How To Manage THC-Induced Paranoia
Love To Smoke But Hate The Paranoia? Here’s What You Can Do
Most people can get high on THC-rich weed with no problems whatsoever.
For anyone who’s ever experienced this, they can tell you that these negative thoughts and paranoia can quickly make a trip go downhill. The paranoid thoughts vary from one person to another; for some it could emphasize any unpleasant recent events in one’s life, thinking that people around you dislike you, that you aren’t working hard enough, or that there are people out to get you.
There are also cases where the paranoia can be felt physically. An episode may cause racing heartbeats, palpitations, clammy hands, and intense anxiety.
When the mind is racing with unwanted thoughts and your body is responding to the negative emotions, you can say goodbye to total relaxation.
But why does it happen in the first place?
There are several explanations. For one, we all know that the human endocannabinoid system is responsible for the effects of all the cannabinoids in pot, especially THC and CBD. THC, which causes the psychoactive effects or the high we feel, also binds to endocannabinoid receptors found throughout the brain – most especially in the amygdala.
However, the amygdala helps to regulate our everyday responses and emotions. But it’s also responsible for helping us regulate negative emotions including fear, anxiety, and paranoia. Studies show that when we consume high-THC cannabis in any form, this tends to flood the brain with more of these cannabinoids which can cause the amygdala to be overstimulated. As a result, we end up suffering from paranoia and anxiety instead of a pleasurable trip.
Another explanation is the biphasic nature of THC. This means that consuming low doses of THC can relax you, and allow you to soak up its therapeutic benefits. On the other hand, smoking higher doses of THC can cause the opposite effect.
In a 2017 study, researchers examined 42 adults who were given different doses of THC. When they consumed 7.5mg of THC, the adults reported a decrease in negative emotions that were associated with doing a stressful task. But when they were given a 12.5mg dose, this resulted in an increase in the negative feelings.
The reason why this biphasic response occurs isn’t really well-known just yet, but researchers believe that it has to do with our individual thresholds. After all, this biphasic effect can also be observed with other drugs and substances; for example, a glass or two of wine can help us unwind, but drinking an entire bottle of wine can make the same person highly emotional. It can even be the same with certain foods like sugar.
There are several factors that affect one’s threshold. These include your tolerance to the substance, experience with it, genetics, and your brain’s very own unique neural makeup.
How To Manage THC-Induced Paranoia
If you have had enough experience with paranoia, then it could be simpler to narrow down a solution that works for you. Here are some things you can do to prevent future paranoid episodes while high:
- Consume CBD. If you observed that high THC or high doses of THC cause paranoia, then consuming CBD has been acknowledged as an excellent antidote. CBD has been shown to decrease the negative response from endocannabinoid receptors that THC binds to, which tones down the paranoid and anxious emotions produced by it.
CBD also acts on the serotonin receptors in the brain, which significantly helps to alleviate any stressful responses.
This can be helpful for individuals who prefer to smoke cannabis since obtaining the perfect dose can be tricky sometimes – as opposed to consuming edibles from a licensed dispensary, which have already been pre-dosed. Each time you buy a cannabis strain from a dispensary, the actual percentage of THC can vary which makes it challenging and oftentimes unpredictable.
Even a low dose of CBD taken via capsule or oil has been shown to effectively alleviate paranoia.
- Research the strains and products you are consuming. Buying from a licensed cannabis dispensary is always recommended, especially those that sell products with third-party laboratory tests or a certificate of analysis (COA), which gives you accurate information on all the compounds found in the cannabis product.
Tests and labels can give you a good idea of exactly how much THC is in the product. That said, steer clear first from products with over 10% THC and see if you are still experiencing paranoia with these products.
- Take note of cannabis strains that make you paranoid. Remember that each cannabis strain has its own unique genetic makeup; there may be certain cannabinoids in that specific strain that interact negatively with your endocannabinoid system.
- Check your set and setting. Have you observed that getting high in certain places or around environments makes you more prone to paranoia? For some people, being stoned in a public setting can trigger social anxiety, while for others, isolation can make it worse.
If this sounds true to you, experiment with other settings to see if it helps to relax you better. In fact, beginners may benefit from having a strong support system around during their first few smoke sessions.
The point of designing your set and setting is to ensure that you are in an environment that feels completely safe to you.
- Distract yourself. Refocusing your attention on enjoyable activities such as gardening, listening to music, or watching a movie is an inexpensive yet powerful way to fight off paranoia. It allows you to shift your focus to an activity that energizes you and brings you joy.
Experiencing paranoia while stoned is common, but preventable. Follow these tips to minimize the risk of negative emotions the next time you get stoned. (Full Story)