one month had passed since you last smoked and the intensity of symptoms also goes against it. In my opinion, you should first go with non-pharmacological methods like

  • Practice relaxation techniques like breathing and relaxation exercise daily. Breath slowly and deeply from your diaphragm.
  • When having a panic attack, try to think of a relaxing image.
  • PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) can also help if practiced daily.
  • Exercise regularly and take a balanced diet.
  • Abstain from any substance usage.

If these methods do not help, then consult a psychiatrist.

Feel free to ask if you have any further queries.

I hope this helps.

Thank you.


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