People across the country are experiencing all that cannabis has to offer — the highs and the lows. For some, those lows can include feelings of paranoia.
There is a lot of academic debate about why marijuana can make some people start feeling anxious. What’s universally acknowledged, though, is that it can indeed trigger anxiety for some people.
The good news? There are some simple ways to mitigate cannabis-induced anxiety.
We’ve rounded up a few ways to calm yourself down when you feel yourself getting anxious while high.
1. Consume in a restful environment
If you’re the kind of person who gets anxious when they’re high, take time to create a peaceful environment around yourself before lighting up to mitigate your risk of a panic attack.
Usually, the best place to smoke is at home, but it could also be at a trusted friend’s house.
Then, play some of your favorite music as you start to inhale. It will help you fall into the right headspace as the THC starts interacting with your endocannabinoid system. The most relaxing music usually incorperates gentle tones with soft vocals.
You should also have some of your favorite snacks nearby, in case the munchies hit.
Finding the right environment is one of the most important steps to preventing anxiety while you’re high, if not the most important. Usually, something in your environment is what makes you anxious. It could be something simple, like a leak that needs to be fixed. But it could also be a person or even memories associated with the place.
If you’re aware of anxieties like that while sober, they will only feel more intense while high. Find a place you’re absolutely comfortable in before lighting up, then relax for a few hours.
If you feel an anxious feeling start to creep up as you get high, start using some common calming strategies. These are the same strategies you would use if you were sober, and they all have to do with focus. Focus on your breathing by taking a deep breath, counting to three, then exhaling for three seconds.
Or, you could find something interesting in the room you’re in, like a painting or a plant. Focus on it for a while, taking in the details while the anxiety creeps away.
For some people, getting anxious while high can actually be a good thing. While high, people tend to be more in touch with their emotions. Some people can even start experiencing hallucinations related to their state of mind while high.
If you’re feeling something this intense, and you’re in a safe space with trusted friends, this could be a chance to face your fears. Let the people around you know what you’re feeling. Try to describe why you feel that way.
And if there is nobody around, you could try creating something about the feeling instead. Journal the experience, or pick up a paintbrush and start making art. Through these strategies, you may reduce the anxiety associated with whatever was bothering you, improving your overall mental health.
FEELING DEPRESSED OR THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE? HELP IS AVAILABLE ANY TIME: National Toll-Free Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or online at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org
3. Don’t worry. You’ll come back down.
Most of the time, getting high is a fun and pleasant experience. But, like with any mind-altering substance, there can be times when you have a bad trip. You may start to feel anxious, or even scared, about something.
One common thing people start to fear is that they’ll be high forever. There is no truth to that. What goes up must come down, and just remembering that the experience will eventually end (usually within 24 hours) can be helpful to some people.