How Can I Keep Cannabis-Induced Paranoia At Bay?

How Can I Keep Cannabis-Induced Paranoia at Bay?

For some, cannabis is the most accessible and effective natural treatment for anxiety. And yet, for others, it pushes them in the complete opposite direction, resulting in that unique form of cannabis-induced paranoia. If that's you, we've got good news: sometimes a different strain can mean the difference between paranoid hell and pleasant relaxation.

So what makes the difference between these experiences?

The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety

The endocannabinoid system modulates the brain’s response to stress, fear, rewards, and many other emotional responses. On the far end of this spectrum lies paranoia and anxiety.

Interestingly, the amygdala, a brain region that controls fear response, contains an unusually high level of CB1 receptors. Therefore, anything that stimulates CB1 receptors holds the potential to induce fear and anxiety.

And what stimulates CB1 receptors?


But the story doesn’t end there.

CBD in many ways has an opposite effect to THC. CBD does not stimulate the CB1 receptor, rather, it acts via the CB2 receptors in the body and the TrpV1 vanilloid receptor in the nervous system. This pathway can actually tone down a high and inhibit the action of CB1 receptors.

CBD can actually mitigate the paranoid effects of THC.

Using Cannabis to Reduce Cannabis-Induced Paranoia

First of all, let’s get real. You’re not going to die, even if you are convinced you will (check out this hilarious 911 call from a cop who stole cannabis, baked brownies, then called 911 on himself). You would literally have to smoke a metric ton of cannabis within 20 minutes to die from it.

You probably haven’t had that much.

But it’s still highly unenjoyable and because the time distortions created by THC, it can seem to drag on forever.

The best way to bring yourself down is actually CBD. Or, if you know you have a sensitivity to cannabis-induced paranoia, use a high CBD strain with a CBD:THC ratio of at least 1:1. The greater the ratio, the more mentally intense the experience will be.

Wisdom from the Past: How to Bring Yourself Down

Negative reactions to cannabis are nothing new. This plant has been around humankind for a long, long time. And, as you might expect, humans have found ways to deal with the unpleasant effects of cannabis.

A 10th-century Persian physician named Al-Razi claimed that to avoid the harms of cannabis ingestion, “one should drink fresh water and ice or eat any acidic fruits.” In Tunisia, lemon has traditionally been the cure for cannabis overdose. Another remedy from the ayurvedic tradition of India recommends calamus root, claiming that “smoking a pinch of calamus root powder will neutralize the toxic side effects of the drug.”

In his Natural History, Book XXIV, a Roman naturalist and philosopher wrote that pinenuts with pepper and palm wine could be taken to counteract the effects of cannabis.

The common thread to these ancient remedies? Terpenes. Specifically, pinene and limonene.

This also raises the possibility that cannabis strains rich in pinene and limonene may leave you less paranoid than those lacking them, but there’s no research to back up this claim.

How to Deal with Cannabis-Induced Paranoia?

From strain selection to emergency measures, here’s what you need to know to reduce cannabis paranoia:

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Have You Suffered From This Side Effect of Cannabis?

As far as side effects go, cannabis is relatively benign when compared to intoxicants like alcohol or pharmaceutical medications such as barbiturates. But at the same time, the herb is not entirely innocent.

One of the most common side-effects of cannabis use is xerostomia, afflicting nearly all cannabis users at one point or another.

Never heard of it?

It is better known as dry mouth or cottonmouth and refers to how marijuana can suck the moisture right out of our mouths.

The most curious part is that it actually has nothing to do with smoking – it is equally caused by edibles, transdermals, concentrates, or just smoking the flower. Dry mouth after weed has everything to do with the endocannabinoid system.

Relax, the Scientists Are On It!

In fact, there is a whole team of scientific researchers at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina who specialize in this curious subject of dry mouth after weed consumption.


Saliva is actually an important component of our digestive system and contains critical enzymes for breaking down fats and starches. By understanding the mechanisms of saliva, we can understand more about our digestive system and how it interacts with neurochemistry as well as our psychological states of mind.

Have you ever noticed how stressful situations or anxiety can also make your mouth go dry?

Saliva and Endocannabinoids

Saliva is primarily produced by two glands at the bottom of our mouth called the submandibular glands. These glands are stimulated by the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that says “rest and digest.” This is balanced against the sympathetic nervous system, signaling the “fight or flight” response, which is active when a frightening situation makes your mouth go dry.

Interestingly, these submandibular glands also have endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. When activated by THC, these receptors block the signals from the parasympathetic nervous system and shut down the secretion of saliva: dry mouth!

It creates the same effect as the sympathetic nervous system, even though you might still be quite relaxed and pleasantly high.


An important point to keep in mind is that cannabis strain has its own profile of cannabinoids that affect different receptors in different ways. CBD, for example, competes for many of the same receptor sites as THC but can have very different effects. Furthermore, every individual’s specific neurochemistry is a little bit different, so the effects of one strain may vary from person to person.

The best solution is to experiment with different strains to see what’s right for you!

Dry Mouth After Weed Consumption: What To Do About It

While the cannabis-stimulated compulsion to engorge yourself with french fries a handful at a time is itself no big deal, simultaneously inhibiting the enzymes that allow us to digest french fries creates a poor combination for our bodies.

The moral of this story is that when it comes to munchies, just try to avoid starches and fats. It might be hard and require a feat of willpower at first, but your body will thank you. You have plenty of options!

PRO TIP: Next time you are struck by the tag team of munchies and dry mouth, reach for some grapes! Fresh fruit does wonders and has loads of electrolytes to rehydrate your mouth!