Cannabis and Paranoia – a disheartening duo…
When people think about the effects of marijuana (specifically delta9 THC), they mostly imagine complete relaxation and calmness.
While this may hold true for some people, it might not be the case for everyone.
You may experience paranoia, anxiety, and or panic when ingesting too much THC (or even a tiny amount).
Below are some details on why marijuana (Delta-9 THC) can have varying effects on users and how THC might cause fear and anxiety.
Also, we include information on what to do in the event of discomfort or paranoia from THC.
We hope these tips will help you to have a better experience with high-THC cannabis.
Cannabis and Paranoia – Does Everyone Get Anxious From THC, Or Is It Just Me?
Marijuana is known as the “chill out” plant for a reason. Most users experience intense relaxation, mild sedation, and even euphoria after consuming delta 9 THC. However, it is also very common for THC to produce the opposite effect for some people.
These undesirable side effects such as paranoia and anxiety are pretty common and based on a few different factors…
1. How Dosage Affects Cannabis and Paranoia
One of the largest contributing factors to a negative cannabis experience is dosage.
Moreover, a large dose of delta 9 THC is more likely to cause anxiety, paranoia, or a sense of uneasiness in users.
Even seasoned cannabis users have reported paranoia and anxiety when ingesting large quantities of THC. Delta-9 THC links to the CB1 receptor in the brain which is directly connected to the central nervous system. Overwhelming your body with too much THC will easily affect your central nervous system in an intense and sometimes scary way.
The method of delivery is important, it will determine how fast and how strongly you will feel the effects. The dosage of course plays a factor, but how fast it is delivered to your system plays a significant role as well.
Smoking or vaping is one of the most common methods of delivery for cannabis users, however, it is difficult to take a precise dose when you are smoking. Additionally, smoking is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects because the THC goes directly into your bloodstream via the lungs.
Since smoking is a rapid delivery method, it is important to take a break and gauge how you are feeling before you keep ripping that joint or blunt.
That being said, smoking concentrates is almost a sure way to get anxious from smoking, especially if you are a new user. Dabbing as it is called when you smoke rosin, resin, or other concentrates, is an intense and highly concentrated way to intake THC.
Concentrates are super potent and deliver an extremely high amount of cannabinoids directly into your bloodstream at a fast rate. This can easily lead to an increase in heartbeat, and feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
When it comes to other delivery methods like edibles, gummies, and tinctures, they are a bit different. They might take longer to hit you because they have to pass through your digestive system before you feel the effects, but when they hit, they hit hard. Consuming edibles are more likely to induce panic and anxiety because they produce a strong and intense high.
Because THC is psychoactive and affects your central nervous system (CNS), the setting you are in can affect how you feel when you get stoned. If you are home, or with trusted friends, odds are you are going to have a better experience. Taking THC in a public or unfamiliar setting can lead to feelings of paranoia, panic, and overall anxiety.
4. Additional Cannabinoids
The effects of other cannabinoids can also influence your experience. If you were to take delta-8 THC or another form of cannabis with large amounts of CBG, CBD, or CBN, it is less likely that you will experience negative effects.
Also, keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and therefore processes cannabinoids differently. So there is no real guarantee, just use caution when ingesting cannabis if you know you commonly have anxiety from THC.
If you are curious about how cannabinoids break down in our bodies, check out this article.
Cannabis and Paranoia – How and Why Does Weed Cause Anxiety?
As with all other cannabinoids, delta 9 THC interacts with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. This system of signaling pathways, and receptors seems to regulate brain synaptic activity and neurotransmitter levels.
THC binds to CB1 or CB2 receptors. It acts as a partial agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Other cannabinoids can act as receptor antagonists. This means that they attach themselves to receptors but don’t activate them. Experts claim that THC activation of these receptors is what gives the drug its psychoactive properties.
The CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid systems regulate brain activity and signal transmission throughout the central nervous system (CNS). THC binds the CB1 receptors, inhibiting GABA and glutamate, which are neurotransmitters that handle anxiety and stress.
When levels of GABA and glutamate are inhibited, the neurons firing in your brain as well as signals moving through your CNS system are also inhibited. A result of this activity often incudes anxiety, fear, paranoia, and unregulated stress.
It is not clear why this inhibition of glutamate and GABA creates more intense reactions in some users and not in others. However, there are a few factors that may determine how one might be affected by this potent plant.
A given person’s tolerance plays a huge role in the effects of cannabis. People who have a high tolerance and ingest THC often are less likely to experience anxiety and paranoia from ingesting THC.
Surprisingly, genetic makeup plays a role when it comes to the impact THC can have on you. Researchers discovered that THC is active in both the front and back parts of your brain. When THC acts more on the rear part of the brain rather than the front, you are more likely to feel anxiety or paranoia from consuming it.
Dosing is an essential part of ensuring you have a good experience when ingesting THC. High doses are one of the main causes of anxiety, paranoia, and fear, especially in newer users or people with a low tolerance.
Cannabis and Paranoia – How To Come Down From Getting Too High
First things first, don’t panic!
