Depersonalization: The Marijuana Trigger

by Dr. R.E. Freedman

The strong sensation of unreality, detachment and inability to relate to your surroundings hits you out of the blue. It might occur while smoking marijuana with friends, but why are you the only one experiencing this disconnection from reality? A wave of fear washes over you and near panic combines with this feeling of unreality. You fearfully wonder about the marijuana you were smoking and why such a strong reaction occurred. It’s hard to believe you were the only one reacting in such a disturbing way and once again, why just you? You convince yourself that a good night’s rest might be the answer but find it difficult to settle down and disengage from your fears concerning this frightening reaction.

You awaken the next morning only to find you are still plagued with this strange disconnected sensation and the terrifying memory of the night before. You try to describe it but words are difficult. You feel as if still high from the marijuana, as though it never wore off.

You try to resolve this puzzle by retracing the events of the night before and continue to come to the same alarming conclusion that the marijuana must have harmed you in some way! Once again you call everyone from the previous night who all state they are fine, which only adds to your feelings of dread and uneasiness. Your concern grows as you realize you still feel “strange,” “odd,” “high” and extremely fearful of the core sensation of unreality. You come to the conclusion that you must be “damaged” from the marijuana and your fears escalate. Even though you never experienced reactions previous to this event, you are now overcome with the notion that something went terribly”wrong.”

Convinced you are damaged for life, you begin searching on the internet for answers, which instantly fuels your fears as you are barraged with the upsetting tales shared by others with similar reactions. Symptoms and length of time others have suffered with these symptoms hit you right between the eyes and ramp up your already adrenaline fueled mind and body. Your cold sweat finally abates when you ultimately find what you were looking for… a name for what you have been experiencing. At this moment you feel both relieved and fearful at the same time. Depersonalization describes exactly what you have been experiencing and you’re no longer alone.


Definition: The feeling of unreality brought on by extreme stress, fear or shock or trauma. The experience of feeling detached, unreal, separated or numb.


Definition: Experiencing a difference or change in the way you perceive your surroundings, where they feel or look different and strange to you

Though experienced in a slightly different way (some experience both), depersonalization and derealization are treated identically and respond well to the same treatment when correctly approached.


There are many triggers which initiate feelings of depersonalization/derealization and marijuana is now one of the foremost triggers, along with extreme stress, certain medications, prolonged worry, intense anxiety and other mood altering substances.

Symptoms of Depersonalization/Derealization

Feelings of Unreality

Fuzzy feeling in head

Inability to concentrate

Detached Sensation

Surroundings look different



Loss of Appetite





Racing Heart

Natural Treatment of Depersonalization/Derealization Triggered by Marijuana Use

It’s imperative to know that depersonalization and derealization is the result of a shock or traumatic experience resulting in a strong memory experience leading to the compulsion to fearfully worry. This habit or behavior takes on a life of its own, well after the trigger has disappeared. The new behavior cycles all through the day and exhausts the mind in a way that makes concentration difficult, which adds to the cycle of fear. It is essential that one learns to BREAK THE CYCLE and allow the mind to refresh, so clarity returns.


First Step of Recovery

Retrain the Brain: One must recognize this habit of fearful worry and immediately begin the process of interrupting this behavior. You are training a fearful mind to recognize this disruptive behavior and replace it with the proper correction. This is not difficult but is quite specific and requires strict adherence.

Second Step of Recovery

Nutritional Therapy: In conjunction with specific behavioral therapy, one must learn how to boost Serotonin levels naturally and maintain balanced blood sugar levels through diet and nutrition. The food plan is a strong part of the therapy and as important a factor as the behavioral therapy. This combination results in rejuvenation of the mind (and body), as clarity replaces foggy thought and life returns to normal.

In Conclusion

This process does not require a long or drawn out period of time. Remember, you are not ill. This is a tired mind, exhausted by the habit of constant fearful worry. It does require one’s full commitment and willingness to follow the process as presented in detail. It is as simple as following as recipe but one’s participation is required.

For further information contact:

Article Written By: Dr. R. E. Freedman
Office Phone: 215-635-4700
Office Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (EST), Mon-Sun.

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