It’s true what they say: smoking weed can make you paranoid. Not everyone experiences an anxiety spiral when they smoke, but getting high does produce a heightened feeling of awareness — of yourself, of others, and of how others see you. On the surface, these paranoid feelings can often seem totally irrational — no, the pizza delivery guy didn’t take one look at your squinty eyes, conclude that you were high off your ass and decide to call the cops — but I happen to think that most examples of high anxiety (see what I did there?!) are actually reflections of real issues, insecurities and fears that are more subtle but just as insidious in our sober lives. And I’m a big believer that this “paranoia” — though I prefer to think of it as “artificially-induced objectivity” — can actually be a good thing if it helps you understand yourself better. So, with that in mind, I smoked a little bit of that good shit, did a deep dive into the recesses of my own “paranoid” thoughts, as well as the paranoid thoughts reported on various marijuana message boards, and came up with a few common examples, along with armchair analysis of what those paranoias really say about you and some helpful tips on how to deal.
PARANOIA: That time is passing either very quickly or very slowly. As a result, you won’t have enough time to get everything you want to get done or you have too much time and don’t have enough activities to fill it. Sometimes you’re simultaneously paranoid about time passing both too quickly and too slowly AT ONCE, a phenomena which deserves its own episode of “Cosmos,” if you ask me.
What It Says About You: You have a deep understanding of Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity, so deep that you’re not really aware of it when you’re not stoned. (In fact, you were probably Albert Einstein in a past life, in which case I would like to thank you, Albert, on behalf of all scientists, for all that you did for the world.) You also have issues with time management and perhaps have anywhere from a drop to a massive helping of ADHD, which explains why you’re distracted by fears of boredom which then get in the way of you being productive.
How To Deal: Set various alarms on your phone for all that you want to accomplish while you are totally fucking baked, all the way up until bedtime, that way you know your schedule is booked from the time that the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” marathon starts, and will be reminded to do everything else on your list, i.e. “order bean n cheese burrito from taqueria,” “put away dishes (maybe),” “practice doing beachy waves with curling wand,” and “pass level 545 in Candy Crush.”
PARANOIA: That the person you’re with wants to fuck you. Your best friend. Your coworker. Your sister. Justin Bieber’s Men’s Health spread. It could be anyone honestly, even your dog. The thirst may or may not be real.
What It Says About You: You are terrified of intimacy and/or have some latent sexual shame. Being high has made you hyper aware of the seemingly intimate moments happening around you, from your friend’s anecdote about how she hasn’t had sex with her husband in months, to the reference to “transvaginal mesh” in the commercial currently playing on TV, to your dog humping her monkey toy in the corner. And because you’re overly self-aware and self-absorbed when you’re lit, they feel like they are actually happening to you, so it totally makes sense why you might, say, interpret your bestie’s complaints about her sex life as a precursor to her confessing that she’s always wanted to make love to a woman, specifically you.
How To Deal: Even if you’re horny and DTF, let them make the first move. Chances are they won’t and you’ll wake up the next morning feeling really fucking mortified that you almost told your BFF that you were down to experiment, that what Bob didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him, and that she has lovely breasts. And thank god, you didn’t.
PARANOIA: That your body language/voice/gestures are not coming out like you intend them. Your voice is too high pitched and vaguely Scottish, or you keep laughing in a way that sounds really false, or the way you way you walked to the bathroom just now was like you were auditioning for “America’s Next Top Model.” Everyone else in the room is too polite to say anything, but you’re pretty sure there will be an email chain going around tomorrow in which your friends will discuss not inviting you to their next hangout session because you make them uncomfortable.
What It Says About You: You’re insecure that others perceive you as trying too hard, affected, fake or just plain weird. You fear that they’ve only put up with your social awkwardness up until this point out of pity, and that pity is wearing thinner than Tyra’s patience with a model questioning her expertise.
How To Deal: Excuse yourself to go (i.e. catwalk strut, sorry) to the ladies room, turn on the faucet so everyone assumes you’re trying to cover up the fact that you’re taking a shit, and practice laughing/speaking/smiling/nodding thoughtfully/etc. in front of a mirror, until you are confident that you are doing so in a manner than is as close to normal as possible. Strut back into the room where your friends are (nothing we can do about that, unless you manage to find a full length mirror to practice walking in front of) and crack a joke about how you almost clogged the toilet to really drive your bathroom excuse home. Laugh like the normal person you now know yourself to be.
PARANOIA: That everything you’ve been tweeting is not remotely as funny/interesting/deep as you think it is. Worse than that, everything you previously thought was funny/interesting/deep is actually potentially incredibly offensive or cringe-worthy and pathetic. You might have to go into seclusion if you don’t delete that tweet about how your dog “is kind of a boy-girl, just like Shiloh Jolie Pitt,” because FUCK, is that offensive to trans people? I would never want to be offensive to trans people! We are all one bad stoned Twitter joke away from being the next Justine Sacco! (While you’re deleting ill advised tweets, you should probably nix the slew of “jokes” you made earlier about what you’re looking for in a dude — not only did Cathy call and demand her schtick back, but she also wanted to remind you that the guy you were sleeping with is totally gonna unfollow you and never call you back again, loser.)
What It Says About You: You spend way too much fucking time on Twitter, have an inflated sense of importance and are naive if you think the guy you’ve been screwing is paying attention to your tweets (he unfollowed you a week ago, dude, sorry).
How To Deal: Create a separate anonymous Twitter account so you can tweet about your dog’s gender identity to your heart’s content without fear of accidentally offending anyone in the trans community.
Vice Week is our seven-day exploration of all the indulgences that surely will ruin us sooner than we can imagine. But hey, what a way to go. You can check out all of our Vice Week coverage here.