Does CBD Oil Cause Paranoia

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Understand the science behind why cannabis can make users feel paranoid and learn how to avoid this feeling. The largest study of the effects of the main ingredient of cannabis has shown definitively that it can cause short-term paranoia. The Oxford-led research also, for the first time, identifies psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in people who take cannabis. CBD won't cause you to feel paranoid, as it binds to receptors in your body rather than in your brain. Researchers are finding it may be able to counteract paranoia, especially when it's a result of THC. CBD can actually "quiet down" your cannabinoid receptors, while THC can cause hyperactivity which can lead to paranoia.

Does CBD Oil Cause Paranoia

Article written by

Dipak Hemraj Head of Research and Education

Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture and economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.

Cannabis and mental health – how to reduce the chances of feeling anxious when using cannabis. Read more here.

Cannabis tolerance happens when the body gets used to the amount of THC ingested. Learn more about the pros, cons, and how to reset cannabis tolerance quickly.

Mixing marijuana and alcohol can enhance the other’s harmful effects. However, it is possible to mix the two safely in moderation.

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How cannabis causes paranoia

The largest study of the effects of the main ingredient of cannabis has shown definitively that it can cause short-term paranoia. The Oxford-led research also, for the first time, identifies psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in people who take cannabis.

The research team, led by Professor Daniel Freeman, found that worrying, low self-esteem, anxiety and experiencing a range of unsettling changes in perceptions most likely led to the feelings of paranoia.

‘The study very convincingly shows that cannabis can cause short-term paranoia in some people,’ says Professor Freeman. ‘But more importantly it shines a light on the way our mind encourages paranoia. Paranoia is likely to occur when we are worried, think negatively about ourselves, and experience unsettling changes in our perceptions.’

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is the most in-depth investigation ever of the paranoia-inducing effects of the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Participants were given a range of tests of excessive suspiciousness, including real-life social situations, a virtual reality simulation, self-report questionnaires and clinical interviews.

Paranoia is excessive thinking that other people are trying to harm us. Many people have a few paranoid thoughts, and a few people have many paranoid thoughts

Professor Daniel Freeman

All of those who took part had reported mistrustful thinking in their day to day lives. This is not an unusual sample as approximately half the population report similar paranoid type thoughts occurring in the past month. The scientists tested 121 participants between the ages of 21 and 50, all of whom had taken cannabis at least once before. None of the participants had a history of mental illness and all were screened to rule out relevant health conditions.

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Two thirds of the participants were injected with the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis and one-third were injected with a placebo. The dose was equivalent to a strong joint. The advantage of injection was that it reduces variability across participants in how much THC is in the bloodstream during testing, compared to oral or inhalation administration routes. In the study participants, the THC had effects for 90 minutes.

The study found that the main ingredient of cannabis increased the likelihood of paranoia occurring. Half the participants had paranoid thoughts with THC, and 30% with placebo. That is, 1 in 5 participants had an increase in paranoia directly attributable to the THC. The paranoia declined as the drug left the blood stream.

The drug also caused a range of other psychological effects: anxiety; worry; lowered mood; negative thoughts about the self; various changes in perception such as sounds being louder than normal and colours brighter; thoughts echoing; altered perception of time, and poorer short-term memory.

The Oxford researchers used a sophisticated statistical analysis which indicated that it was likely that the increase in the negative feelings and the perceptual changes led to the increase in paranoia. There was no indication that the reductions in short-term memory caused the increase in paranoia.

Professor Daniel Freeman of the Department of Psychiatry explains: ‘Paranoia is excessive thinking that other people are trying to harm us. It’s very common because in our day-to-day lives we have to weigh up whether to trust or mistrust, and when we get it wrong – that’s paranoia. Many people have a few paranoid thoughts, and a few people have many paranoid thoughts.’

The researchers believe the study reinforces the idea that paranoia arises from multiple causes.

‘The study identifies a number of highly plausible ways in which our mind promotes paranoid fears. Worry skews our view of the world and makes us focus on perceived threat,’ says Professor Freeman. ‘Thinking we are inferior means we feel vulnerable to harm. Just small differences in our perception can make us feel that something strange and even frightening is going on.’

