Don’t Just Tell Me Not to: How Cannabis Can Help Panic Disorder

Don’t Just Tell Me Not to: How Cannabis Can Help Panic Disorder

Unpredictable and uncontrollable – that’s what a panic attack is. Panic disorder sufferers live in fear of an impending attack, not knowing when the next one might strike. This is no way to live, and cannabis can help to change the course of every day for those likely to experience a panic attack at any moment. Here’s an explanation about panic disorder and how medical cannabis, via its CBD properties, can help.

About Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks. Panic attacks cannot be predicted – therefore, an individual may become stressed, anxious worried or outright fearful – wondering when the next panic attack will occur. As such, they might be afraid to be alone or far from medical help.

Some people wonder whether panic disorder is an extreme version of anxiety, however the DSM-IV-TR describes panic disorder and anxiety differently.  Panic attacks have a sudden or out-of-blue cause that lasts a shorter time than anxiety, and with more intense symptoms. Anxiety attacks have stressors that build, over time, to less severe reactions and can last for weeks or months.  Panic attacks can occur in children, as well as adults.  There are other schools of thought that panic disorder is differentiated as a medical condition, or chemical imbalance. 

Panic attacks may change behavior and function at home, school, or work.  People with the disorder often worry about the effects of their panic attacks.


A panic attack begins suddenly, most often peaking within 10 – 20 minutes, with some symptoms continuing for an hour or more.  A panic attack may be mistaken for a heart attack, leading many to check in to the emergency room thinking their lives are on the brink, the thought of which can lead to further panic.      

People with panic disorder have at least four of the following symptoms during an attack:

• Chest pain or discomfort
• Dizziness or faintness
• Fear of dying
• Fear of losing control or impending doom
• Feeling of choking
• Feelings of detachment
• Feelings of unreality
• Nausea or upset stomach
• Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face
• Palpitations, fast heart rate, or pounding heart
• Sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
• Sweating, chills, or hot flashes
• Trembling or shaking


People who get panic attacks should avoid alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine or drugs like cocaine. Unfortunately panic attack sufferers are sometimes experiencing these attacks because they are abusing alcohol or drugs, leading to a vicious cycle of the trigger actually worsening the symptoms.

How Cannabis Can Help

The cannabidiol (CBD) in cannabis can do the trick for panic attacks. Cannabidiol, also known as “CBD”, is a major constituent of medical cannabis, and represents up to 40% of extracts of the medical cannabis plant.  Among its benefits, cannabidiol relieves anxiety and nausea, thus helping in the event of a panic attack because it can induce anxiolytic (meaning anti-anxiety) effects. A disruption of prefrontal-subcritical connectivity by CBD may represent neurophysiologic correlates of its anxiolytic properties.  In addition, animal models employing behavioral as well as neurochemical techniques suggest that CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to that of an atypical antipsychotic drug.

CBD is associated with the following relief and/or prevention for panic attacks:

  • Eliminates anxiety and stress in minutes
  • Sharpens focus
  • Prevents fatigue, tension, nausea and nervousness
  • Creates an overall calming effect

What Kind of Cannabis?
Choose an Indica dominant hybrid  of at least 80% Indica. You need a strain with higher CBD levels and lower THC levels.  Use a cannabis extract (oil, glycerin, alcohol) or vaporize the medical marijuana. 

Best Strains:  Strawberry Cough, OG Kush, Mango, Blueberry Kush, Blueberry, Cotton Candy, Domino, Bubbleberry, White Satin, Jack Flash, Hawaiian Indica, Snow White, Bog Sour Bubble, Burmaberry, White Widow, Romulan, Juicy Fruit, Sensi Star, Skunk #1, G-13, Blue Moonshine, Super Impact, Strawberry Diesel, Purple Dragon, Master Kush, Mandala #1, Satori.

Know anyone suffering from panic attacks? Encourage them to check out their local medical marijuana dispensary for assistance in finding just the right strain and dosage for them.


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