Photo Credit: Barry Godber
For many people, smoking marijuana can calm their anxieties. However, for others is an have the opposite effect. It can make them feel anxious and paranoid. What’s the deal with that?
Scientists at the University of Western Ontario in Canada suggest that cannabinoids in marijuana affect the fight or flight center of our brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is constantly scanning everything we see and everything we do to help protect ourselves from dangerous situations. Its main purpose is to learn what to fear and how to respond to those fears. What they found in this study seemed to explain why some cannabis users have a tendency to feel paranoid.
Using rats that were trained to fear certain smells, researchers tested the effect of blocking cannabinoid receptors called CB1 receptors found in the amygdala. When CB1 receptors were blocked, the rats failed to respond to the scents that they were trained to fear. When researchers gave the rats synthetic THC that unblocked their CB1 receptors, the rats exhibited enhanced fear responses.
This study shows cannabis can enhance fear-based learning which is why some users tend to overreact in stressful events while high.
So what can you do to NOT get paranoid while high? There a few steps you can take, which may or may not work…
Try and talk your way out of your paranoia. Remember that feeling anxious can happen but that in the end, everything will be ok.
Ask yourself: Is this a rational fear? Am I only thinking of the negative? What are some positive things to think about? Asking yourself these questions may just talk your way out of the paranoia.
If you commonly get paranoid, only smoke with people you know and in a place that you are comfortable with. These familiar settings will help calm your fears.
Hang out in the dark or dim lighting, and refrain from watching or experience “trippy” things.
So, we have established the high from weed can produce some level of paranoia in some people. Many studies have proved that those fearful or paranoid feelings are a direct reaction to the unexpected nature of an altered perception. Using our senses in our amygdala, being high makes people more prone to becoming paranoid. Humans manifest their own paranoia due to a state of disorientation. Now, we can confirm that if you smoke weed and start getting paranoid, it may well be your own state of mind.
It’s important to remember that marijuana is safe, you can’t overdose on it, and your paranoia will subside. If you find yourself feeling anxious or experience “bad highs” every time you smoke, try a different strain. This can make all the difference.
For more marijuana confessions, check out Whisper
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