Can THC Cause Derealization?

THC derealization


Answer: Some users of THC or products that contain THC will not experience any symptoms of derealization and others may experience short-term effects relating to the intoxication period. However, some users may have a predisposition to the condition by anxiety and other drug use, which can trigger derealization through the use of THC.

Experts have estimated that there is a high chance of a person to experience derealization once or even twice in their lifetime. Some studies have also indicated that women are twice more likely to get the disorder. We will now take a deep-dive into the question about THC derealization.

What is Delta 9 THC?

THC (delta - 9 - tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant and is recognized as the primary psychoactive ingredient. This is the substance that causes the 'high' effect after consuming cannabis. The component can be used as medicine as it can treat nausea and stimulate your appetite. Prescribed medicines containing Delta 9 THC are ideal for people living with HIV or cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

THC is among the over 400 active substances in cannabis and is one of the most popular cannabinoids along with CBD (Cannabidiol).

What is Derealization?

Derealization is a mental state where one feels detached from the rest of the World. You feel as if you are not in the surroundings or even detached from your own body. Objects and people around seem like they are unreal. It is a disconnection from reality. Derealization may occur in episodes and the disorder may display some of the following symptoms:

• You may find yourself in a fog or dream.
• The world appears muted or fake.
• People or objects look odd such as blurry, too small, too big, or unnaturally sharp.
• Time seems to stand still, slow down, or speed up.
• Sounds are too loud, distorted, or too soft.

These disorder episodes can last for several minutes while at times prolong for months. 

How Can THC Cause Derealization?

For some cannabis-induced derealization symptoms are time-locked, more so to the intoxication period. It may occur in 30 minutes after ingestion and fade away in 120 minutes after ingestion.

Not every cannabis user experiences derealization since THC does not cause derealization as a primary side effect. Instead, the disorder will affect people who already have underlying conditions or issues. THC accelerates or revives the derealization effect from the initial conditions one had. Some of these issues and conditions may include past trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. In addition, other mental disorders such as depression, epilepsy, PTSD, and schizophrenia can cause derealization. In the United States records show that about 200,000 people suffer from derealization on any day.

Numerous sources report cannabis as a hallucinogen, but most authoritative sources do not classify it as one. Therefore, cannabis should not be categorized with psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline as these are hallucinogenic drugs. However, this is not to say cannabis does not cause derealization. Medical data shows that 2 out of 3 persons who have ever experienced some head injuries are more likely to experience derealization.

Personal experience associated with THC in cannabis is variable, dependent on environmental circumstances, and dosing. The psychoactive substances like THC in cannabis vary between the types of cannabis products. Using cannabis products that contain high THC content is likely to cause derealization, but it is not guaranteed that anyone who uses cannabis will experience derealization.

Cannabis will have a higher chance of causing derealization if you mix it with other substances like cocaine, alcohol, or opioid drug. Also, someone who had underlying mental issues or problems is susceptible to experiencing derealization. THC will also revive the condition for people who have gone through some traumatizing events in the past, such as sexual abuse, family issues or traumatizing events that may have effected them in the past. About 66% of people who have ever had a traumatic event will suffer from derealization.

What Users of THC Products Such as Cannabis Are More Prone to Derealization?

Young adults and teenagers, including people who mix cannabis with other substances such as: hallucinogens, alcohol, or ketamine are more prone to THC derealization.

Anxiety and stress are also among the major factors that will cause derealization. Most of the patients affected by this disorder have anxiety issues from their past, such as social phobia or panic disorder. Use of THC after a trauma or significant distress periods will also result in higher chances of derealization.

Other risk factors that may lead to derealization include severe intoxication, a history of cannabis-induced experiences, or sudden withdrawal from continuous use of cannabis. In addition, studies have clearly shown that life stressors may increase the chances of experiencing derealization.

Is THC-Induced Derealization More Acute?

THC-induced derealization would be more acute if the person involved had other disorders like schizophrenia. Such conditions will make you experience derealization at a higher degree, more so if several other factors are involved. For example, anxiety and stress have been discussed as other risk factors about derealization, meaning if you have all these risk factors combined, the experience may be more acute after taking cannabis.

Why Do Some People Not Get Derealization Symptoms?

Not everyone will get derealization symptoms as this is not one of the primary side effects of THC in cannabis. As much as THC may induce derealization, it is more of a catalyst to the underlying disorders in one's body. That is because the precise cause of derealization disorder is not yet determined.

Some cannabis smokers may be more vulnerable, probably because of environmental or genetic factors. Also, high stress and fear may trigger several episodes of derealization. The other underlying disorders may be childhood trauma or occurrences that cause severe trauma and emotional stress.

People without such issues may not easily get derealization from using cannabis products.


The bottom line is THC products can induce derealization and maybe more prevalent in people with other disorders or conditions.