The Stoner Experience is a new column in which writers will offer their personal experiences with marijuana in the hopes of offering some insight into how weed affects people differently in various situations, and how it can also affect us all so similarly.
It was a Friday night, it was summer, and the weather was a delightful 70 degrees or so. I had just smoked a few bowls with some friends at a party and felt stoned as hell. I was content for the moment until a drunk girl began talking to me.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I’m around drunk people and I’m not drunk, their behavior goes from annoying to frustrating quite quickly. In this particular scenario the girl talked without any break or pause and left no possibility for comment. What started happening in my head was regrettable. I suddenly became increasingly aware of myself, my palms began to sweat, and my heart began to palpitate. I was stuck talking to this girl and I didn’t have an opportunity to excuse myself without seeming rude. And, it was freaking me out.
God knows it seems stupid now, but being rude to a friend of a friend seemed like social suicide at the time and I didn’t want to commit it. So, I began to panic. Ultimately, what I ended up doing was literally running away while she continued to discuss whatever it was that she was saying.
That incident, along with a few others around the same time, caused me to blame the weed for my anxiety. Now, I had already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I knew that the weed had little to do with it, but I gave up my ten-year love affair with herb in the hope of releasing myself from some of this anxiety. Of course this hiatus didn’t last more than a year because, let’s face it, sometimes you just get bored and there’s nothing better to do than smoke a little weed. What I’ve found is that the paranoia people experience when on weed is amplified exponentially if you suffer from anxiety. While weed can have a calming and relaxing effect for some people, if you suffer from anxiety, it can work against you.
I find that moderation is the key. I now only smoke two hits at a time. That way I get stoned but I don’t lose myself in paranoid thought or catastrophic thinking. Now, there are times where I still feel the cold sting of anxiety creep up on me while stoned but since I’m only a little bit high, I can justify the anxiety away without freaking out. If you find yourself having a full blown panic attack on weed, it can be damaging but try to remind yourself that you’re just high and that the high will wear off. If you find that every time you smoke you feel uncomfortable and you can’t control your own thoughts, you may want to think about moderating your intake.
Do you suffer from anxiety and also enjoy marijuana? If so, please share your story below. Do you disagree and think that weed helps with your anxiety?