Why Does Weed Make You Paranoid?

Why Does Weed Make You Paranoid?

Cannabis, commonly referred to as weed, marijuana, or pot, is the UK’s most popular illicit drug. Derived from the cannabis plant, this natural substance can induce various psychological effects, including paranoia.

Most users smoke cannabis in the form of hand-rolled cigarettes, known as joints, or use water pipes, often called bongs. Additionally, cannabis can be consumed through edibles, such as brownies, cookies, and gummy sweets, which incorporate the drug into food. This article explores the reasons behind the paranoia often experienced by users, exploring the psychological and physiological impacts of cannabis consumption.


The Effects of Weed

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug, meaning that it changes the way the brain works, leading to altered senses and moods.

It can affect your vision, making colours seem brighter and more vibrant. It can also alter your sense of time, making it seem like time is passing more slowly. Many users find these effects of cannabis to be pleasurable and relaxing. However, it would be wrong to think that weed does not cause any problems. Marijuana can impair memory, slow down your thought process, and even cause difficulties with body movement.1 But the issues most commonly associated with cannabis are weed-induced anxiety and paranoia.


How Does Weed Work?

The body naturally produces a type of molecule known as an endocannabinoid. These molecules are part of a complex cell-signalling system called the ECS (endocannabinoid system). The ECS helps to regulate our natural body functions. It is responsible for regulating our sleep, moods, appetite and memory. When needed, endocannabinoids are released, and they bind with ECS receptors and spread throughout the nervous system. Once stimulated, the receptors send the appropriate signal throughout the body – for example, it could make us feel hungry so that we eat or tired so that we go to bed.

The cannabis plant contains molecular compounds known as cannabinoids that are extremely similar to the endocannabinoids found inside our bodies. When consumed, these compounds interact with the ECS receptors, stimulating changes to our natural bodily functions.

The principal cannabinoid found in weed is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. THC is considered to be the most powerful type of cannabinoid because it can bind with the ECS receptors in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. It is the chemical that makes you feel stoned. But THC is also responsible for the uncomfortable feeling of marijuana paranoia.


Paranoia And Anxiety: What Are They?

What exactly do paranoia and anxiety mean? Well, anxiety is a perfectly normal feeling that we will all experience at some point in our lives. It is a sense of unease, a feeling of fear or worry. You might expect to feel anxious if you have an essential test or interview coming up or if you’re waiting to hear back from the doctor.

Anxiety can become a problem when it is prolonged or if there is no obvious cause. Some people are predisposed to suffering from long periods of anxiety, feeling constantly worried and struggling to relax. This could be because of an anxiety disorder, but psychoactive drugs can also play a big role.

Paranoia can feel very similar to anxiety, but there are subtle differences. Paranoia, put as simply as possible, is an unjustified or delusional mistrust of others. It is a state of mind in which a person believes that others are trying to harm them, deceive them, or exploit them. This can range from a general but pervasive feeling of distrust and unease to the development of full-blown conspiracy theories. Someone suffering from paranoia might believe that they are being watched, listened to, or followed. It is a deeply unpleasant feeling, one that can make it impossible to relax.


Understanding Cannabis-Induced Paranoia

So why does weed make you paranoid? The answer is the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for regulating fear. It reacts to dangerous stimuli like the sight of a predator, the sound of an explosion, and the smell of fire. It also regulates the emotions and feelings related to fear – stress, anxiety, and, of course, paranoia.
The amygdala has many ECS receptors, and these receptors bind particularly well with THC molecules.

This means that if you consume cannabis, you are stimulating the part of your brain responsible for regulating your response to fear. The result of this is that you can feel very afraid, even if there is nothing to be afraid of. In a study conducted by the University of Oxford, researchers found that 50% of the participants who consumed THC experienced paranoid thoughts.


Factors Contributing to Weed-Induced Paranoia

It might seem strange that a drug which generally causes people to feel calm and relaxed can also lead to paranoia. The mental state of the user when they take the drugs can play a huge part in the kind of experience they will have. If you are predisposed to feelings of anxiety, for example, if you suffer from an anxiety disorder or are currently under a lot of stress, then the addition of THC to your system can overload your amygdala.

Particularly strong strains of cannabis can also make the problem much worse. Strains of marijuana which contain higher amounts of THC have a much stronger effect on the amygdala, increasing the risk of paranoia. If you’re going to use weed and want to find ways to marijuana paranoia, the best thing you can do is find a strain that contains less THC.


Seeking Help for Cannabis-Related Anxiety and Paranoia

THC effects on the brain are generally short-term, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be debilitating. If you have an addiction to cannabis and using the drug induces paranoia, it can have an awful impact on your day-to-day life. If you are suffering from cannabis-induced paranoia and anxiety, you may want to consider rehabilitation.

At Cassiobury Court, we offer comprehensive and holistic programmes of residential rehab to help you overcome your addiction. Our services include detoxification clinics, as well as a wide variety of therapies to help you recover from the psychological impact of drug abuse. We can help; all you have to do is reach out.