How cannabis abuse aggravated my borderline personality disorder to the point of medical intervention.
Marijuana is a controversial topic when it comes to mental health. I have friends who have been self-medicating for years, insisting that weed cures their anxiety and helps them cope with their depression. I also have friends who refuse to touch it, telling tales of intense paranoia, derealization, and projectile-vomiting.
Me? Well, at one point, I was convinced that cannabis was the answer to all of life’s problems. I was your typical die-hard stoner, ignorantly insisting to anyone who would listen that ‘weed isn’t a drug, it’s a plant.’ For a while, it was my saving grace, but I quickly learned the dangers of smoking cannabis when you have a pre-existing mental health condition.
Borderline Personality Disorder
I was a troubled college student when I started self-medicating with weed. At that point in my life, depression’s grip on me was firm, and my panic attacks were growing more frequent, but it wasn’t the sadness nor the anxiety that drove me to drug addiction.
It was the intense, explosive mood swings followed by periods of crushing emptiness. It was the toll of my string of toxic relationships and the guilt I felt for my constant co-dependency. It was the anger, frustration, and suicidal despair that erupted out of me every time I didn’t get a text back.
I didn’t know it back then, but I was suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD).
To cope with my emotional turmoil and unstable self-identity, I did what many people with BPD do and engaged in self-destructive behavior. I spent excessive amounts of money, took dodgy pills in clubs, and drank to excess, but nothing seemed to calm the storm – that is until I started smoking weed.
The first few months of heavy smoking was blissful. My relationship with my boyfriend blossomed, free from the daily arguments, suicide threats, and co-dependent clinginess. My bad thoughts lingered barely long enough for me to acknowledge them, and whatever anger I had seemed to evaporate with the smoke.
I welcomed the brain fog with open arms, but it lulled me into a false sense of security. My mental health was gradually deteriorating, but I didn’t realize it until I was fully entangled in a web of paranoia, delusions, and depersonalization.
Paranoia and Hallucinations
Paranoia is a common symptom of BPD, and it is something that I experienced well before I started smoking weed. However, my quiet suspicion that everyone secretly hated me inflamed into full-blown delusions and auditory hallucinations once I started smoking cannabis regularly.
It started small. If I heard my housemates talking when I was high – not even the actual words, just the low rumble of conversation, I would be absolutely convinced that they were talking about me. My brain would fashion this muffled nonsense into elaborate insults, and I would stand with my ear to the wall or door for what felt like hours in a state of panic.
It only got worse. If I went outside, I was certain that strangers could read my thoughts, and they snickered behind my back as I passed them in the street. When I was hanging out with my friends, as soon as my back was turned, I would hear them whispering together, ridiculing me.
Even when I isolated myself, I wasn’t safe – every person passing by my window taunted and jeered at me, calling me names as I curled up underneath my bedsheets with my hands over my ears.
My boyfriend bore the brunt of my delusional suspicions. Despite him telling me time and time again that “no-one is saying anything” or “it’s way too muffled to hear,” I would declare him a liar and scream at him for conspiring against me. Not only that, but my fear of abandonment (another BPD symptom) heightened to the point where my boyfriend could barely move a muscle without me accusing him of planning to abandon me.
Another symptom of borderline personality disorder is an unstable self-identity. I’d always struggled with my sense of self, frequently changing friend groups, aspirations, romantic interests, tastes in music– even my sexual identity fluctuated as I battled with a constantly wavering self-image. However, after a few months of heavy smoking, my symptoms took a dark turn into depersonalization.
It started with ‘brain fog,’ a heaviness in my head that made it difficult for me to think clearly. This foggy feeling progressed into a sense of detachment, where I felt as though I was an outside observer of my thoughts and emotions. I struggled to connect to anything, even my own memories becoming abstract and alien.
Eventually, my precarious self-identity crumbled, and I became plagued by such a debilitating emptiness that I was convinced I didn’t exist at all.
What To Take Away
Things got so bad that I required medical intervention for cannabis-induced psychosis. Even in my unwell state, when I was diagnosed with this, I laughed out loud as though it was the funniest joke in the world and said, “But weed doesn’t cause psychosis! Weed is safe!”
And I think that’s the most dangerous thing about it.
While medical marijuana may have its benefits, weed’s reputation as a ‘safe’ drug means that many people aren’t aware of the debilitating effect that it can have on people with mental health conditions. In the case of BPD, pre-existing symptoms like paranoia, anxiety, and chronic emptiness can be seriously aggravated by cannabis – but our impulsivity means that we are more likely to reach for it under the assumption that it is the ‘safer option.’
After a few failed attempts at experimenting with different strains and methods of administration, I made the decision to quit weed completely – and it worked wonders for my mental health. The auditory hallucinations stopped as soon as I sobered up, and after a month or so, my paranoia and depersonalization were back to whatever can be considered ‘normal’ for someone with BPD. The experience even lowered my impulsivity, making me extremely wary of inhaling so much as a wisp of second-hand smoke!
