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Why Does Cannabis Make You Paranoid?

Why Does Cannabis Make You Paranoid?

January 26, 2021

Cannabis holds medicinal properties that can impact your body and mind. And like any substance with body and mind-altering potential – whether it be manufactured prescription drugs or all-natural herbs – there is a high probability of side-effects.

Not surprisingly, over the many centuries cannabis has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes, cannabis users have reported a variety of side effects. Such testimonies range from… The mundane, like increased appetite (AKA the “munchies”) to the beneficial, like pain relief and relaxation to the harrowing and unpleasant, like extreme anxiety and crippling paranoia.

As it happens, anxiety is the most oft-reported negative side effect of cannabis use. So common are feelings of anxiety among cannabis certain users that you’ve probably heard: “No thanks, weed makes me totally paranoid” in response to passed joint more times than you can count.

Which, of course, begs the question: Why does cannabis make you paranoid?

It’s Complicated

The answer, we discovered after a bit of research here at, is: It’s complicated.

Not a very satisfying reply. But if you join us as we take a closer look, you’ll understand why…

As noted above, there is a potential for side effects with any body or mind-altering substance, whatever its origin. And cannabis is no different.

The likelihood and severity of side effects from cannabis, like anxiety or paranoia, depends largely on the individual.

And several factors can play a huge role in whether a cannabis user experiences such side effects…

Individual Body Chemistry

Some people simply have a genetically encoded predilect to experience anxiety as a side effect of cannabis use.

THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that “gets you high” bonds with receptors in your brain’s amygdala. This is the portion of the brain that controls emotions. And it could be that your amygdala is more sensitive and reacts negatively to THC. Which can result in anxiety and paranoia.

Body Weight

If you have low body mass, and particularly if you have low body fat, THC is more readily absorbed into your bloodstream. As a result, the THC can have a stronger impact on your system, which increases the possibility of anxiety.

Additionally, if you have lower body weight and intake a large quantity of cannabis, especially if it’s a particularly strong strain, you’re all the more likely to experience anxiety and paranoia.

Anxiety-prone Personality

Are you already prone to bouts of anxiety and paranoia? Then, for the brain chemistry reasons described above, cannabis use is likely to trigger or intensify those feels.

Interactions With Other Drugs

Are you intaking other prescription medications or recreational drugs? Perhaps you’re on mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, or anti-anxiety medication. Or maybe you’re into cocaine and use it frequently in your leisure time.

Little research exists on the interaction between many psychoactive prescription medications and cannabis. And the same goes for interactions between cannabis and other controlled substances, like cocaine.

But it’s safe to say interactions between cannabis and any of these drugs could produce pronounced side effects, including anxiety and paranoia.


If you have little or no experience with cannabis, your initial and early use is likely to produce stronger, more pronounced effects.

And if anxiety is one of those effects, it can easily amplify into full-blown paranoia. 

The Type of Cannabis Strain

Here again, there is no hard and fast answer. Different cannabis strains affect certain users differently.

But generally speaking, Indica strains tend to have lower THC levels and higher CBD concentration. This in turn yields more euphoric, relaxed, and calming effects. Thus, Indica strains are less likely to yield feelings of anxiety or paranoia.

Related Articles

The team always has an eye on the medical and therapeutic implications of cannabis. If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s a list of related articles…

Best Cannabis Strains for Anxiety

Top Medical Cannabis Use Trends in 2021

Cannabis Sleep Aids

Top 3 Cannabis Strains For Pain Relief

Which Cannabis Strains Promote Weight Loss

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