If you've been smoking for a while, you probably know the feeling. A session is going great, you're taking massive rips from your customized bong...and suddenly everyone is watching you, everything you say is being heavily scrutinized, and...oh yeah, that car parked outside wants to kill you.
(If you're reading this right now because you want help, don't worry, none of those things are true!).
Smoker's paranoia is every smoker's worst nightmare - probably right behind running out of weed.
So how do you handle it? Our online smoke shop team has five helpful tips to get you through!
What is smoker's paranoia?
Smoker's paranoia is when a great time suddenly turns into your biggest nightmare.
Paranoia is when you're doubtful of all the things and people around you, including your own thoughts. You may feel like someone is watching you or like something bad is about to happen. You might be coming up with conspiracies in your head or not believe what the people around you are saying.
Smoker's paranoia is when smoking brings about this sense of paranoia. It isn't fun, and can even turn into a full-blown panic attack.
The first time it happens, you're likely to really freak out because you might not know what's going on. If you're a seasoned vet, you're probably better at spotting warning signs and knowing when to put your custom bong down before it's too late.
Why does it happen?
Your endocannabinoid system - the precious system in your body that weed activates to get you high - is the same system that can sabotage you into a paranoid mess.
When you smoke out of your customized water pipe, compounds like THC bind to receptors in this system, including in the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that regulates fear, anxiety, stress, and - unfortunately - paranoia.
When your pot is high in THC, it can overwhelm your amygdala and send you into a frenzy.
There are lots of different factors that contribute to whether or not you get smoker's paranoia, such as genetics, the THC content in your weed, and your gender. If you're female, you might be more sensitive to cannabis - both its positive effects and negative.
Tips for dealing with paranoia
Get a strain that's more CBD heavy
CBD offsets lots of THC's effects, such as paranoia and racing thoughts. If you're prone to paranoia and get a strain that's heavier in CBD, you'll be setting yourself up for success during your next go-around.
But if you're already paranoid, it's too late for that. Try taking some CBD on its own, whether it's a tincture, gummy, or whatever you have on hand. It will calm you down and help fight off the paranoia. If you have loose CBD flower, throw it in your custom water pipe and smoke away!
Get in touch with your senses
5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. That's the golden rule!
Go through this exercise to ground yourself in the present moment and come back to your body. Write it down in the notes on your phone or on a piece of paper so you always have it, because it will be hard to remember when you're high out of your mind and paranoid about everything.
Other ways to get in touch with your senses include:
- Feeling a soft blanket
- Petting an animal
- Smelling essential oils
- Eating something crunchy
- Sipping on some water
- Giving yourself a hug
- Tapping your fingers to each other
If there are any cool ridges on your custom bong, feel free to touch those too.
Watch a familiar, low-key show
I'm not talking about your favorite thriller or cop-chase show. If you know Spongebob, Friends or Schitt's Creek like the back of your hand, that's more like it.
Choose a show that doesn't have any violence in it, that you've binged a couple of times. It will be familiar and take your mind off of your thoughts.
If you know the show really well, say the lines out loud along with the characters (even if it's just a few that stand out to you).
Snuggle up with your favorite blanket and your dog or cat if you have one. Drink some tea along with your show and feel how warm the cup is in your hands. Get some popcorn for some crunch and you're all set!
Call or text a friend
Sometimes using your lifelines is the best course of action. Your best friend knows you well and will probably know how to talk you down. If nothing else, they'll be a good distraction.
If you're already in a group, be honest about how you're feeling! If you have good friends, they'll be happy to take care of you.
Take a nap
When all else fails, take some Benadryl or CBD and take a nap!
You might wake up still high, but you'll probably be a lot less paranoid than when you started your nap. Catching some zzzs might be exactly what you need to reset and calm down.
Even just lying down in your comfy bed can help, regardless of if you fall asleep. Scroll through social media to calm down and center yourself. Don't underestimate the power of putting yourself to bed!
Although smoker's paranoia is scary and terrible, there are lots of ways to get through it.
Here's another tip so obvious that we didn't include it: put down your customized water pipe. Don't smoke any more! It'll just keep getting worse and worse.
Bookmark this page so you have it saved next time you go too far. You never know when you might need it!