Most of us use cannabis to get some relaxation. It has therapeutic properties that can also help in dealing with various health conditions. These include cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, epilepsy, and many more. These conditions are called qualifying conditions. That is why a lot of people use medical cannabis to manage symptoms associated with their condition. You can buy medical cannabis for your condition after getting a medical marijuana card.
Now, while cannabis is beneficial and relaxing, it can also cause feelings of paranoia or anxiety in some people.
It’s hard to predict how your body is going to react to cannabis. Cannabis affects everyone differently, depending on various factors. When we are talking about paranoia caused by cannabis, it is important to understand what paranoia actually is. You can say that is very similar to anxiety, just a bit more specific than that. Paranoia can even lead to some kind of irrational suspicion of other people. I know you are a little confused here, so let me explain. There are chances that you might start feeling as if people are watching you or following you. Some may even feel as if someone is trying to rob or harm them in some way. Let’s learn more about it.
Why Does it Happen?
The effects that you feel after consuming cannabis are mainly because of your endocannabinoid system, or ECS. So, it becomes easy to understand that it also plays a big role in cannabis-related paranoia. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound present in cannabis, and certain other compounds of cannabis bind to endocannabinoid receptors. These receptors are present in various parts of your brain, including the amygdala, and cannabis compounds bind to these receptors. The amygdala plays a crucial role in regulating the response to fear and other related emotions, such as anxiety, stress, and paranoia.
So, when you consume too much cannabis or too much THC in particular, you are providing your brain more cannabinoids than usual. This excess of cannabinoids can overstimulate the amygdala, which makes you feel anxiety and fear. CBD, or cannabidiol, does not bind directly to endocannabinoid receptors. This is the reason why cannabidiol (CBD) rich products don’t seem to cause paranoia. Let’s see why some people are more prone to paranoia.
Why You are More Prone to Paranoia Caused by Cannabis
The effects of cannabis are different for everyone. That is why chances are that your friend may not feel too much from the same amount of cannabis while you start feeling paranoia. So, not everyone experiences paranoia after consuming cannabis. And many times, most people do not even notice it when they are experiencing it. There are many factors that play a role in determining how cannabis is going to affect you. So, what are these factors and how do they make a difference? We have the answers to these questions, just read along to learn about them.
An animal study from 2019 shows that cannabis can produce positive effects. It tends to provide relaxation and help in decreasing anxiety. This happens when cannabinoids provide more stimulation to the front part of your brain. According to the authors of the study, the reason behind this is a large number of opioid receptors present in the front of the brain that is reward-producing.
But, your genetics can bring out different results. Some people have more THC sensitivity in the back region of their brains than their anterior. This could lead to experiencing an adverse reaction. This reaction is often paranoia or anxiety.
Your Tolerance Level
You need to be careful when consuming cannabis. Everyone is different and each person has a different tolerance level. When your friend may smoke two full joints, it is possible that you may not be able to do the same. Some people naturally have more tolerance level than others when it comes to cannabis consumption.
Your tolerance level may also depend upon how frequently you consume cannabis. A regular cannabis user usually has more tolerance to cannabis than a beginner. So, if you are a new cannabis user, you should always smoke slowly and take a low dosage. There is no point in consuming more than you can handle. So, be aware of your tolerance level and consume accordingly. If you feel you have consumed enough, stop right there.
The THC Content of Your Cannabis
THC is the main psychoactive compound of cannabis. It binds with endocannabinoid receptors present in the brain to cause the effects. But, too much THC can also lead to paranoia and other negative side effects. Now, when buying cannabis, you should always be aware of the THC content of your cannabis strain. This will also help you understand what kind of effects your cannabis strain is going to produce.
Again, it’s about your tolerance and genetics too. Your brain chemistry also comes into play here. But, it is likely that you will experience paranoia or anxiety if you consume too much cannabis strain that has high THC content.
Yes, cannabis discriminates between genders. An animal study from 2014 shows that THC tolerance also depends on the estrogen levels. The higher estrogen levels can increase cannabis sensitivity by almost 30 percent. This means a lower tolerance for cannabis. So, what does that mean? In simple words, if you are a female, you are likely to be more sensitive to cannabis and its effects. It is applicable for both positive (like pain relief) and negative effects (paranoia) of cannabis.
How to Handle Paranoia?
If you are feeling paranoia caused by cannabis, there are certain things that you can try to deal with it.
Try to Relax
I know it sounds a bit obvious, but that’s what you have to do. Think of the things that help in relaxing you. It could be painting, coloring, listening to restful music, or taking a warm bath. I usually do yoga and deep breathing exercises to calm myself down and relax.
Take a Whiff of a Pepper
Cannabinoids and terpenoids (like the terpenes present in pepper) have some similar chemical structures. This is why they can help in countering the effects of too much THC. So, just go to your kitchen and find some pepper. For fresh peppercorns, you need to grind them up and take a deep breath. But make sure you are getting too close to it, or you might have to deal with some different problems such as stinging eyes.
Make Lemonade for Yourself
Do you have a lemon? Well, it’s time to make some lemonade. Limonene is a terpene present in lemon that may also help in dealing with the effects of too much THC. So, just squeeze and zest a lemon and add some sugar and water.
Create a Relaxing Environment
Your surroundings play a crucial role in these scenarios. If you are in an environment that is making you feel anxious or stressed, you will have problems dealing with your paranoia. It’s better to be somewhere you are more relaxed, like your bedroom.