Paranoia is the suspiciousness or the belief that one is being harassed, persecuted, or unfairly treated. [1] These feelings can range from subtle and ignorable to intense and overwhelming enough to trigger panic attacks and feelings of impending doom. Paranoia also frequently leads to excessively secretive and overcautious behaviour which stems from the perceived ideation of one or more scenarios, some of which commonly include: fear of surveillance, imprisonment, conspiracies, plots against an individual, betrayal, and being caught. This effect can be the result of real evidence but is often based on assumption and false pretence.

Paranoia is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and delusions. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as cannabinoids, [2] psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. However, it can also occur during the withdrawal symptoms of GABAergic depressants and during stimulant comedowns.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.), 826. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. |
  2. Freeman, D., Dunn, G., Murray, R. M., Evans, N., Lister, R., Antley, A., ... & Di Simplicio, M. (2014). How cannabis causes paranoia: using the intravenous administration of∆ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to identify key cognitive mechanisms leading to paranoia. Schizophrenia bulletin, 41(2), 391-399. |


psychological state


The following people contributed to the content of this article: