Pot And Depression
May 18, 2013
I just read a question to you, where the person had a bad experience with marijuana. In his case, other drugs were used. This has me thinking about something that happened to me, when I was about 15. I smoked pot one night. Soon after, I became very ill. I have never vomited as much as I did then. I became very shaky and was just out of it. Pot is the only drug I've ever done, but it seemed like stories from a bad trip on acid. My heart was racing. I was confused. I should have gone to the ER, but I didn't want anyone to find out about it. I finally fell asleep at some point. The next day, I felt different. I didn't feel myself. I would actually never feel the same again. It is hard to explain. I think the pot was laced with something. And, I think it affected brain chemicals. I went from a "normal" person to someone depressed. When I've discussed this with people, they think I'm crazy, saying nothing would immediately make you depressed from one-time use. Others say I was already depressed and just didn't recognize it. Some think I'm anti-pot, which I'm not.
I know I was fine and then changed. So, I've been dealing with depression and anxiety since. The depression is not severe, where I don't do anything or have no joy. It has affected my motivation. The main thing is I just don't feel the same--again, hard to describe. It is the kind of depression, where you just don't feel 100%. I feel more like 50%.
Have you seen this happen? This was about 1991, so I am not sure what it would have been laced with at that time. I always kept thinking my brain chemicals would level out, but they never did. After 21 years, I don't think my brain is going to fix itself. Depression meds have helped, but still never to where I am back to the old me. Having HIV has certainly exacerbated the depression and anxiety. Talk therapy is helpful for fears about the virus, but it can't fix out of whack brain chemicals. I've been wondering whether there are scans that can see whether you have low dopamine, serotonin, or others. I'm not sure what that would accomplish, except to know how off it is from a normal person.
Response from Dr. Fawcett
Thanks for writing. There are cases, although rare, of single episodes of a contaminant creating persistent psychotic symptoms. It is really impossible to say what happened then, or what you might have been exposed to. It is also true that early adulthood is a time when mental health issues, including some with psychotic features, can arise.
I would recommend getting a psychiatric workup to get a better understanding of what is happening and to review any treatment options.
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