Citation: madmike. "Contributes to Panic Attack: An Experience with Cannabis (exp20444)". Erowid.org. Jul 3, 2018. erowid.org/exp/20444
Cannabis Contributes to Panic Attack
By my calculation, I’ve been high on cannabis at least 10,500 times.
More than thirty years of getting high and knowing exactly what to expect from a few hits of “average” weed didn’t make any difference on Friday, January 10th, 2003 when I felt like I going berserk or having a massive coronary.
To help set the stage, I need to tell you that on January 23rd, 2002, approximately one year earlier, I suffered a cardiac arrest. Fortunately I was in the ER at the time. I was there due to heart attack symptoms. I was on a gurney in the cardiac care center talking with an EMT and my wife while waiting for blood work results. All of a sudden, I felt very light headed, became disoriented and died. I was shock paddle zapped, chest pounded and CPR’d back to life. Within three hours I was recuperating in the ICU with a stent in a heart artery.
Back to the present….
Six days ago, an average Friday, around 5:30P, I took my two Jack Russell terriers out for the typical afternoon walk and to catch a quick buzz. I fire up freshly rolled “J” from stash of average “Carolina Roadside” and took a few (4-6) decent hits and headed back to the house. I popped open a beer and ask my wife what the evening agenda was. We decided to take a short ride to scout out Saturday “yard sale” locations.
About a mile from the house, I start getting disoriented. Like when I'm high and I kinda forget exactly what road I'm on, momentarily forget where I'm going and why. In my mind, I was thinking the effects were a little severe for the small amount of dope I had just smoked, and tried to remain cool.
After a couple left and right turns, I was totally disoriented. My heart was pounding like a jack hammer and I was beginning to wonder if I was having a heart attack. (Remember, I had a cardiac arrest almost exactly one year earlier – so I know what it feels like.) When I pulled over and asked my wife if she wouldn’t mind driving (which I have never done before), it accelerated my fears and pulled her into the scenario. She asked if I was “all right”. I told her the pot was better than I expected and I was catching a major buzz. But inside, I was worried. Well, worried….. And scared shitless.
We switched out and she drove. Within five minutes we were home. I was flippin’. It felt like a total freak out. For lack of better description, I told my wife I was “buggin”. And I was - severely. I struggled to get out of the car. As I made it towards the house, I could barely walk. My heart was thumping like a Maserati. I thought it might be a heart attack and it took all my wits not to pass out.
When we got into the house, I staggered into the shower. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get my shit together. It took all my mental skills and the experiences from decades of getting high (weed and booze), tripping and the occasional freak-out just to keep myself from passing out (or, as I though….dying).
Without drying my hair, I waddled into the kitchen, gray as a ghost and disclosed to my wife that I was bugging to the point of freaking out and that I thought I may be having a heart attack. I continued to nurse my beer and tried to chill out.
Oh, she was cooking dinner at the time – but my appetite had completely, absolutely vanished. Further evidence (or so I thought) that I was having a heart attack.
I went into my home office and took my blood pressure and pulse with a gadget left over from the episode a year earlier. Sitting still as can be, my heart rate (and it was already beginning to subside) was 127 BPM. Not too cool.
We both started to panic and evaluated the wisdom of calling a doctor or going to the emergency room. All this hysteria fed the problem.
We went online and started researching the correlation between cannabis use and panic attacks. Sure enough, it happens. There is plenty of documentation on the subject.
I began “getting a grip” and the symptoms began to wane.
The whole episode lasted 20-40 minutes.
I didn’t get high on Saturday (scared to).
By Sunday I was back on the weed and booze.
Like I said, I have freaked (on “A”) in the past. This panic attack was exactly like freaking.
Once, about ten years ago I had a panic attack – under similar conditions.
I guess it’s something to think about.
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