It was late at night, almost a week ago, when I received a frightening phone call from a friend. This friend was in a full blown panic attack, sitting in a car, at a strip mall, which was nowhere near his home. I listened to his ramblings about his blood pressure and heart rates, that were skyrocketing as every second passed. He explained this was his 2nd panic attack that day, and his third in the last two days. This one however, had him in a full breakdown mode. He was crying and getting angry. I could feel the frustration on the other side of the phone. Whatever anxiety about life and terrible thoughts he had about himself, they were not hiding anymore, they bubbled up, front and center.
He didn’t want to call the ambulance because he was embarrassed that his life had come to this. I told him that there was no shame in calling, and begged him do so. After twenty minutes of listening, I finally got him to call an ambulance. When they arrived, he told me he had to go, but he’d call me when he was at the hospital.
It was a long wait, but eventually I got a phone call and that he’d left the hospital and was taking a cab back to his car. They told him he had a psychotic episode and prescribed him Adavan to help him sleep. He was distraught with the thought that he had a mental breakdown. It’s not an easy thing to wrap your head around. For those that haven’t had it happen to themselves, or to a loved one, there’s a stigma that’s attached to it, that’s not fair. If you fight it, and don’t embrace it, it can only make matters worse.
I felt my job was to immediately have him feel comfortable with what just happened. I didn’t want him going home still feeling shame. I asked him many questions about his life, diet and drug use. When it came to marijuana, I asked him if he began using a different strain than he previously used before, to which he replied, yes.
Here was a man, who used marijuana to help his anxiety, and it only made it worse. Instead of getting his marijuana from his regular person, whom he trusted, or at the dispensary, he used a different person. He was out of town, and this city he was now in, didn’t have any dispensaries. For all three of his panic attacks, he ingested the marijuana about 30 minutes prior to each episode. Now knowing this information, he was able to relax a bit more and I was too. First we talked about his anxiety, and said that even though the bad strain of marijuana brought on your panic attacks, you still have anxiety surrounding many issues in your life. I implored him to not keep these on the back burner any longer, and that he should visit a mental health professional to deal with those issues. After we discussed that, as it was important for me to get him to deal with himself, we then went back to discussing marijuana and medical marijuana specifically.
While on the phone, I began searching on the internet for articles on Medical Marijuana and Anxiety and found a great site called LEAFLY. You were able to go through every strain in existence, and each had rankings for different effects, based on user reviews. It had positives and negatives for every strain. From help with anxiety, to causing you paranoia. From helping with headaches, to causing dizziness. Everything about this site was impressive and all medical marijuana companies and dispensaries should take note of them. The article that I focused on was in their Cannabis 101 section, called What are the side effects of high THC cannabis? My friend and I discussed what I read, and how taking the wrong type of marijuana multiplied his anxiety and caused the temporary psychosis. He still wanted to use marijuana after the fact, as he felt, the right one helps with his anxiety. So I perused the website and found the right type for him, got him the name, and he went to his local dispensary and picked it up the next day. So far, all is well.
This event was a very scary reminder that our brains are very fragile things. In this case, it was a person with low self esteem that began hurting himself with his own words. He began shaming himself and it broke my heart. It’s a pain he lives with everyday. It’s a pain that many people with mental health issues endure every day, if they don’t work with their issues and try to fight against them. Let this also be a reminder to notice what products you’re ingesting into your body and the side effects, good and bad that you may have. Especially, if it’s a mind altering substance such as medical marijuana.
Our book recommendation for this post is You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, of Hay House Radio. It’s a tremendous book for those that speak to themselves very negatively. To get it, click on the title You Can Heal Your Life.