My OD and subsequent ordeal with DP/DR was in May of 2014 and I'm now coming up on 2 years. It's been about a year since I had any DP/DR symptoms and I'm completely back to normal. I have had several times where I've had a LOT of caffeine and even a few hangovers with no DP/DR symptoms of any kind. I am definitely 100% recovered. For those who've read my posts, you know I had really serious DP/DR symptoms that lasted quite a while. Based on my experience and the experiences of the many other people I've corresponded with and talked to, it seems like marijuana induced DP/DR lasts between 3 and 6 months for most people who get it. It goes away faster if you work diligently on getting rid of it (see my 12 points in a previous post).
I'm also a firm believer that you don't need to have a pre-existing anxiety disorder to get DP/DR from marijuana. All you need is to have a serious and prolonged panic attack while you're high. This happens to a lot of people....particularly young people. There are a few commonalities in most of the marijuana panic attack stories I've read and heard. You are at a high risk of having a bad panic attack from pot and getting DP/DR under the following circumstances:
1. Use of edibles - edibles produce a MUCH longer high with different sensations that can be more physical in nature.
2. Large or larger dose than usual - larger or more THC potent doses of marijuana can have a much different effect than smaller doses.
3. Inexperience or infrequent use - most people who experience serious panic attacks that cause DP/DR do not have an established tolerance to marijuana and/or are not use to its effects.
4. Youth - young people are often less emotionally prepared to deal with the intense and unexpected effects of hallucinogenics and are more prone to panic attacks.
5. Intense setting/set - how you respond to being high on marijuana depends somewhat on the setting and your mind-set at the time. If you're in a nice, quiet place and you're pretty happy when you get high, you have less of a chance of panic than say, if you're at a rave and your boyfriend just broke up with you.
These are of course, generalizations. I had my overdose at the age of 46 and although I hadn't used marijuana in few years, I was hardly unfamiliar with it, having used quite a bit when I was younger. I was also alone at home in a quiet, relaxing setting and in a pretty good mood....looking forward to a bit of fun. However, in my case, I did have a huge dose of edible marijuana after not using for several years. I had no tolerance and although I expected it to be a pleasant experience, it turned out to be one of the most intensely horrifying experiences of my life.
I had absolutely no history of anxiety and the whole experience was very eye-opening for me. I had no idea that it was possible to experience generalized anxiety....e.g. anxiety about nothing in particular.
Now that I'm looking at this experience in the rear-view mirror at a good emotional distance, I've gained a real appreciation for my mental and emotional health and how fragile it actually is. I've also developed a mistrust of marijuana as a recreational drug. I'm fine with it as a medicine, and I still think it shouldn't be criminalized, but it is far from harmless. I've had a few wicked hang-overs from drinking that left me feeling sick for a day or two, but my misadventure with marijuana left me an emotional and cognitive cripple for months and landed me in therapy. To be frank, I'm a bit surprised that this dark side of marijuana isn't more widely known and that the marijuana industry hasn't taken steps to make the public more aware of it. I wouldn't wish the experience on my worst enemy and I've read enough recent accounts of other people who've had similar experience to know that mine was not an isolated case.
People are showing up at ERs more frequently in all the states where marijuana has been legalized and these people are reporting extended DP/DR symptoms as a result. I think it's high time (pun completely intended) that the public was educated about the very real possibility of a marijuana overdose and the terrifying and lengthy consequences. Nothing annoys me more than the many pundits who claim that it's impossible to overdose on marijuana because they define an overdose only as being a fatal misadventure. I don't doubt that thousands of people are subjected to extended marijuana induced DP/DR on a regular basis, but the public never hears about it because the marijuana industry doesn't want to advertise the risk and because people are reluctant to come forward.
I think the marijuana industry has a responsibility to educate and inform people about the risk. I'd be an advocate of some sort of labeling like we currently require on alcoholic beverages. It certainly would have saved me from experiencing the worst year of my life.