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About the Author: This guest post was written by Anonymous.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
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8 thoughts on “My Experience with Cannabis as an Undiagnosed Borderline”
Great article, i’ve had many of those same experiences myself. Definitely time for people to treat pot like a real drug, when you have BPD and smoke it all the time you feel like you aren’t even there
I don’t think you have BPD. Good news. BPD aren’t mood swings, they are instant attacks of emotion like anger. Like you just want to kick the shit out of something and I’m being polite. And all of that becomes a swirl like swim of bad decisions because the anger is always stemming while simultaneously building from past and present. That’s BPD. And marijuana helps that. There are studies right now showing the amygdala imbalance. So please, if you are not diagnosed, remove this so people who are can get help.
I am diagnosed. I also have severe chronic pain from various physical conditions. Docs had me on so many opiates and other meds like lyrica, nsaids, anti depressants and others including benzos and ambien, allll together, crazy they actually destroyed me, 22 pills and day for at least 4 years I was on till I decided to cut that down to just 2 pills because my liver and kidneys were about to start failing if I didn’t….. I lost control of life, doctors didn’t monitor me, became bedbound and nearly died, suicidal mor times than I can count and 4 attempts. I never did drugs or even drank or smoked, I hated weed n even broke up with an ex who smoked it. But after I came off the pills, the pain in my body from my physical ailments including a lot of neuropathic pain got worse. I couldn’t cope off meds but I didn’t want to go back to pharmaceutical meds over the result in my body from them. So I opted to accept and try a natural route, cannabis. Saved me, I fought long and hard for medicinal access in a country where its not even medicinal legal, ireland. But I got nothing so I had to buy from the street, unmonitored. All I can say is this story I read here is my exact experience, on cloud 9 till I lost my mind in paranoia. I’m going to try quit now, I think this person is right. So Courtney, please please don’t make assumptions, I used to defend it in my head saying there’s no way it’s the cannabis, I just realised it just might be the cannabis. Cannabis is incredible, no doubt a marvel of this earth, but for some people like us bpds, it can be catastrophic if not monitored by an experienced medical professional, or even if it is monitored I dunno but all I know is the author of this article is on the money with my experience, totally relate. Xx thank you for this x
I agree with Courtney. If you are undiagnosed, don’t write articles about mental disorders. It confuses the rest of us who are actually diagnosed, and looking for information. Also, do a lot more research than you did, such as YouTube videos, other writers’ articles. Etc, etc. Know all the information, the correct information. Get diagnosed, then write an article of what you have been diagnosed with. Otherwise, shhhhhh.
I have mixed personality disorder and an anxiety disorder and am getting diagnosed with autism. Everything the lady in the post said I have experienced. People with BPD do have mood swings. Its the actual worst. I drank for years just to deal with it and even now the medication is not good enough that they put you on in England. I wish there was better medication for bpd and maybe we wouldn’t have to use drugs or drink to deal with it. Shame really. The amount of self harm ov done to myself is horrendous from my throat to arms to belly. There seems to be nothing but beer that helps with me. I ovs can’t smoke weed as my delusional state would be horrible and they scare me but there’s gotta be some help?
I am BPD diagnosed and cannabis has done wonders for me on my journey to recovery. I understand that everyone and their bodies are different – so this is just my opinion. I believe it best not to write articles like this when you are undiagnosed because it can confuse the people who ARE diagnosed and are looking for information. Not invalidating your feelings – just some advice.
Wishing you the best xxx
We appreciate you reading and sharing your personal experiences. For many with BPD using cannabis or other substances can make treatment(s) less effective.
I agree with the comments saying “if you have not got professionally diagnosed about bpd, then do not proced talking about it” why? It is really important to seek profesional help before even trying to learn if cannabis is a good option or not for you, also an important part is that the effects vary a lot from strain to strain and such and everyone has different reaction to cannabis.
The best we can do is of course first seek profesional help, then, as I currently am, do an extensive research to know if it works for you or not and a really really important part of a treatment is the dosage and desired effects on the person depending on it. Sadly we at the moment don’t count with proper research of medical cannabis because of the high restrictions we still have.
I have been diagnosed with BPD for about two years and as long as I can remember I have always had BPD, I have been treated with controlled drugs like antidepressants, anticonvulsants and more stuff and I am currently worried of long term effects due to the aggressive treatment so I started looking for a treatment I can use by long term and cannabis has helped me but finding the correct dosage and strain is the tricky part, there’s new research about how cannabis affects bpd and CBD is a good option and preferably low THC strains (indica), and look for specific strains that contains the desired effects for the person. But as I had said earlier, sadly we do not have concrete studies about it (since it has been found not everyone reacts the same way and it varies from person to person) because of the strict laws.