We all know the positive benefits of smoking weed, especially now it’s so easy to buy recreational weed online. But for some, the fun of getting high may be accompanied by negative side effects that aren’t quite as pleasant.
Dry mouth is one of them, although that’s easily solved by making sure you always have something to drink during your smoking sessions. Red eyes are another that affects some people more dramatically than others, and again, there’s an easy fix for that — bring on the eye drops.
But there’s a subset of people who have stopped smoking weed because they find it makes them paranoid. The experience is unpleasant enough they don’t want to risk it again. One study suggests that as many as one in five people are convinced others are trying to harm them when high.
So Why Does Marijuana Make You Paranoid?
Sadly, you have to blame it on the THC. The same lovely cannabinoid that gets you high can also make you paranoid. Its psychoactive compound binds to receptors in the amygdala, the cluster of nuclei in the temporal lobe that regulates emotions like fear, anxiety, stress, and paranoia. The sudden rush of THC may overstimulate the amygdala, leaving you feeling anxious and maybe even fearful.
The amygdala, commonly called the “lizard brain,” is greatly affected by cannabis. Because pot can affect short-term memory and cause your thoughts to echo, it can produce mental distortions as well as the more pleasant psychotropic ones like intensifying colours and making food — even strange food combinations — taste amazing.
If you do start to feel like sinister things are happening (that phone won’t stop ringing and you don’t recognize the number; everyone will know you’re high and judge you negatively for it), it might be time to take a look at the kind of pot you’re smoking rather than giving it up entirely.
Luckily, CBD, which doesn’t bind in the same way or to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain, can moderate or eliminate the unpleasant paranoid side effects you may be experiencing when high.
With its ability to relieve anxiety and help you chill, a strain that has a lower THC:CBD ratio (in other words, has more CBD), will still get you high but will help you avoid the unpleasant and irrational paranoia. Try strains like Harlequin OG, Blue Dream, or Cannatonic to see if it makes a difference. And look for strains that are higher in linalool, limonene, and myrcene terpenes.
What About the Dose?
The more you smoke, the more likely you are to become paranoid. To some extent, it’s a simple math formula, or at least it seems to be, based on animal research done to date. But there are, of course, many other things that affect dose. THC:CBD ratio, the unique configuration of your particular brain and where your opioid receptors are located.
Paranoia might be a more frequent side effect for you if more of your opioid receptors are located towards the back of your brain. The likelihood of your knowing whether this is the case or not is slim, however. So if you do occasionally feel paranoid when you smoke weed, try to identify the strain you were smoking and figure out whether you indulged more than usual.
One study suggests an increase of 5 mg of THC can make the difference between reducing stress and increasing anxiety. So, start low, go slow, especially if you’re ingesting a high THC strain with little or no CBD.
What Other Factors Are Involved?
Brain chemistry, gender, frequency and amount smoked are all factors that can affect whether marijuana will make you start to feel paranoid or not. Higher estrogen levels can make you 30% more sensitive to cannabis. There are other studies indicating estrogen plays a role in alcohol sensitivity as well.
What to Do if Smoking Weed Makes You Paranoid
- Chill. The whole point of recreational weed is to relax, let your cares dissipate, and get into a different – and better – headspace. Let that happen.
- Breath. Close your eyes and just focus on breathing in deeply through your nose, hold for a count of three, four, or five, and then breathe out deeply through your mouth. Or try one-nostril yoga breathing. If it can relax you before a root canal, it can help with a mild case of THC-induced paranoia.
- Slow down. You’re probably high enough. Let the joint – or the bong – pass you by for the rest of the evening. The feelings of anxiety and paranoia will fade.
- More CBD. Next time you want to buy weed online in Canada, look for a slightly higher ratio of CBD to THC. You can find the same choice of different THC:CBD ratios in edibles, concentrates, and tinctures available online.
- Choose by your Nose.Check out strains that have higher concentrations of pinene, limonene, and caryophyllene terpenes. They not only help you relax, they may help to balance, moderate and even counteract the effects of THC.
What to Do if it Keeps Happening
For a quick fix, peel and eat an orange, inhaling the fragrance of the rind as you do so. Try some yoga breathing, especially alternate nostril breathing. Five breaths with each nostril should begin to help you start to feel calmer fast.
What else? Imagine where you would normally relax. Does that look like a dog walk? A steaming cup of tea? Putting on Seinfeld or Friends? Or what about a bath, soothing music, and lowering the lights?
If marijuana makes you paranoid persistently, you might need to take a break. Paradoxically, you might find that you feel a little paranoid during a break. Cannabis withdrawal syndrome can last four weeks, especially if you smoked a lot or every day.
But if your paranoia doesn’t go away, it’s time to consult your healthcare practitioner. It’s not just hard for you to deal with, it’s hard for other people to have to respond to wacky allegations or provide constant reassurance about things that aren’t really happening.
How to Choose Your Strain
Start researching the strains and terpenes available wherever you buy recreational weed online in Canada. At My Pure Canna, shipping is free for all orders over $99, and live chat is available from 9AM to 5PM Pacific time so you can consult an online budtender for the strains, concentrates, or edibles that will work best for you to ensure you get high without the unwanted side effect of paranoia.