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article imageStudy finds marijuana increases paranoia in some users

By Marcus Hondro     Jul 18, 2014 in Health
A new study from the University of Oxford has found that the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis can cause paranoia in some users. Using 121 subjects, the double-blind study subjected some to THC and others to a placebo.
"The study very convincingly shows that cannabis can cause short-term paranoia in some people," the study's lead author, Prof. Daniel Freeman, said in a statement. "But more importantly it shines a light on the way our mind encourages paranoia. Paranoia is likely to occur when we are worried, think negatively about ourselves, and experience unsettling changes in our perceptions."
The study, entitled "How Cannabis Causes Paranoia: Using the Intravenous Administration of ∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to Identify Key Cognitive Mechanisms Leading to Paranoia" was published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. It looked at both THC and it's ability to increase paranoia in users, and at paranoia itself.
Study: Reality altered with marijuana use
Prof. Freeman said they found that THC in marijuana could also cause increased anxiety, increased negative thoughts, altered perceptions of surroundings such as changes in hearing (sounds seeming louder) and a reduction in short-term memory.
In their study, one-third of the participants were injected with a placebo and of that group 30 percent registered an increase in paranoid thoughts. Two-thirds of the study's participants were injected with THC and of that group 50 percent experienced an increase in paranoid thoughts. Their paranoid thoughts declined as the levels of THC in the bloodstream declined, the study found.
"The study identifies a number of highly plausible ways in which our mind promotes paranoid fears," Prof. Freeman noted. "Worry skews our view of the world and makes us focus on perceived threat. Thinking we are inferior means we feel vulnerable to harm. Just small differences in our perception can make us feel that something strange and even frightening is going on."
Given that paranoia is defined as having unfounded fears that an individual or group is out to cause the paranoid person harm some marijuana users will doubtless believe that the study is simply an effort to restrict user's access to marijuana. That, however, does not appear to be the case.
More about Marijuana, paranoia and marijuana, Thc
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