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How The Risks Of Smoking Marijuana Can Cause Anxiety And Panic Attacks

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Some people use marijuana to cope with everyday stress in their lives, especially when dealing with social anxiety, school exams, stress at work, and troubles in committed relationships. Others may use marijuana as a way to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Like any drug, marijuana can either make some people feel super relaxed, in addition to feeling the munchies, while some who aren't tolerant to using drugs may experience anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and paranoia.

Can Marijuana Cause Anxiety And Panic Attacks?

For many years, there have been constant debates if marijuana can actually help people with anxiety and panic disorders or contribute to the effect on anxiety.

Research shows that people without a history of any anxiety disorders can have a moderate intakes of marijuana and not experience anxiety from the drug. However, people who have used marijuana for a long period can go through withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, irritability, and trouble sleeping, when quitting.

Withdrawal symptoms have also been linked to anxiety and panic attacks. Although, anxiety from withdrawal is usually only temporary.

Anxiety And Panic Attacks

People who suffer from anxiety and panic disorders every day can experience increased symptoms, especially if they've never smoked marijuana. First time users with no tolerance can get very high, while others may not feel anything right away. Symptoms can occur anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

When the effects of smoking marijuana show up, they hit hard. Making people with anxiety feel overwhelmed, as they may feel panic attacks, lightheadedness, and dizziness.

Marijuana And Sense Of Doom

For some, symptoms may get so bad they go to the hospital. In fact, recent reports show that there has been an increase in the number of people going to the emergency room after smoking marijuana.

"Part of an anxiety reaction is you have an impending sense of doom. So a lot of people come in (to the hospital) thinking they're dying, when they're actually having a panic attack," said Dr. Larry Bedard, a physician who previously worked at the American College of Emergency Physicians.

"That's very common. If you're smoking a joint and suddenly you can't breathe and your chest feels tight and you start to get numb and tingly, you start to think you've been poisoned," said Bedard.

Most of the symptoms are a result of tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH), the chemical known to cause many of the symptoms that come with smoking marijuana. Lastly, marijuana and THC are pretty complex, and there hasn't been many studies done on the links between marijuana causing anxiety and panic attacks. Depending on the dose, it's mostly going to affect people that are already facing anxiety and panic attacks.

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