Dr. David Pompei, PharmD, MS
In this article, we will answer the question, “why does weed make you paranoid?”, explore how to stop paranoia while high, and determine if there are weed strains that don’t cause paranoia. The paranoid pothead is a common trope in stoner comedies, but the reality of cannabis-induced paranoia is far from funny. Paranoia is a common weed side effect and is defined as excessive thoughts that people are attempting to harm you. Among cannabis users, paranoia may also present as irrational worry that people are scrutinizing you, disoriented and anxious thinking, or other negative thought patterns.
While this side effect is well-known, researchers have only recently studied cannabis and paranoia to find out why this side effect is so common. The researchers “set out to establish that cannabis causes paranoia, using the most comprehensive battery ever used to assess such fears.” They also designed the study such that they could explore the mechanism behind cannabis-induced paranoia.
The study “clearly establishes that THC causes paranoia in vulnerable individuals.” The researchers found that THC led to “anomalous experiences” such as worry, depression, anxiety, negative affect, and negative thoughts about the self. The researchers concluded that “the increase in negative affect and anomalous experiences fully accounted for the increase in paranoia.” Interestingly, priming the subjects with a discussion about cannabis-induced paranoia did not reduce the incidence of paranoia.
Are there low paranoia strains? Are there strains that make you paranoid? Do potent sativa strains like sour diesel make you paranoid? Due to federal prohibition on cannabis, there is not much research into whether some strains or product types are more likely to induce paranoia than others. However, there may be strains that don’t cause you paranoia. The best way to find strains that don’t cause paranoia is to experiment with different weed strains, record your results on the Jointly app, and see how different weed strains affect you.
Here are some general suggestions on how to mitigate side effects from cannabis, and then we will explore some specific suggestions about how to fix paranoia.
Try a new product
Different cannabis products will contain different chemical compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, which may exert distinct effects. Use Jointly’s Product Finder to discover new top-rated products.
Try a new ingestion method
Additionally, the way you ingest a product will change how it affects you. Smoking a joint of cannabis flower may produce slightly different effects from vaporizing it, although both ingestion methods involve heating cannabis and inhaling the active compounds. Each ingestion method has its own advantages and may produce different effects or side effects. To learn how different weed ingestion methods produce different effects, read our article The Best Way to Take Cannabis for Wellness Purposes.
Add in a companion food
Did you know that weed companion foods can enhance your cannabis experience in different ways? Mangoes, dark chocolate, green tea, and thyme are all weed companion foods. Chemical compounds in these foods may alter your cannabis experience, and potentially mitigate adverse side effects like drowsiness. To learn about these foods and how to add them into your cannabis wellness routine, check out our article Do These Foods Get You Higher?
Find your minimum effective dose
Most adverse side effects from cannabis are caused by ingesting too high of a dose of THC. While you cannot die from ingesting too much cannabis, a THC overdose is a real risk. The single most effective way to mitigate side effects is to microdose and titrate up your dose until you find the minimum effective dose of cannabis to get the effect you want.
Turn the dials on 15 factors
According to cannabis experts, there are at least 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience and play a major role in whether a cannabis product is giving you the feeling you want, or producing adverse side effects like paranoia. You might find that the amount of sleep you got last night has the greatest impact on whether cannabis produces paranoia or not. Or maybe you will discover that a yoga session before using cannabis eliminates any paranoia, even when all other factors are kept the same. The Jointly app lets you to track the 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. As you optimize how you consume cannabis, your favorite cannabis products will perform better for you.
If you have tried the general recommendations, and you still are experiencing paranoia, here are some specific suggestions that may help you mitigate this unpleasant side effect.
You can exercise before, during, or after ingesting cannabis. Exercise boosts your memory and stimulates a variety of biological processes that dampen anxiety. By boosting your body’s natural anti-anxiety mechanisms, you may experience less paranoia when using cannabis.
If you are experiencing paranoia while high, try to be mindful of your thought processes. Many people experience negative thoughts while high. Noting that you are experiencing dark thoughts when high may help put some distance between you and your thoughts, which may help you avoid getting stuck in paranoid thinking patterns.
Lastly, using cannabis in a safe space with trusted friends or family will help you stay grounded if you experience paranoid thinking while high. You can share your thoughts and emotions with others, which may help you stop paranoid thinking and stay present in the moment.
If you are still experiencing adverse side effects, try microdosing. For some people, just 1mg might be the perfect dose. Don’t be afraid to break up a single serving into multiple servings: cannabis affects different people differently. Purposeful cannabis consumption involves experimenting to find out what works for you as an individual.
Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.
With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.
The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.
So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.