Have you ever used marijuana and felt paranoid? Most of us have, at least once. It’s not fun, but here’s a surprise—marijuana paranoia can help you, and there are ways for you to manage it so it doesn’t worry you as much if at all. Read on…
The typical marijuana paranoia experience for me and most other cannabis users comes when you use a pure or nearly-pure Sativa strain such as Kali Mist.
What we call marijuana paranoia often includes some or all of the following symptoms:
- A feeling that potentially hostile people are watching and/or listening to you, maybe even seeking to do you harm.
- Racing thoughts that are negative, tending towards fear, nervousness, anxiety and worry.
- Sudden, acute fears about something wrong with your appearance, personal life, relationships, decisions, financial situation, etc.
- Heart rate increase, excessive sweating, panic attacks and similar physiological and psychological indicators.
The word paranoia originates from ancient words whose roots mean “special knowing.” It indicates that your mind is sensing things not normally sensed.
Your sensitivity to people, meanings, events, challenges, and relationships seems to have increased so you discover potential hidden threats, bad choices, plots, and snares that you didn’t see before.
The saying, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you,” is a humorous way of saying that paranoia can be helpfully accurate. I’ve known many marijuana growers who kept getting paranoid when they got high, fearful of getting busted, worried that their neighbors, ex-spouses or police were a potential threat. Some of those who ignored the paranoia did get busted.
Paranoia make sense in a country where marijuana is federally illegal, and even in fully legalized states the police and others can still cause you a lot of trouble if they catch you growing or possessing marijuana. It’s logical to have heightened awareness about security risks when you’re growing weed.
You might describe it as “paranoia” when you’re combusting cannabis on a beach and people around you are paying extra close attention to you, or when you’re carrying cannabis and look in your rear view mirror and see a police car.
But in a country that’s having a drug war against you, that’s not paranoia. That’s smart awareness, and it can keep you out of trouble.
Another thing I’ve experienced is that marijuana paranoia might seem like exaggerated, unfounded fears and suspicions, but in some cases, it’s accurate.
I’ve had numerous occasions in my business and personal life when I hadn’t gotten high for a while, but when I got high, I had sudden, troubling revelations about friends, business associates, or grow op security.
And the suspicions sometimes turned out to be legit. I’ve come to view the heightened awareness of potential trouble that marijuana provides as a useful cannabis effect.
The marijuana gives me a suddenly enhanced intuition, allowing me to see that my previous trust in a situation was misplaced, and that real threats were present.
I credit Rastafarians in Jamaica for giving me an enlightened perspective on marijuana paranoia. They explained that cannabis helps you see yourself and the world more accurately.
It peels back layers of deception and fraud, revealing the hidden motives and agendas of people you’d otherwise trust, they said, while also revealing your mistakes, ethics violations and traits that could be putting you at risk.
I learned to carefully observe my cannabis-induced so-called paranoid thoughts and feelings, and found that they were often clues to reality. I wasn’t unjustifiably paranoid at all, in many cases. Instead, I was seeing beneath the façade of regular life to deeper truths underneath.
If you want to similarly engage with cannabis so you reduce paranoia, panic, nervousness, insomnia, anxiety or other excitatory stimulus while retaining the enjoyable and helpful aspects of your high, consider the following tactics:
- If a particular strain or strain family (such as Sativa) makes you feel paranoid or otherwise uncomfortable, stop using that type of cannabis. Or you could mix the Sativa cannabis with an Indica, Kush or high-CBD strain to balance the effects and hopefully limit or eliminate paranoia and other troubling aspects of your high.
- Reduce your dosage and be very careful when using cannabis concentrates, especially marijuana edibles and beverages. Your liver alters THC when you eat or drink cannabinoids, creating a totally different high compared to inhaling cannabis, and it can make you feel afraid.
- Avoid using cannabis with energy drinks, other caffeine products, or stimulant, mind-altering drugs such as methamphetamines. Note that this can include prescription pharmaceutical drugs such as Ritalin and anti-depressants.
- Use cannabis when you’re already feeling physically, emotionally, and psychologically comfortable. Using cannabis when you’re upset or otherwise already agitated may calm you, or it could add to your discomfort.
- Avoid using cannabis in crowds, in public, in challenging social situations, or anywhere else where relaxation, altered consciousness, and being high are incompatible with where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with.
- Don’t use cannabis at work or in any setting where you have to engage in social “fakery” to fit in to a group, team or other human unit.
- Avoid using cannabis around toxic people who already make you feel nervous, judged, paranoid, afraid, suspicious or otherwise uncomfortable.
Now, here’s how you can use marijuana paranoia to benefit you. When you get high, make a written or audio recording of your paranoid thoughts. When you’re sober, analyze those thoughts and see if they have any truth to them.
Here’s an example of that analytical process, from my life. I was a broker in a multi-kilo cannabis deal in Northern California. One person in the deal was someone I’d never met until the deal planning started. The person had been recommended by others in the network whom I’d worked with before, so I had no obvious reason to doubt the person’s trustworthiness.
I hadn’t gotten high for several days when I sat down with the new person and one of my long-time associates to talk about cannabis transportation logistics. We smoked a Sativa-leaning Trainwreck phenotype and got absolutely blasted.
Within a few minutes I found myself staring at the new person with a sudden sense of dread. The person was avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, and kept getting up to go to the bathroom. I told my long-time associate that something wasn’t right.
Maybe it’s just paranoia, I said, but this guy is hiding something from us. He’s either a ripper, or a cop. My long-time associate laughed and said, “You’re just too stoned, dude.”
But the paranoid feeling persisted, and when I wasn’t high anymore, I analyzed my paranoid intuition, decided it was somehow valid, and shared it with others in the group. One of them confided that he too had a vague distrust of the newcomer.
We decided to tell the newcomer that the deal had been canceled, and falsely assured him that we’d include him in any future deal.
Later on, we found out the guy was indeed a snitch, trying to get us busted in return for reduced prison time for crimes he’d already been convicted of.
If I hadn’t had my marijuana paranoia moment and taken it seriously, I don’t think any of us would have figured it out in time to make any difference. But because marijuana gave me that useful paranoia, we avoided getting busted and losing a lot of premium kilos.
If you have problems with paranoia, anxiety, and similar issues regardless of your cannabis use, consider counseling. Not all paranoia is Rastafari paranoia that helps you see hidden truths. Some paranoia is just the random ramblings of a confused, frightened, overstimulated mind.
If you feel stimulative discomfort when using marijuana, do the following:
- Drink a lot of water.
- Go to a safe, sequestered, quiet place and rest. Get out of any public spaces where strangers are around you.
- Seek out a trusted friend or lover and have them babysit you while you recover.
- If your discomfort has come from cannabis edibles or beverages, eat some food.
- Don’t operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery while you’re feeling weird.
- Don’t tell anybody the details of your paranoid ideations while you’re still high. Wait until you’re sober and can analyze them before you share them in depth with anyone.
- Breathe deeply and rhythmically, only through your nose. This type of breathing has an automatic calming effect.
- Unless you’re desperate and feel like you’re in a definite medical emergency, don’t call the police or go to a hospital emergency room. This can get you busted, or involuntarily locked in a psychiatric ward.
As you pay attention to how marijuana affects your thoughts and feelings, you’ll learn how to manage the Sativa high and marijuana paranoia. This kind of ganja wisdom makes you a professional marijuana consumer, getting the best of the marijuana high without being tripped up by its wide range of mind-altering effects.