Cannabis offers several health benefits. And it’s an enjoyable recreational activity for many people. But some find it difficult to get the most out of the plant due to cannabis related paranoia.
This article will discuss cannabis related paranoia, why it happens, and how to overcome it.
Why Do People Experience Cannabis Related Paranoia?
The effects of marijuana occur when THC (the psychoactive compound in the plant) binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. One of these receptors, the amygdala, is responsible for regulating the response to fear-related emotions. Weed with a high THC content can overstimulate the amygdala leading to feelings of paranoia and anxiety.
Not everyone experiences paranoia when they use THC. Some may only experience it on occasion.
Why Do I Get Paranoid When I Smoke Weed?
There is no clear reason as to why some people get paranoid and others don’t. Factors to consider include:
Genetics: A 2019 animal study suggests that cannabis produces positive effects, such as relaxation and decreased anxiety when it targets the front region of the brain. People with a large concentration of reward-producing opioid receptors in the front of the brain will be more likely to have a good experience when using weed. People with more THC sensitivity in the back of the brain may experience paranoia and anxiety.
THC Content: The THC content in the marijuana you are using can also affect your experience. A 2017 study showed that 7.5 milligrams of THC reduced feelings of negativity associated with specific tasks, while 12.5 milligrams doses increased feelings of anxiety.
Sex: A 2014 animal study showed that higher estrogen levels found in women can increase cannabis sensitivity by up to 30%. If you are a woman, you are more likely to experience cannabis’s positive and negative effects when you consume the drug.
Mental Health: If you are prone to mistrustful thinking, anxiety, and depression in your everyday life, you are more likely to experience cannabis related paranoia.
Other Drugs: If you are mixing cannabis with other prescription or non-prescription drugs, it may increase feelings of marijuana related paranoia.
Age: Your brain changes as you age. Older users often experience more paranoia than younger users. What’s more, the THC content in weed is higher than it used to be. Younger smokers may have built up more of a tolerance than older smokers.
The Type of Weed You are Using: You may experience more cannabis related paranoia if you take edibles. Edibles tend to have a higher THC content. They also hit harder after going through your digestive system.
How to Minimize Feelings of Cannabis Related Paranoia
You can minimize feelings of cannabis related paranoia by:
Relaxing: You can make consuming weed a more relaxing experience by creating a soothing environment in your home. Try turning down the lights, lighting candles, and listening to calming music. You can also partake in exercises like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation.
Smelling Pepper: The terpenes in pepper share chemical similarities to cannabinoids. This may be why it is effective in reducing the effects of too much THC. If you are experiencing cannabis related paranoia, try grinding up fresh peppercorns. Take in a deep breath but avoid getting too close to the pepper as you may experience stinging eyes and sneezing.
Making Lemonade: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade… we mean, like, literally. Like peppers, lemons also contain a terpene (limonene) that counters the effects of too much THC. You will experience a calming effect by drinking water with a twist of lemon. Add sugar and honey if desired.
How to Avoid Cannabis Related Paranoia
There are also steps you can take to avoid cannabis related paranoia in the future. These include:
Using Products with Less THC: Cannabis with low levels of THC will be less likely to make you paranoid. Try using less cannabis than you normally would. Wait 30 minutes to an hour to see how it affects you. If you don’t experience paranoia, gradually increase your dose until you find your sweet spot.
Using Marijuana with a High CBD Content: CBD is found in some marijuana products. It is non-psychoactive so it will reduce THC effects while providing health benefits. It can even provide antipsychotic effects that reduce cannabis related paranoia. You will find marijuana products with a CBD to THC ratio ranging from 1:1 to 25:1.
Getting Professional Help for Anxiety and Paranoia: You may find that you are dealing with anxiety and paranoia that get worse when you use cannabis. In this case, you may choose to get professional help to address your mental health disorders at their core. Doing so will help promote overall well-being.
Change Your Ingestion Method: Changing your ingestion method may reduce cannabis related paranoia. For example, if you are smoking marijuana, you may consider using it in an oil or capsule. Different methods will hit you differently and change the way marijuana affects your mood.
Try the 15 Factors: Experts suggest that 15 factors impact your cannabis experience. For example, the things you ate earlier in the day or the exercise you engaged in could play a role in how marijuana makes you feel. The Jointly app will help you track the 15 factors so you can enjoy an optimal marijuana experience.
Cannabis-Related Paranoia May Continue After You Stop Using
Some people may choose to stop using marijuana, but they will still feel the paranoia creeping in. This is likely to happen if you used a lot of cannabis in the past and experienced paranoia while high.
A 2017 study suggests that paranoia can be a side effect of cannabis withdrawal. Withdrawal from cannabis can cause mood and behavioral symptoms which typically subside within 4 weeks.
If your symptoms last longer, become severe, and/or interfere with your ability to function, you may consider talking to a specialist.
Now that you know the causes of cannabis related paranoia, you can take steps to make your experience as pleasant as possible. What will you be doing to get the most out of your marijuana use?