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He adds: ‘The study provides a great deal more information about the immediate effects of cannabis, but it did not investigate clinically severe disorder. The results don’t necessarily have any implications for policing, the criminal justice system, or legislation. It tells us about the little discussed paranoid-type fears that run through the minds of so many people from time to time. The implication is that reducing time spent ruminating, being more confident in ourselves, and not catastrophizing when unusual perceptual disturbances occur will in all likelihood lessen paranoia.’

The study is reported in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. As well as funding from the MRC, it also received support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

Does CBD Make You Paranoid?

It’s not uncommon to experience paranoia when consuming THC, but does CBD have the same effect? I set out to uncover the answer & have first-hand experience to share with you:

CBD won’t cause you to feel paranoid, as it binds to receptors in your body rather than in your brain. Researchers are finding it may be able to counteract paranoia, especially when it’s a result of THC. CBD can actually “quiet down” your cannabinoid receptors, while THC can cause hyperactivity which can lead to paranoia.

THC Hits The Brain, CBD Hits The Body

Although you probably already know how CBD is much different than THC, did you know it’s received by your body in an entirely different way?

THC is known to bind to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors located in your brain. Because of the location & function of these receptors, it can cause you to feel paranoid or anxious due to “hyperactivity” caused by too much THC! Your receptors are firing off with large amounts of THC & therefore it can bring on some intense effects.

CBD, on the other hand, binds mainly to CB2 receptors that are located throughout your body & largely in your immune system. Instead of being received by your brain, it’s received in the body. This also explains CBD’s promising results when it comes to inflammation & autoimmune conditions.

This is largely why CBD is not going to make you paranoid, where THC can. But, what about when CBD is used alongside THC in something like a Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

Will Full-Spectrum CBD Be Different?

An important factor in not feeling paranoid with THC is the amount you consume. When it comes to Full spectrum CBD, we are talking about a limit of 0.3% THC maximum. So, not a lot.

We still recommend Full Spectrum to those who’ve had previous negative experiences with THC. In all likelihood, the paranoia was a result of taking one too many gummies or puffswe’ve all been there at one point. But, understanding that there is much less THC in these products than gummies you’d get from a dispensary in Colorado!

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Also, we must understand the effect CBD has on THC & paranoia.

Using CBD Alongside THC

One of the biggest reasons people are using CBD today is to calm down anxious thoughts/relieving stress. So, it clearly has a natural calming effect. This especially comes into play when alongside THC.

Various studies including a 2019 controlled trial published to the National Library of Medicine showed that CBD has the ability to reduce the negative side effects of THC! Usually being paranoia & anxiety. CBD has the potential to help “calm” those cannabinoid receptors down & help your nervous system return to normal!

We advise our friends who enjoy THC to always have some CBD on hand! As it can really come in handy when you’re feeling like you just might never feel normal again.

THC can certainly be intense, but there are reasons you shouldn’t count it out completely.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of THC

We would tell anyone, especially newcomers, to be mindful about how much THC you are consuming. Because although you can’t overdose or become addicted to THC (physically), you certainly can reach a point of “too much”. Which can come with an existential crisis, an endless case of the munchies, & for some, nausea.

But, fear not! THC can be extremely beneficial when used correctly. As you may or may not know, it specifically empowers CBD so you can feel better results at lower doses! Having just a little bit of THC makes the CBD work much better & more consistently than when you take it away.

We recommend Full Spectrum as a first-choice for most everyone. The cases for not taking Full Spectrum CBD are things like drug testing for work or hypersensitivity to THC. As for some, even that little 0.3% is just too much. But, for most, choosing Full Spectrum is the best bet to finding the most relief.

Final Thoughts

CBD isn’t going to make you paranoid. It acts much differently than THC & delivers calming effects that are received by your body, not your brain.

This doesn’t mean it won’t help with anxious thoughts/etc. As we know, CBD has been showing promise in these areas & works more so with the Central Nervous & Endocannabinoid systems to help you remain calm.

So, don’t be afraid to give it a try! It usually comes with a ton of benefits without any sort of negative effects.

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