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This Everyday Household Item Could Counteract Your Cannabis-Induced Paranoia

December 3, 2014

Anyone who’s ever consumed cannabis will tell you that overdoing it can potentially result in feelings of paranoia and anxiety, two effects that are almost universally regarded as unpleasant. Being uncomfortably high is enough to turn even the most seasoned cannabis consumer off the stuff for years, if not for life.

Well, my friends, you probably have a simple solution stocked in your kitchen that can subdue paranoia and help you breathe a sigh of relief back into a calm pool of stress-free euphoria.


Why Does Cannabis Cause Paranoia in Some But Helps Anxiety in Others?

We first heard about this little trick from iconic musician Neil Young. During an interview with Howard Stern, Stern confessed that he hasn’t touched cannabis in years because “it makes [him] paranoid.”

Neil Young, ever the deep and profound sage, advised him, “Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid. Just chew two or three pieces.”

We at Leafly were curious: does chomping on peppercorns actually work? Sure enough, the next time a bit of unfortunate anxiety hit, even the smallest whiff of black pepper straight from the shaker was enough to quell any panic and anxiety, and the relief hit almost instantly.


8 ways to sober up from being high

What about the science behind the synergy – why and how does this work?

According to a scientific review published by Ethan Russo in the British Journal of Pharmacology, cannabis and pepper have very similar chemical traits; pepper has a “phytocannabinoid-terpenoid effect,” which is known to help with pain, depression, addiction, and anxiety. Combining the terpenoids (such as beta-caryophyllene) in pepper with the tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis has a synergistic chemical reaction on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

In layman’s terms, they both bind to the same receptors in the brain and, when combined, have a therapeutic, calming effect.


Can CBD undo the anxious side effects of THC?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it has recently come to our attention that, if you’re looking to lengthen your high while consuming cannabis, just eat a mango! While this idea stems more from urban legend than from scientific studies, there are legitimate factors to back up this somewhat dubious claim.

Cannabis, as you know, is chock full of terpenes, in particular the myrcene terpene, secreted from the same glands that produce cannabinoids. Mangoes are naturally high in myrcene, and myrcene is highly synergistic with the THC found in cannabis. Myrcene is also responsible for the notorious “couch-lock effect” that indicas are famous for, so it goes to reason that if one were to consume mango long enough to absorb some of those myrcenes into their system (about 90 minutes) before consuming cannabis, that it may, in fact, lengthen and strengthen the effect and duration of the high.

Who knew? You do now!

photo credit (resized): shadowfall via photopin cc

  • bonjohnson

    This is hilarious. Literally two of my favorite things in the world are Mangos and Black Pepper. I eat mango nearly every day, frozen and fresh… can’t get enough of the stuff. And i grind piles of fresh black pepper on most of my meals, definitely much more than the average person I’ve learned. Perhaps my body has learned these things subconsciously? Are my eating habits being chemically influenced by my herbal intake? Whoa…I better go chew on some black peppercorns before i freak out. =^]

  • medcannabis1

    thanks for sharing this informative article…. I will pass it off to our network

  • Must. Have. Internet.

    This seemed to work for about a minute. All I had was ground black pepper. Strangely enough, smoking a cigarette seems to relax my brain a bit as well. I guess both tobacco and mj are technically ‘dirty drugs’ so…who knows. I go days or weeks between smoking mj so I appreciate this informative article vs the other Leafly one that was sorta condescending (‘know what you’re getting into before you smoke’ does no good if you’re already high af, keke)

    • smileysmilerton

      Smoking a cigarette “relaxed your brain” because your body got a hit of nicotine, and said “thank you”… cigarettes don’t relax people. Nicotine is a drug… if someone is addicted to a substance, i.e., nicotine, getting a hit of that substance is what ‘relaxes’ a person. 30 year (ex)smoker, I know what I’m talking about.

      • Geoff Jacobs

        I second that emotion!! I used to LOVE smoking a cigarette or two after smoking weed. The two flavors are, of course, distinctly different and that 1st cigarette after the weed was like rediscovering tobacco flavor!
        Fortunately, I quit decades ago.

        • smileysmilerton

          Oh man, absolutely… there was nothing better… I’m still good though.. 30 years was good enough… cigarettes were killing me. I still don’t miss them… quit on valentines day, after 30 plus years of pack a day… haha I’m free… anyone who smokes cigarettes, is a slave, period… sorry to say, but it’s true. It feels so good not to be a slave to cigarettes.

          • jerry hamilton

            There are cigarettes and cigarettes.
            I smoked Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco for 40 years and enjoyed every moment of it.
            On the odd occasion I was out and smoked a factory made cigarette, I would cough and feel sick.
            I gave up 10 years ago but look back fondly.
            I had a wife I could not have tolerated without Golden Virginia.
            She eventually drove me to drink. lol

      • Agreed. Smoking isn’t even relaxing as an activity or substance, it’s a stimulant. The first time you smoke a cigarette you go whacky for a couple minutes. The ‘relaxing’ effect is just your brain saying, “ahhhhhh there it is, I’ve missed you for FAR too long” even though it’s only been 15 minutes.

        Quit cold turkey from a pack of reds a day in my house (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)–“FUUUUUUUUU—-” <—me in my house

        • smileysmilerton

          Well done, and well said!

          • Muxpux

            Lighting up a smoke for me, helps with my anxiety attacks, as it allows me to sit, kinda turn my brain off, and breathe deeply. The slow deliberate breathing when inhaling and exhaling the smoke calms me.

