Know Your Mind

Perspectives from clinical psychology

Cannabis Really Can Cause Paranoia

The largest ever study of the effects of the main psychoactive component of cannabis suggests that it can cause paranoia in vulnerable individuals Read More

I think that the use of the

I think that the use of the word cause in this article is problematic and suggestive that cannabis use actually causes paranoia. It is my view that cannabis can, at times, be a trigger for the underlying paranoid states that we may or may not be aware of within our psyche. By attributing or suggesting that cannabis causes these states is an obscufation of the underlying or hidden cause. From my experience of living for years, with a paranoid partner, and observance of him it is apparent, to me, that paranoia ie deep suspiscion/distrust etc is actually a learnt behaviour - that was in his younger childhood very warranted indeed. The fact that he has retained these 'behaviours' and now applies them to every person he ever encounters is the problem - the way he was parented is the cause. The fact that cannabis can trigger a heightened state of paranoia is not in dispute - however if we imply that cannabis may be the 'cause' we are missing out on some very serious information. When research is carried out using, what are deemed to be, mentally healthy people and they subsequently, via cannabis use, attain higher degrees of paranoia - perhaps it may be more prudent to take a deeper look at the behaviours of the users and how the cannabis has potentially triggered some unconscious paranoia, as opposed to caused it.

Cannabis doesn't cause paranoia

In my experience use of cannabis causes an intensification of thoughts/focus. So, if you have underlying anxiousness or even mild paranoia, cannabis will intensify it greatly. I've found cannabis to be a great teacher. It will point out problems in your life and demand they be dealt with. If you've dealt with your issues...you won't get anxious or paranoid...you'll simply be relaxed and feel fantastic after ingesting. That is the goal - a peaceful state. If you can achieve it, then cannabis is great for enhancing experiences and healing the body.

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Daniel Freeman, Ph.D., is a professor of clinical psychology. Jason Freeman is a writer specialising in psychology.

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