Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

Learn | 01.24.2022

How To Avoid Being Paranoid While High

We've all been there.

We’ve all been there; we’re smoking some weed or taking edibles, feeling relaxed, giggling at everything, and then suddenly… “Is that a cop car? Am I going to get fire? Are my friends plotting against me!?”

Smoking weed is supposed to make you relax, not freak out. But, under certain circumstances and for some people more than others, weed can trigger paranoia.

If this is a big concern of yours, we have some tips and tricks to avoid getting paranoid while high.

Why THC Can Create Paranoia

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THC binds to the amygdala, which is the part of our brains that processes stress and anxiety. Amygdalae receive the cannabinoids that our brains naturally produce.

When they start receiving large amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, the amygdala can be overstimulated and no longer regulate fear responses.

With an overwhelmed amygdala, things can seem extra scary, and we may even feel new fear for something that wouldn’t affect us otherwise.

The amygdala is not the only part of your brain that can be overstimulated by too much THC, which is why your general thoughts can get out of control when you’re really high. 

Tips To Avoid Being Paranoid With Cannabis

Though THC will always stimulate the amygdala, there are ways to avoid being paranoid while high.

Tip 1: Start Low | Grow Slow

Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

The number one cause of getting paranoid while high is overconsuming. It’s easy to consume an excessive amount of THC in a short amount of time, and it’s gotten even easier with the creation of things like edibles and vapes. 

If you aren’t completely aware of your tolerance, it’s best to start with a low dose and wait about half an hour before taking another small dose.

If you’re taking edibles, though, you should wait a minimum of an hour before increasing your amount because they take longer to kick in. 

Further note that edibles and THC concentrates will typically have a higher percentage of THC than flower; always check the percentage to gauge your starting dose further.

Tip 2: Smoke Higher CBD Strains

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CBD is known for having strong anti-anxiety properties due to its ability to increase our serotonin and the nature of its interaction with endocannabinoid receptors in our central nervous systems.

The way CBD interacts with our receptors also counter some more substantial psychoactive effects of THC (especially paranoia). 

When CBD binds to the same receptors as the THC, it prompts the THC molecules to loosen their bond.

Reaching for cannabis products with a high CBD to THC ratio is a great way to avoid feeling anxious, even if you smoke a significant amount. 

Tips To Stop Being Paranoid While High

If it’s too late for you to follow the above advice, we’ve got some great tips to help you reduce your high paranoia after it’s set in. 

Tip 1: Chillax

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If you’re starting to freak out, the first thing you should do is create a relaxing environment. Maybe put on some calm music, a light-hearted movie or TV show, or light your favorite candle.

If you’re not alone, you may want to change the environment of people around you as well. 

Sometimes, even our best friends can add stress to a paranoid high, or worse, become the focal point of our paranoia. If you’re comfortable with these people, you might ask them to help you calm down; trust us, anyone worth smoking with should understand.

Or, you might remove yourself from the situation if you can do so safely. 

Tip 2: Get Creative

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Taking on creative activities is a great way to improve your high, but it can be beneficial to take your mind off the paranoid thoughts.

Some ideas for the best creative, high activities include drawing, creative writing, and journaling. These activities create an outlet for your thoughts and provide your brain somewhere tangible to focus.

If you’re prone to feeling paranoid while high, but you’re not sure if you could get into the creative mindset easily, you might consider investing in a creative thinking journal to inspire and let the high play out in a fun way.

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Tip 3: Sniff Pepper

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Sniffing pepper is a good but somewhat strange way to bring yourself back down to earth. If you don’t believe us, this method is actually tested and approved by Canadian-American musician and stoner Neil Young. 

You can sniff from the pepper shaker or chew on a few peppercorns for the same effect. This is because some pepper components heighten the relaxing effect of THC, which should make you less anxious in turn.

Furthermore, the strong taste and smell of the pepper will “shock” you back into reality. You don’t want to inhale it, or you could be sent into a sneezing fit.

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