We’ve all seen the Hollywood depiction of being high as super mellow and chill. If you don’t have a lot of experience being high, then maybe that’s what you believe every high is like. So hearing that marijuana causes anxiety or weed paranoia, then, may sound strange. Regular users, however, know that there isn’t one reaction to being high and different strains have different effects. Weed paranoia is one of the most common side effects of getting high, so yes, marijuana causes anxiety in some. Don’t let that make you assume everyone will feel that way, however.
Marijuana Causes Anxiety in Some Users
So why does weed make you paranoid? Well, it doesn’t automatically. Weed paranoia isn’t the default response to being high. From a medical perspective, weed is effective at treating anxiety, pain relief, chronic conditions, asthma, and many other things. To avoid weed paranoia or anxiety, it’s best to know how you react to THC.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is one of the two major components of every strain of weed. The other is cannabidiol, or CBD. Where CBD provides no high feeling and instead provides physical medicinal relief, THC is psychoactive.
THC causes brain cells to release dopamine. This is where the often euphoric feeling from using marijuana comes from. THC also affects the hippocampus or the part of the brain where memories are formed. Its effects can cause hallucinations, delusions, or changes in how you think. These aren’t permanent and marijuana has not been shown to cause lasting damage. The effects are short-term, typically lasting up to about two hours.
A.J. Fabrizio of Terra Tech Corp. said about THC, “In some cases, reported side effects of THC to include elation, anxiety, tachycardia, short-term memory recall issues, sedation, relaxation, pain relief and many more.”
Is THC Responsible for Weed Paranoia?
So if you’re wondering why does weed make you paranoid or if marijuana causes anxiety, THC is where to look. In most cases, THC doesn’t cause these problems. THC levels vary from strain to strain. In some, users commonly experience euphoric states. There are other strains where the THC response increases focus, creativity, or social comfort. A study conducted by the British Journal of Pharmacology found that other cannabinoids and terpenes (what gives marijuana its flavors) can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. The most notable of these takes us back to CBD.
So then why does weed make you paranoid and not some of your friends? Why is it marijuana causes anxiety in you? It’s an individual response, not a blanket one. Some people will react more negatively to THC while others won’t. An “overdose” of THC can also cause feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Smoking too much too quickly can drastically alter the experience you’ll have, especially with THC-heavy strains.
Marijuana Can Cause AND Treat Anxiety?
What you’re telling me is weed causes anxiety and treats it? Yes and no. Marijuana causes anxiety and paranoia in some, but it’s a reaction to THC. A study conducted with people from three major UK institutions directly correlated paranoid feelings with THC.
Over 120 subjects who had taken marijuana before and had experienced paranoid thoughts within a month of the study were tested. They were randomly given 1.5mg of THC or saline (as a placebo). A variety of scenarios and tests were then conducted to see how the subjects were affected. These included real-life situations, the use of virtual reality, interviews, and questionnaires.
When the results were assessed, half of the subjects given THC experienced paranoia as defined by the study. Only 30% of the placebo group had the same increased experience. The study concluded that there is a direct correlation between THC and heightened paranoid feelings in those susceptible. The THC also seemed to produce other psychological effects such as anxiety, lowered mood, and negative self-thoughts.
The study also concluded that marijuana causes anxiety and paranoia in some as a natural reaction to make sense of what’s happening. If a person is having heightened negative feelings, enhanced by THC, worry can lead to anxiety and fear. All of these symptoms faded as the THC effects wore off, further proving the correlation to THC.
This isn’t to say this study shows THC as a negative trigger for everyone. It does, however, directly show that marijuana causes anxiety in certain cases. Interesting to note is that another study showed frequent cannabis users to have higher anxiety levels than non-users. This could be due to a lack of understanding of how to choose the best strain for you. It’s best to know how you respond to THC and consider your strains accordingly.
Choosing a Marijuana Strain
Since we’ve seen that empirical evidence points to THC being the culprit behind weed paranoia in some, how do you choose a strain? Marijuana causes anxiety in those susceptible via THC. It stands to reason, then, that choosing a strain with low THC levels is best for people to experience negative reactions.
Consider strains like ACDC, Cannatonic, and Trident next time you’re at your favorite dispensary. Strains low in THC and high in CBD are actually the best strains for treating anxiety. If marijuana causes anxiety for you, these strains are going to be your best friends to prevent that. The CBD levels counteract the psychoactive element of THC keeping you grounded.
As always, if you’re in unsure ask for help choosing. Any reputable dispensary will have a knowledgeable staff able to guide you in selecting a strain to enhance your experience. Nobody smokes weed to increase anxiety! If you’ve wondered why does weed make you paranoid, know you aren’t alone. Experiment and see what works best for you.
The takeaway from all this is that yes, some marijuana strains may make you paranoid. This reaction is directly correlated to THC levels in the strain you use; however, if you’re having a negative experience with one strain, consider another.
Though no strain is a one-size-fits-all, those lower in THC and higher in CBD are far less likely to make you paranoid. There is evidence to suggest that weed paranoia is an enhancement of underlying feelings. Considering this, try your best to relax and be in a positive mood when you get high. It could make all the difference! GreenMed is here to help you choose the best strain for you and deliver it to your door where available. GreenMed – Cannabis Simplified!