It will pass and you will start feeling better soon. So, take a deep breath and remember to ground yourself.
We actually wrote an entire article about what to do if you get too high. If you find yourself in this position, this article will be a huge help.
It is important to know that there is no research that suggests any amount of THC can be a lethal dose, so in other words, you cannot overdose from THC.
While a large dose may be particularly unpleasant, it shouldn’t last too long and you will start to feel yourself again soon.
Just remember, it will pass. Panicking just makes it feel worse.
Here are some additional tips for how to feel a bit better when you take too much delta 9 THC:
#1 Go To A Familiar & Safe Place
One of the best things you can do if you are feeling overwhelmed is to go somewhere safe and familiar. Go to your bedroom or somewhere else that feels comforting to you. A feeling of safety and familiarity is an essential element in reducing anxiety and calming your nervous system.
Adorn yourself in blankets and pillows, cuddle with your dog or cat, and do whatever it takes to feel calm and secure.
#2 Creativity Can Help Balance Cannabis and Paranoia
Distracting yourself and embracing your creativity can be a great way to calm down from a bad THC trip.
In addition, cannabis is known for inspiring creativity. By distracting yourself and redirecting your energy into creative expression, you may be able to reduce the negative feelings you are experiencing.
#3 Listen To Music
Again, distractions are a great way to take your mind off of being anxious or paranoid. Many THC users report that listening to music while stoned is a different and euphoric experience. Putting on some good music might be just what you need to calm down and feel centered.
Terpenes are the compounds found in fruits, flowers, or other plant materials that give off their distinctive odor. Terpenes can be used to reduce anxiety and paranoia. You might find it helpful to smell limonene, pinene, or caryophyllene, as these substances can help you balance your psychoactive experience and get rid of any anxiety.
Limonene is found in citrus, caryophyllene is found in black pepper, and pinene is found naturally in pine needles and pine trees. If you have access to any of the above-mentioned terpenes, whether in raw form or in essential oils, these can be a great way to calm down from a bad THC trip.
CBD is a cannabinoid that interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). More specifically, it binds to the non-psychoactive receptor CB2. This means that it is not psychoactive and helps to balance out the effects of THC. CBD is known to help with anxiety and reduce a THC high, so this is your best bet when you get too stoned from THC.
For tips and info on coming down from a bad THC trip, check out How To Sober Up From Being Too High.
Cannabis and Paranoia – How To Avoid It
Avoiding an anxious or paranoid experience when ingesting THC is much easier than dealing with the after-effects. There are several ways to avoid having a negative and anxious experience with THC.
For Starters, Limit Your Dose
As we mentioned above, large doses are way more likely to cause negative side effects than starting low and going slow.
Whether you are a newer cannabis user or an experienced one, starting low and going slow is always your best bet. No one likes feeling intense feelings of panic and paranoia.
Try CBD Instead, or a High CBD Strain
Strains high in CBD produce a more balanced and relaxed high than strains that are only high in THC and low in other grounding cannabinoids. Smoking straight CBD flower or a THC strain that has high levels of CBD can be really helpful as a preventative measure if you are prone to anxiety from ingesting THC.
Some high CBD strains are Harlequin, Pennywise, and ACDC.
Go for Delta 8 Instead
Delta 8 THC is the milder cousin of delta 9 THC. In fact, it is around half as potent. It is also known to be more of a relaxing, body-high than D9 THC which is usually very cerebral.
Delta 8 is still psychoactive, just much less so than delta 9 THC. This makes it a much safer bet than ingesting pure delta 9 THC.
Read all about Delta 8 in this article.
Cannabis and Paranoia – Final Thoughts
You’re not the only one who feels anxious, paranoid, or fearful when you ingest high-THC marijuana.
Although delta 9 THC is a relaxing drug for many, it also induces anxiety for a lot of people.
To review, THC is a compound that binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of your endocannabinoid system. This can lead to rapid signal and neuron firing and overwhelming experiences that induce anxiety, fear, and paranoia.
Relaxing in a familiar environment is the best way to reduce anxiety related to marijuana. Then, use music or other distractions to take your mind off of feeling anxious. Finally, try CBD, or herbal tea to calm your nerves.
Feeling anxiety after ingesting a large dose of THC is perfectly normal.
The way our bodies react to THC is dependent on a variety of factors and varies for everyone. However, across the board, most people who use cannabis have experienced these negative side effects before. Most THC veterans are no stranger to the overwhelming feeling of getting too high.
All in all, it is very common. THC is a psychoactive compound which means that it alters our state of mind. Not only that, it directly affects our central nervous system which regulates our emotions and overall feelings of safety.
You can try to avoid feelings of paranoia and anxiety by trying CBD or Delta-8 THC flower. CBD flower is not psychoactive and has potent relaxing effects. D8 flower is psychoactive but much less so than delta-9 THC, so it is generally a safer bet.
You can also try a high CBD strain or avoid THC altogether.
Some people are scarred from negative experiences with THC. Others, use it daily for regulating their anxiety.
As we mentioned earlier, everyone’s body is different and it is important to know your limits when it comes to THC and proceed with caution to avoid any adverse side effects.