Cannabis is commonly associated with relaxation, but it is also known to cause paranoia or anxiety in some people. What’s going on?
To begin, it’s critical to understand what paranoia entails. It’s similar to anxiety, but more focused.
The term “paranoia” refers to an irrational fear of other people.
Why it happens
Cannabis-related paranoia, according to experts, is caused by your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Certain compounds in cannabis, including THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, bind to endocannabinoid receptors in various parts of your brain, including the amygdala, when you use it.
Your amygdala regulates your reaction to fear and other related emotions such as anxiety, stress, and — wait for it — paranoia. When you use THC-rich cannabis, your brain receives significantly more cannabinoids than usual. According to research, an excess of cannabinoids may overstimulate the amygdala, causing fear and anxiety.
This would also explain why products rich in cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that doesn’t directly bind to endocannabinoid receptors, don’t seem to cause paranoia.
Why you might be more prone to it
Not everyone who uses cannabis experiences paranoia. Furthermore, most people who do have it don’t notice it every time they use cannabis.
So, what factors increase a person’s chances of experiencing it? There is no single answer, but there are a few major considerations.
According to a 2019Trusted Source animal study, cannabis tends to produce positive effects such as relaxation and decreased anxiety when it stimulates the front region of the brain more.
The authors of the study believe this is due to the large number of reward-producing opioid receptors in the front of the brain.
However, if the back of your brain is more sensitive to THC than the front, you may experience an adverse reaction, which often includes paranoia and anxiety.
Marijuana with a higher THC content may also cause paranoia and other negative symptoms.
In a 2017 study of 42 healthy adults, researchers discovered evidence that consuming 7.5 milligrams (mg) of THC reduced negative feelings associated with a stressful task. A higher dose of 12.5 mg, on the other hand, had the opposite effect, amplifying the same negative feelings.
While other factors such as tolerance, genetics, and brain chemistry can all play a role, consuming a large amount of cannabis at once or using high-THC strains are more likely to cause paranoia or anxiety.
An animal study published in 2014 A reliable source investigating THC tolerance discovered evidence that higher estrogen levels can increase cannabis sensitivity by up to 30% and lower tolerance for marijuana.
What does this have to do with you? Females, on the other hand, may be more sensitive to cannabis and its effects. This applies to both positive and negative effects, such as pain relief and paranoia.
How to handle it
If you’re experiencing cannabis-related paranoia, there are a few things you can try for relief.
Do things that relax you, like coloring, putting on restful music, or taking a warm bath.
Some people report that yoga and deep breathing exercises, particularly alternate nostril breathing, can also help.
Take a whiff of pepper.
Cannabinoids and terpenoids, such as the terpenes found in pepper, have some chemical similarities, which may explain why they appear to be beneficial.
Reliable source for reversing the effects of too much THC.
Take a deep breath and grind up some fresh peppercorns if you have them. Just don’t get too close — stinging eyes and sneezing may temporarily distract you from your paranoia, but not in a pleasant way.
Make some lemonade.
Do you have a lemon? Another terpene, limonene, may also help with the effects of too much THC.
Squeeze and zest a lemon or two, then add sugar, honey, and water to taste.
Make a soothing atmosphere.
If your surroundings make you feel anxious or stressed, this will not help your paranoia.
If at all possible, try to go somewhere more relaxing, such as your bedroom or a quiet outdoor space.
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