Black Peppercorns Calm Cannabis Paranoia

May 14, 2016

Some call it paranoia, others call it anxiety. My own experience based opinion is it stems from one’s own compulsion to have to be in control. When it’s taken away suddenly with heightened awareness instead of alcohol’s lower awareness, one feels too vulnerable or exposed without his or her own socially protective behavioral patterns to fall back on.

When singer songwriter Neil Young was being interviewed on air by radio shock jock broadcaster Howard Stern, an unusual biochemical solution to paranoia or other cannabis anxiety producing discomfort was brought up by Neil himself – black peppercorns.

Stern had commented on why he no longer used pot. It made him paranoid. Neil suggested a solution of chewing on a couple of black peppercorns. Not so sure if I’d want to do that while feeling more awareness from cannabis. But then again, cannabis induced paranoia or anxiety has never been an issue for me.

Here’s the scientific physiological biological chemical rationale behind the peppercorn solution. It has to do with complimentary terpenoid-THC entourage effects uncovered by a British pharmacological study titled “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects”.

Terpenes are compounds that give plants and flowers their individual aromas. Evidently, the terpenes from black peppercorns are what mellow out THC induced paranoia. The good folks at who originally reported the Neil Young advice had success just smelling the black pepper.

The entourage effect of terpenoids and cannabinoids is something that’s in a discovery phase. But it’s varied healing effects are beginning to provide more of a nuanced medical marijuana user’s guide, which if left alone will go further for prescribing strains with greater accuracy. More on the entourage effect here.

But Then Again, There’s the Psychological Aspect

When I was in my mid-twenties during the wonderful mid-sixties in Manhattan, my good friend Andy, and art student, dropped by looking to have his first marijuana experience, for which I had become an earnest proselytizer among my circle of friends and acquaintances.

I had just started using cannabis myself, and found it fascinating with how my perspective and awareness expanded, virtually forcing me to be more in the moment. Dialing on my rotary dial phone, which was all there was then, seemed to take forever for each spin to return for the next number to dial. And as a jazz and classical music lover, I was in harmonic heaven.

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