            Also, the visual of watching the smoke swirl away in the breeze, is fascinating to me.

            I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a cigarette as a “hit of nicotine”. It’s my way of tuning out for a few minutes, and resetting.

            I’ve tried vapes, and even quit for 2 months, until I had a real stressful experience. Nothing calms me like a cigarette.

    • PMB52

      I agree with smiley and Geoff…..I quit 12+ years ago, after smoking for 40 years.

      • smileysmilerton

        I send you a virtual high five, pmb52… cheers! Well done! I’m proud of you!

    • Sebastian Scott

      dirty drugs wtf?

  • Geoff Jacobs

    This absolutely blows my little mind! I had NEVER heard of this?! SO glad I read it, because this can be useful.
    My question is, however, could this be useful for people that DON’T use Cannabis and that may have anxiety attacks??

  • Michael L. Wallace Jr.

    CBD grows new brain cells in the Hippocampus by stealing energy from other parts of the brain . This action makes the munchies necessary to replenish lost energy . Denying the brain that required nourishment can cause it to function improperly . ) Believe it or Not (

    • I shit you not, this is probably the dumbest thing i’ve read this entire week.
      So, uh, congrats!

  • Michael L. Wallace Jr.

    Common Sense would suggest illness (Including Cancers) Relieved & Healed by Cannabis are caused by Cannabinoid Deficiency .

  • thuggyBear

    Also, smoke higher quality pot. I never liked it before chronic pain and a ridiculously high tolerance to most pain meds (I’m not a script abuser either, though, now I know why- I don’t get high) left me with only advil to help.

    I was reluctant to try pot, because of the intense paranoia I would experience around anyone I hadn’t known for a long long time. I am not the paranoid type. I’m more the human embodiment of a Newfoundland/Labrador retreiver. I’m not an anxious guy.

    I tried smoking pure CBD and had what must have been my first panic attack. Now I mix it with a nice hybrid shatter or wax, and I have been perfectly fine, thank god. I ate so much Advil that even small amounts of it burn a hole through my stomach like acid, so it was an incredible relief.

    Gout and arthritis fucking suck. I would have cut off my hands and my feet by now if it wasn’t for weed.

    • Murray Reid

      I have made my own cannabis cream and it is amazing ..leafy had a great recipe..i suffer from arthritis and have had several back surgerys…for me edibles and cream works amaing..goodluck!!

      • Fire Squad

        hey! my mother doesnt want to get high though.. what can i do? seeing her struggle with arthritis everyday..

        • Richard A. Pray

          Take about a half oz of CBD-strain pot and infuse into a jar of coconut oil, toss in a few drops of your mom’s favorite essential oil (I like jasmine) with 2-3 oz of beeswax pellets and you have a wonderful cream.. Just your standard double-boiler infusion. Plenty of YouTube videos… Certainly helps with my wifes’ aches and pains. She, like your mom, is not interested in getting ‘high’.

        • Tila Rose

          I just order some THC Oil for my daughter Cell Cancer and CBD Oil for Chronic pain and it all working well .Dr Peter Hurt is the answer Call/Text him @ +1(804) 537-0917

  • Preacher Sinn

    gotta try this…

  • Dope Year Zero

    Useful info.

  • Paul Loesel

    Smash your hand with a hammer. Same effect as black pepper.

    • Susie Mmpatient

      I tend to agree. Chewing black peppercorns will make you forget anything you’re experiencing besides chewing black peppercorns. It’s … bracing.
      The only thing that works for me when I’m too high is huddling in bed or on the couch under thick covers telling myself it’s just the pot and it will wear off, until I come down or fall asleep, whichever happens first.
      But, really: A gram of avoidance is worth an oz. of cure. Start low and go slow is the best advice for those prone to anxiety/paranoia dealing with a new psychoactive.

  • Hinhan Ska Hoksila Haney

    Mango lassie

  • @x

    I can personally say it works (YMMV). I tend to be high strung and boarder line paranoid at the best of times and USUALLY cannabis helps me chill the F out but occasionally I’ll get a transient thought that ends up sending me down the paranoia rat hole , I actually quit for quite a few years because I was spending so much time paranoid that it wasn’t enjoyable anymore (although I was a 24/7 Stoner at the time so.. anyhow last week I had convinced myself that the pulled muscle in my shoulder just HAD to be a heart attack (FYI never just ignore the signs of a heart attack) and the paranoia got so intense that I was looking at a sleepless night. I decided to try black pepper but had no peppercorns around so I took a Small amount of ground pepper and did the ” between cheek and gum” act for a few seconds and then chewed it up and within minutes I realized I was feeling calm relaxed and really f’king high.
    I’ve been experimenting with pepper as a stop gap measure when I’m feeling ainxious at work and can’t medicate and it’s had some positive results although this may be psychosomatic.

  • Sitkajo

    I heard about this pepper corn trick from the grapevine and it does work. I carry those little restaurant packs of pepper just in case I get that paranoid feeling. But here is the thing…it just means you took in too much THC. Easy to do with weed that has up to 25+%. Probably one-three tokes is enough for such weed. Enjoy the small buzz, with less smoke going in, and skip the pepper is my advice. Moderation in all things sayeth the wise. But if you start to think that everyone knows you are high and the cops are onto you, your boss is going to fire you, etc, then by all means suck some pepper corns.

  • yiehom

    So, what happens if I mix the pepper with cannabis before ingesting, as I don’t want the high?

  • Lin Cochran Burgin

    They keep saying cannabis is harmless but my son killed himself on cannabis.