About 2 months ago, after smoking a little bit of pot (have been smoking it avidly on a regular basis for about 2 years) I noticed my heart rate was going pretty fast. After a while it was pounding and I thought I was having a heart attack. I freaked and ran to my neighbor (university residence) and they convinced me it was an anxiety attack. I calmed down after a bit and laughed it off (even though I was shaking for a good hour after). Anyways, the next day, and pretty much every subsequent day for like a month, I had at least 1 panic attack. Whether it be the full blown heart pounding & palpitating, muscles tensing up and freaking out attack, or whether it be just feeling anxious for the whole day. After a few weeks of it I got sick and tired and went to the doctor. She scheduled an echocardiogram, and a holter monitor test (both which turned out to be fine).
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After that doctor’s appointment, I had a severe anxiety episode (at this point in time I thought there was something wrong with my heart – before the results of the echo or the holter monitor) and checked into the ER for a few hours where they did a chest X-ray, blood test, and an electrocardiogram (all fine again).
I have smoked pot 3 times since the initial anxiety attack. 2/3 of those times I have experienced a bad anxiety attack. The first time was only a day after the initial attack, same symptoms. The second time I could feel a panic attack coming but I was with my friend and as we talked I calmed myself down and was pretty OK for the rest of the night (smoked a lot more pot). The third time (after all my tests came back fine), even though I was telling myself “I know its just anxiety, theres nothing wrong with me, no need to panic”, my heart was still pounding so fast, and palpitating so hard that I had a panic attack regardless.
I have now cut out pot completely (as well as cigarettes too!) from my daily life. But I am still feeling day to day anxiety. My doctor gave me some meds to take for when I have an attack or am just feeling anxious, but I don’t want to have to rely on medication to deal with this bullshit. The symptoms that I now feel on a day-to-day basis are:
General shortness of breath (not severe, just at the point where I feel uncomfortable)(I find that lying on my stomach or hugging a pillow or something makes me feel better)
- Tightness of chest (muscles are all tense)
- Lightheaded-ness (only sometimes)
Heart Palpitations (I constantly check my pulse, am trying to stop worrying about it so much)
I have read up on the effects of marijuana and anxiety, and it worries me to see that people with the same general backstory as me have had to deal with anxiety for 5-6 years since their initial panic attacks began. I don’t want to have to do that. My parents are suggesting therapy, and I don’t know if I want to do that either, I have always thought that therapy was a complete waste of time but if it will help me stop this constant anxiety then maybe I should do it? Anyone have any good suggestions/experience with this kind of problem?