Does Cannabis cause Paranoia?
I sometimes get told by people, when I talk to them about Cannabis, ‘Oh, but it makes me paranoid’. This is something that you also see posted in the right-wing press, as an argument against Cannabis. What is the truth? The answer is: Yes and No!
What happens, when you use Cannabis, is that your perception is heightened. Food tastes more delicious, music sounds more beautiful, sex feels more ecstatic, and so on. But, by the same token, negative perceptions can also be heightened and increased in volume. If a person takes Cannabis, while having some negative feelings about situations in their life – worries, anxieties, fear – then those negative emotions, previously suppressed, will become stronger. So, the apparency is that Cannabis has made them paranoid.
No, that’s not how it works. What Cannabis does is turn up the volume on their own pre-existing fears, no longer suppressed. More than that, Cannabis not only makes you more aware of your own negativity, it also offers you the opportunity to deal with that paranoia, those fears, by confronting them honestly. Then you can turn that negative energy into positive energy.
But it is not true to say that Cannabis makes people paranoid – it merely reveals their existing paranoia, by bringing it to the surface in present time. So, that should be perceived as a positive, not a negative.
More than that, as an experienced user of Cannabis over more than fifty years, I have observed in myself that, whenever I get high, there is a process whereby one moves up through a band of paranoia before feeling the full effects of the high. It’s almost as if that is the price you pay. If you are already sitting on a bunch of negative paranoia, then those feelings will rise to the surface and demand to be addressed. This simply means that you need to deal with your own negativity before you can fully enjoy the benefits of the Cannabis experience.
The difference between those who enjoy Cannabis and those who find it makes them paranoid, is the ability of the individual to deal with their own negativity. I have witnessed a number of people over the years who simply don’t want to deal with that negativity – so they will demonise Cannabis because of their inability to confront and deal with their own demons.