Marijuana & Social Paranoia

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, I’m 21 years old. I’ve been smoking marijuana almost on a daily basis for something close to a year, and in a much less amount before that (once or twice a month or so.) Back to last years winter, I started having a lot of problems and my life started to crumble down in a psychological way. I started being really insecure, and having paranoid thoughts about society excluding me. I tried to quit after new years, but I’ve been smoking again recently. The thing is I’ve found so many benefits in smoking, like a very incresed creativity, more relaxed state of mind sometimes, a little bit greater maturity, etc. But I’ve also experienced a lot of social insecurities. I’ve been knowing my best friends for years, but lately I’ve felt a little bit apart from them. They currently don’t know about this habit of mine, because I feel maybe they would see me as a drug addict or something similar. And even though I see them really often, and we have great moments, I’ve always felt unsure about many things related to myself around them. And around other people. I don’t know if maybe they know that I smoke, and don’t want to tell me, or if they exclude me sometimes without me realizing it. I also forget many things all the time, my memory has gone far away from me. But not even all of this has been enough for me to decide to quit smoking. I always think “Nah, they’re just crazy thoughts…”, and continue doing it. I really need help, I feel like I’m losing myself at some point. Please. I would really appreciate it

A. It’s difficult to know how much your drug use is contributing to your psychological problems, but make no mistake it is a factor. People use drugs for a variety of reasons. The main one, not wanting to think about or deal with their problems. Some people don’t know how to fix their psychological problems but they know they feel bad and using drugs is one way to ease the pain. In essence you may be self medicating. In the short term, numbing one’s emotions feels good but in the long run, it only makes their situation worse.

Your drug use is impacting you in a number of negative ways, including eroding your memory, increasing your paranoia and anxiety levels, and an overall diminishing in the quality of your life.

Drug use is dangerous. I receive letters on a regular basis from people asking for help because they smoked marijuana and are now experiencing anxiety, disassociation, derealization, and depersonalization. Do a Google search for those terms and their connection to marijuana use and you will find many cases of people reporting these types of very unpleasant and frightening experiences.

Many people underestimate the potential dangerousness of marijuana. It is a hallucinogenic drug. The most dangerous aspect of illegal drug use is not knowing what you’re getting. There is no quality control for drugs bought on the streets. They can be laced with any number of poisons, some of which could be deadly.

You described your drug use as a habit, but at this point it seems more than a habit. Being unable to quit may indicate addiction. It would be wise for you to seek professional help. Mental health professionals are trained to deal with these types of problems. An important goal of counseling is to teach clients problem-solving skills so they can make positive life choices that lead to a better life.

You can get a referral to a mental health professional from your primary care physician or by clicking the “find help” tab at the top of this page. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Apr 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Marijuana & Social Paranoia. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/22/marijuana-social-paranoia/

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