I’ve heard countless stories of people having a panic attack while high. Actually, It’s almost a right of passage for cannabis users — almost everyone I know that has consumed cannabis has had at least one experience where they freaked out because they were too high.
Unfortunately, sometimes the anxiety and paranoia can be enough to keep people away from ever going near cannabis again.
Here are 5 things to contribute to an anxiety-free, positive experience, and hopefully prevent your future cannabis experiences from ever going south.
1. Choose the right strain for you.
Most cannabis strains are categorized as an indica or sativa, or a hybrid of the two. The main difference between indica and sativa is that indica provides more of a body high, which tends to be better for anxiety; and sativa is more of a head high which can sometimes accentuate anxiety.
Dispensaries are also required to label cannabis products with THC and CBD levels. THC and CBD are the main active compounds found in cannabis. THC is known for it's psychoactive effects, the notorious high feeling. CBD is known for its medicinal benefits like anti-anxiety and reducing inflammation.
Put simply—if you're prone to anxiety, choose an indica or hybrid strain with higher levels of CBD.
2. Consume with people you enjoy in a place you feel comfortable.
It is very important to consider the place and setting to ensure a positive high. One of the great effects of marijuana is exemplifying things. So it will do exactly that to your surroundings. Around people you love in your own home? You’ll have great ambience! Around people you don’t know in a strange place and prone to anxiety? Uhh.. good luck.
Don’t smoke with people you don’t like or don’t know. Smoke in a comfortable place, like your own home.
3. Munch on.
Physiologically, people can have an anxiety attack if they didn't eat before getting high, so make sure you have a healthy snack on hand and plenty of water to drink.
Your metabolism will naturally increase slightly when using cannabis, which can cause your blood sugar levels to dip. If you havn't eaten anything, it could dip your blood sugar levels low enough to cause symptoms such as clammy hands and dizziness.
The symptoms caused from the low blood sugar levels can then trigger a cascade of anxiety. Your body will release adrenaline, causing an increase of heart rate and metabolic demand, all contributing to more and more anxiety. So eat something!
4. Remember to take deep slow breaths, especially if you're starting to feel the slightest bit anxious.
Deep breathing will help regulate adrenaline levels and keep anxiety at bay. Breathe in for 4-5 seconds, breathe out for 4-5 seconds. Take deep full breaths, with long even exhalations.
5. Marijuana doesn’t make anxious thoughts out of thin air – you do.
Marijuana can sometimes "bring out" the anxieties in somebody, especially if the person has been trying to suppress them. Chances are, something is causing you more worry than you're giving credit for.
You need to do some reflecting and assessing so you can figure out what they are and how you can work on them.
You might want to obtain from weed until you're able to sort things out. Try eating a healthy diet, eliminating stimulants, and exercising. Many find meditation or yoga practices very beneficial for overcoming anxiety. As you're able to build yourself back up, you can try reincorporating cannabis.
The bottom line: an anxiety-free life makes an anxiety-free high.
6. You can always get more high. You can’t get un-high.
You can never fully determine the potency of a flower, edible, oil, or any cannabis product. Even if it’s lab tested, there’s always other variables that could effect the end potency, and you’ll never know what your tolerance may be at that moment.
I can recall times when I’ve been with a group of people sharing a joint, each taking many inhales each. This is a very common situation where people can get caught up in the social aspect and smoke more than they initially wanted. It’s always okay to say no or pass.
Take small does at a time, maybe just hit that joint once, and wait 15-30 minutes to feel the full effects. Always, always, always wade on the side of caution with edibles, taking much less than what you think. Wait 1-2 hours for edibles to kick in.
What I’m trying to say is, take it easy. You can always get more high, but you can’t get un-high.