Why marijuana can trigger paranoia
New research from the University of Oxford in the U.K. has found that psychological factors can lead to paranoia in people who use marijuana.
For the study, published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, researchers tested the effect of THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, on 121 participants ages 21 to 50. Two-thirds of the participants were injected with THC at a dose equivalent to a strong joint, while the others were given placebo. The effect of the drug lasted for 90 minutes.
Results showed that among those who were injected with THC, around 50 percent reported paranoid thoughts, compared with 30 percent of people who received placebo. As the compound left the bloodstream, the feelings of paranoia lessened. They also found that THC induced anxiety, worry, negative thoughts about oneself, changed perception and altered the perception of time.
After using a statistical analysis, researchers concluded that these negative feelings and changes in perception may actually cause paranoid feelings in marijuana users. The findings suggest that existing negative feelings may encourage a sense of paranoia when marijuana is used.