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Weed Paranoia: Why Does Weed Make You Paranoid?

woman shaking her head from weed paranoia

Using marijuana creates a unique experience for every person. While some people become chilled out and relaxed, others find themselves paranoid and thinking dark thoughts. Because each strain of marijuana is different, consumption methods vary, and dosage affects how your body metabolizes the cannabinoids, some people may even discover their experience changes every time they use marijuana.

So why does weed make you paranoid, and how do you avoid feeling paranoid from it? Follow along with our experts for the details.

What is Weed Paranoia?

Typically, paranoia is categorized as a mental illness where people believe that someone or a group is out to get them. Most of the time, these feelings are not true, and affected individuals manage their condition with medication and therapy. Sometimes, people simply start out feeling anxious, and their condition evolves into paranoia – disrupting their lives unless a clinician intervenes.

However, some substances, like marijuana, can create feelings of paranoia even in people who don’t suffer from this mental illness. So how do you know if you’re experiencing weed paranoia? Here are some symptoms to help you figure it out:

  • Anxiety about the people around you
  • Taking offense easily and an inability to take criticism 
  • Worrying that someone is trying to harm you
  • Hostility, defensiveness, or aggressive behavior while high
  • Pulling away from friends and family while high
  • Finding normal behaviors sinister

So why does weed make some people paranoid? Let’s find out!

Your Body & Marijuana

woman holding a marijuana mug

You might already know that marijuana is metabolized by your body as cannabinoids. The two most important ones are THC and CBD. When it comes to being paranoid from weed, THC is typically the main culprit because it has psychoactive components once it hits your system.

As your endocannabinoid system starts to process marijuana, it gets distributed throughout the body. Each organ and body part that has endocannabinoids experiences marijuana differently – like getting dry mouth, experiencing the munchies, or feeling couch-locked. Weed paranoia is related to your brain and is particularly associated with the neurons in your amygdala.

This Is Your Brain On Drugs

Located in the deep regions of your medial temporal lobe, the amygdala neurons process your emotions and are responsible for such reactions as fear, anxiety, stress, and paranoia. This area of your brain already naturally produces chemicals that activate your endocannabinoids when necessary to ensure your body is reacting appropriately to stimuli. They regulate the entire system – activating your stress response and calming you down when needed.

Depending on your personal metrics and experience with cannabis, your brain and body may react in different ways. If paranoia is your regular response, the cannabis may be affecting a secondary part of the endocannabinoid process. Instead of getting destroyed by metabolic enzymes once they’ve completed their function, like your natural brain chemicals, they stick around much longer than usual, causing paranoia instead of regulating these stress emotions.

Other Reasons for Weed Paranoia

So why else does weed make you paranoid? It could be because you’re exhausting your dopamine supply. Your original experience with cannabis might have been amazing! All the times you’ve used it, you felt relaxed and maybe even euphoric. These emotions are the result of the THC from the cannabis connecting with the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) inhibitors in your brain and preventing them from regulating the release of dopamine that helps you relax.

At first, this feels great because your body is flooded with these feel-good chemicals. But eventually, there’s a crash. Your dopamine isn’t endless, and your body needs time to produce more. Over time, this part of your brain becomes overworked and ineffective, reducing dopamine production and leading to anxiety and, eventually, paranoia.

Avoiding Weed Paranoia

woman struggling with weed paranoia

For those who always experience cannabis-induced anxiety, it’s best to learn some coping skills that help you get rid of these feelings while you’re high. Some skills may include:

  • Try deep breathing or meditation for 10-15 minutes.
  • Practice controlling your thoughts – ask yourself if what you’re feeling is true.
  • Change your body temperature – eat ice, splash water on your face, take a shower.
  • Ask your friends for help. Tell them what you’re feeling, and they can reassure you.
  • Grounding your senses – focus on what you can hear, see, feel, and smell.
  • Try sobering up from your weed consumption.

You might also want to research strains that have less of a chance of affecting your stress response systems. Strains with lower THC and higher CBD and CBN could be the key to a more positive experience. Typically, ratios are easier to control in edibles and capsules, so you may need to switch from smoking or vaping to a different consumption method.

Tolerance Breaks

If weed paranoia is a recent occurrence for you, it might be time for a tolerance break to allow your body time to re-up your dopamine supply. Give your body and brain a break with a quick detox. Just remember, when you return to using cannabis, be careful with your dosing, as your body won’t have the same tolerance as before!

Other Reasons for Paranoia

Some people experience weed paranoia simply because they’re genetically predisposed or because they have some underlying concerns about the drug that makes them nervous before they even use it. In these cases, it’s best to avoid cannabis or only take very small amounts – like microdosing – to ensure milder effects.

If You Need a Detox

If You Need a Detox

Now that you know why weed makes you paranoid, you might be considering a short detox. You can flush your body naturally in about 4-6 weeks, depending on your usage habits, height, weight, and other factors. If you’d like to speed up the process, consider using our detox kits for two-day, five-day, and ten-day flushes that are safe, natural, and effective.

You can learn more about how these work here!

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