Medical Marijuana and Paranoia; Ever wonder why is that?
This week I had a patient contact me as a result of experiencing extreme paranoia after vaporizing three doses of medical marijuana using a vaporizer. He explained that within a few minutes he started feeling “not in control of my body.” He said he kept thinking that he was going to swallow his tongue and actually sat for 30 minutes holding the tip of his tongue. He also was fixated on the fact that his heart was beating much faster and he was thinking that he was going to have a heart attack. He said the paranoia laster for a solid hour until he just fell asleep. It is difficult to say exactly what percentage of patients that use medical marijuana experience paranoia but I estimate it at about 6%. READ ON…
In this case I think a couple of things contributed to his paranoia. The first was that he took 3 doses right away. Because there is no standard dosing and no way to know for sure how many milligrams of cannabinoids you are inhaling, it is difficult to know if you used just enough or too much. What we recommend is that new patients use one dose (one inhalation) and wait a full 30 minutes before taking a second dose. It takes about 30 minutes on average for cannabis to have its peak effects.
Secondly, my patient was given a strain of medical marijuana called sativa. Sativas tend to have a higher concentration of THC which is the main psychoactive ingredient in the plant. This leads to, in general, stronger psychoactive effects.
Why do some patients get paranoia and other don’t? Scientists do know for sure yet (they probably would but lack of funds for studies limit its research) but think it may because of receptors in an area of the brain called the amygdala.
This feeling is very uncomfortable. You may have heard or not heard about the police officer who confiscated marijuana and then used it…. and ended up calling 911 because of sever paranoia. The call is VERY REAL but also hysterical. Listen to it here.
99.9% of the time you do not need to call 911 as this feeling will wear off and you will be fine. But certainly if you feel compelled to get medical attention do so. It will most likely end up just being a VERY expensive experience.
Some things that really help when first trying medical marijuana is to have someone you trust with you to reassure you that you will be fine. In most cases this is all that is required to help get you through it. Also, go slow and make sure to tell the people at your dispensary that you do not want something to psychoactive.