Utmost people can recall a time they got way too high and endured a bit of a paranoid episode. Sometimes it exposes as mild worrying, and other times you find yourself in the fetal position at the top of a Doritos pile dialling 911 because surely this high will be the end of you (true story, guys). Paradoxically, others use cannabis as a tried-and-true way to obliterate their anxiety. Even PTSD patients are using Rick Simpsons Oil to manage stress and panic symptoms with remarkable rates of success.
Why does marijuana have such a polarizing effect on fear and anxiety?
Cannabis and Brain Chemistry
When it comes to cannabis and paranoia, it’s completely all in your head. Cannabinoids (such as THC) bind to receptors throughout the brain, many of which are converged in the amygdala. The amygdala is involved in emotional processing, administering responses such as fear, stress, and paranoia. When THC acts upon the amygdala, it alters the neural communication for better or for worse.
THC can overexcite the neural pathways and lead to anxiety and paranoia, particularly in individuals who are new or incompetent to cannabis. The mechanisms by which this happens are still unclear to specialists, but the body’s endocannabinoid system seems to be full of hints.
Put simply, our body contains receptor sites that are not only filled by marijuana’s cannabinoids, but also by naturally-produced composites called endocannabinoids that act a lot like those aggregates found in cannabis. Deficiencies of these endocannabinoids have been perceived in brains that have been exposed to excessive stress and trauma, which could explain why THC has a relaxing, anti-anxiety effect in some people. In theory, cannabinoids from marijuana replace these regulatory compounds, resulting in a therapeutic effect. This connection has been pertinent in PTSD investigations and could hold promising assumptions for other mood disorders as well.
Pre-Existing Anxiety Affects Your Cannabis Experience
A comparison of tension and cannabis inquiries concluded that “frequent cannabis users appear to have higher levels of anxiety than non-users,” and that “a substantial number of subjects amplified anxiety complications before the first symptoms of cannabis dependency.” That led researchers to believe that anxiety-prone people tend to use cannabis as a self-prescribed anxiety medication, opposing the idea that cannabis is what’s causing the anxiety.
However these cannabis use drifts are essential in recognising broad behavioural tendencies, specialists acknowledge that anxiety is highly individualized based on a number of risk factors:
History of paranoid episodes
Presence of anxiety disorder
Basal anxiety levels
And when you start cannabis into the mix, a few other risk factors emerge:
Frequency of use
Set and setting
Although anxiety is no doubtfulness unique and nuanced in every individual, researchers noted that frequent users tend to see a decrease in anxiety whereas occasional and new users were more likely to experience heightened paranoia. Anxiety was also more possible to transpire in high doses of THC.
It’s difficult to say how cannabis will affect you individually unless you’ve already tried it for yourself, but understanding what biological and environmental factors are at play can absolutely help guide you to a better experience.
How to Avoid Cannabis-Induced Anxiety and Paranoia
If you’re susceptive to or anxious about cannabis-induced paranoia, fear not – there are ways to prevent, even counter, that anxiety. Here are just a few tips:
Go easy on the dose. Smoking and vaporizing offer immeasurable dose control than oils and edibles, so consider starting there if you’re worried about getting too high.
Find a suitable place. Set and setting are pivotal to the experience, so get to a happy place to overcome panic and paranoia.
Partner up with the right strain. Every strain has something complex to offer on a chemical level, so keep track of which ones worked for you. Sativa strains favour to deliver racier, high-energy effects while indicas tend to be more relaxing.
Disclaimer: the principles contained here is not designed nor meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is only achieved for educational confidences only. You should recognise full responsibility for the way you decide on to use this information.