"When I was in college, I tried marijuana and went into a total panic attack, paranoid. It took hours for me to calm down. Now, years later I have a friend that uses it successfully for fibromyalgia (which I also suffer with). Does it always cause panic attacks? How could I avoid this, but get relief from the fibromyalgia? "
Every individual responds to cannabis in their own way. Some people are more sensitive to some of the chemical components of the plant, and do report symptoms of anxiousness with certain strain types or products.
The strain type may matter less than the content of certain cannabinoids. Higher concentrations of THC may contribute to this "feeling of paranoia". Increasing the amount of CBD (cannabidiol) and decreasing the amount of THC in the product helps avoid this reaction.
Increased feelings of anxiousness with one product or strain, does not mean the same reaction will occur with another type of cannabis. Some individuals report sensitivity to either Sativa or Indica strains and tend to self select away from them when they note the unpleasant sensation.
I encourage you to start slow, find a good quality dispensary that focuses on medicinal products and can help you try products that fit your needs. I encourage my new cannabis patients to keep a journal of effects when they first begin to use in order to reflect on which products are the most helpful and avoiding products that do not provide relief or cause anxiety.
I recommend you check out the book: Cannabis Pharmacy by Michael Backes. It is a great basic cannabis consumer guide book and may help you with you decision.