Daikoku Discovers: Can cannabis cause paranoia?

Paranoia: Racing thoughts. Heart palpitations. The fear that people and things are out to get you.

We’ve all been there. Paranoia creeps in and unsettles us. Sometimes, it happens when we’re sober.

At other times, when we’re not:

Note: There have been no cases of anyone dying from over-consumption of cannabis. None. You’ll be fine. I promise. Eventually. You had edibles, didn’t you? 

(This is not medical advice; if you feel severe discomfort, call 811)

So am I paranoid ‘cause of weed?

Well, yes. But also, no.

Paranoia and Pot: It's complicated

In a UK study, some patients were injected with a consistent dose of THC while a control group was injected with a placebo. Half the patients who had received THC reported feelings of paranoia. As did 30% of the control group.

However, the conclusions the researches came to highlight a plethora of other effects also took effect during the 90 minutes during which THC was active in the bloodstream, including anxiety, negative self-narrative and worry. The combined effect of these can lead to paranoia. They posited that while the relationship between THC and paranoia was obvious, the paranoia was the sum of the parts rather than an outright effect.

“Paranoia is likely to occur when we are worried, think negatively about ourselves, and experience unsettling changes in our perceptions,”

Prof. Freeman, Study: how marijuana causes paranoia.

So it’s the THC then?

A study in Chicago showed that people who consumed 7.5mg of THC reported less negative feelings when placed in a stressful situation, and their stress levels decreased faster than the control group who had consumed no THC whatsoever.

However, test subjects who consumed larger quantities (eg: 12.5mg) of THC reported more negative feelings about the exercise. 

Effectively, it’s not ‘because of THC’ but rather ‘too much of it.’

It’s also important to note that “Too much” THC can vary from person to person.

If you’re new to cannabis, start low and go slow. 

Does CBD cause paranoia?

Most cannabis studies tend to focus on THC and its effects. The study of CBD in isolation has only just begun. Many of these effects seem to point to improving anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

So how do I avoid the paranoia?

Don’t run: weed can smell fear.

Or maybe that’s just the myrcene?

If you’re concerned about feeling anxious or paranoid when consuming cannabis:

  • Don’t consume cannabis or avoid high-THC strains. 
  • Add a bit of CBD into your intake, either by making a salad or by buying a balanced product
  • Consume in a safe place, where you feel comfortable; if it’s your first time, consume cannabis with someone who is either experienced (and will be kind) or with someone who will be sober

I’m bad tripping right now – what can I do?

“Never in the history of calming down
has anyone calmed down
by being told to calm down.”

People being told to calm down
  • Start by taking a deep breath (away from the smoke, maybe?)
  • Go to a familiar place where you feel comfortable and safe.
  • Do something that’s simple and easy that you enjoy doing when sober – paint, draw, dance, read or watch a familiar and well-loved TV show or movie
  • Take a bath or a shower
  • Take a nap or go to sleep

What’s the product that has got you the most paranoid? Any “scary” stories to share?

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