One of the only downsides of cannabis is that it can sometimes cause paranoia. You’ve likely felt it yourself or know about it from a wide range of stoner comedies and movies.
One thing we need to remember is that it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Some people rarely experience paranoia from cannabis, while others do more often.
The question is then, why does cannabis sometimes cause paranoia? Find out everything you need to know about cannabis in paranoia by continuing to read below.
What Is Paranoia?
Before we get into it, we need to know what paranoia actually is. By definition, paranoia is thinking and feeling like you’re being threatened in some way, even if nothing is happening.
Most of the time, paranoia is exaggerated suspicions. After all, everyone has paranoid feelings, even in our day-to-day lives.
Imagine this, you arrive alone at a party, or it’s your first day in a new job. You get the feeling that people are staring at you, talking about you, or even laughing about you.
You probably know that these are just paranoid thoughts, but you can still feel paranoid even if you know what you’re thinking is irrational.
After all, paranoia is influenced heavily by anxiety and fear. Being overly anxious about people’s opinions or certain situations can lead to paranoid thoughts.
The same thing goes with fear. Perhaps you’re fearing giving a speech and think that everyone is waiting for you to mess up.
What Causes Paranoia in Cannabis?
Remember, in cannabis, there are hundreds of different compounds. There are cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBG, as well as terpenes and flavonoids.
However, researchers think that only one compound is responsible for paranoid feelings—THC. The reason why is because of something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for making us feel high. Not only that but THC has been shown to relieve feelings of anxiety.
THC may be able to do these things because of its interaction with the ECS. The ECS is a complex system in our body that helps us stay in equilibrium.
That means that if we get sick or injured, the ECS kicks in and helps us return to normal. The ECS also plays a role in anxiety.
If we’re feeling overly anxious, the ECS can fire up and send out natural cannabinoids to tell our brain to chill out. It does that by sending these natural cannabinoids to a part of our brain called the amygdala.
Without going into too much detail, the amygdala helps us respond to anxiety, fear, stress, and paranoia.
Now here’s the thing—THC, being a cannabinoid, can also interact with the ECS receptors found in the amygdala. Now you might be wondering, if that’s the case, then how come it doesn’t help reduce anxiety and paranoia?
The answer is—it does! The problem is that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
Too Much THC
Have you ever wondered why you only get paranoid sometimes after smoking cannabis? It’s because of THC’s *biphasic* response.
That fancy word means that a compound will have the opposite effect at different doses. In THC’s case, small amounts can cause anxieties to decrease.
However, too much THC causes the exact opposite, and anxieties begin to increase. More anxiety leads to more fear which inevitably leads to paranoia.
Another problem might be the ever-increasing potency of cannabis. For the past two or three decades, cannabis has been getting stronger and stronger.
Now we have THC strains that are nearly 30% THC content, and most strains easily surpass 20%. So now, it might be difficult not to get anxious and paranoid with such potent weed.
Mood and The Environment
Sometimes where we smoke can cause paranoia to flare up. Remember, the setting (or place) where you smoke has a significant effect on your high.
If you’re at home on the couch alone or with some friends, there’s probably not a lot to worry about. Or, maybe you’re at a party where you don’t know many people, and that can cause your anxiety and fear to go up.
Another thing that can trigger paranoia is your current mood. If you’re already stressed out, then getting high can push you over the edge into paranoia.
If you’re relaxed and in a great mood, then it’s much less likely that cannabis will start to make you feel paranoid.
Genetics and Tolerance
Another reason why some people might get more paranoid than others is just down to genetics. It turns out that some people may be more prone to feeling good from cannabis, while others might get paranoid more easily.
On top of that, there’s a tolerance aspect. Some people may have a higher tolerance to the adverse effects of cannabis.
Once again, that could be because of genetics or sex and age. Also, some people have a tolerance from smoking cannabis regularly.
How Do I Stop Feeling Paranoid From Cannabis?
If you end up feeling anxious and paranoid from cannabis too often, then you might need a new approach. You might need to stop smoking high-THC strains or smoke only a little bit of cannabis at a time.
As we mentioned before, high-THC strains are the norm now. Maybe you feel like you only had a bit, but in reality, you’re dosing yourself with too much THC.
You can also find cannabis strains that have a higher amount of CBD. It’s theorized that CBD can counteract the effects of THC.
That’s because CBD can block THC from interacting with the ECS. On top of that, CBD may have anti-anxiety effects of its own.
The next time you’re in your local dispensary, you can look for strains that have a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD.
If you still find your paranoia kicking up, then you can always start using CBD products. Full-spectrum CBD products (like tinctures) often have all the benefits of cannabis without the paranoia or the high.
In either case, make sure to buy high-quality cannabis products that have been tested. That way, you know exactly how much THC and CBD are in the product you’re buying.
Once you find the strain or product that’s right for you, you’ll be anxiety and paranoia-free.