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Can Marijuana Cause Panic Attacks and Anxiety?

When many people think of marijuana, they think of someone kicking back and relaxing with a joint. However, what many people fail to realize is that marijuana can exacerbate symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Drug addiction is a never a good combination with anxiety symptoms, and this article will outline the relationship between the two.

The high obtained from illegal drugs can be most enjoyable, but the withdrawal can be one of the most miserable experiences that a person can endure. Some drugs are worse than others when it comes to triggering panic attacks, but marijuana definitely makes the list.

Marijuana has gained a more positive reputation in recent years because of its medicinal values, especially for those who are suffering from cancer. Marijuana can be prescribed in certain states for medical treatment, but it’s much more commonly used as a recreational drug.

Marijuana can make the heart race and and alter the memory, too, things that are not good for anxiety sufferers. If you truly want to overcome your anxiety, you simply must kick the marijuana habit. For those who are truly addicted, a rehabilitation center is probably the best way to get clean . Fortunately, there are many excellent rehabilitation centers out there that can give you the supervision you need to overcome your addiction so you can move on to address your anxiety issues.  Frequent sessions with a psychotherapist can also help you address the issues that led you to addiction and give you the necessary tools to overcome any withdrawal symptoms and subsequent cravings for the drug.

Marijuana is not only harmful to anxiety sufferers, but it can also affect a wide population of people with varying mental disorders. Those who have a genetic vulnerability to depression, in particular, should be very wary of using marijuana.  Some studies indicate that smoking marijuana was often the culprit of worsening symptoms of depression among those who were most susceptible to it. This flies in the face of the common and popular wisdom that marijuana is a much better choice for depressives than other drugs, such as alcohol. The studies also find that weekly use of marijuana can double a person’s chances of falling victim to an anxiety disorder.

So what, you may ask, is the best method of treating an anxiety disorder? Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to very effective in addressing the distorted thinking patterns that so often lead to anxiety. Whether you realize it or not, it’s easy to fall into thinking patterns that are simply not accurate and lead to the negative feelings that we interpret as anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is not be confused with positive psychology-as cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to help us think more realistically, not to help us lie to ourselves and not acknowledge the negative aspects of life.

Learning to breathe properly is also a great way to combat anxiety. You can do this by slowly breathing in and counting to five, holding your breath for five, and slowly releasing the breath. Repeat this until you begin to feel your body relax. Progressive muscle relaxation is another great anxiety-reducing technique where you focus on tightening a particular muscle group, concentrating on the tension, and then zeroing in on the feeling of relaxing as you release the muscle.

By breaking your addiction to marijuana you’ll be in a much more powerful position to combat your anxiety by simply employing the aforementioned techniques. When you finally achieve this, you’ll be surprised at the difference in your life and the avenues that will open up to you.


“Medical Marijuana and the Mind.” Harvard Health Publications. <> 10 Nov 2012.

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