In my quest to fully understand MIPA (Marijuana Induced Paranoia/Anxiety) a phenomenon that has dissuaded millions of individuals from considering cannabis as a medicinal or recreational option, I’ve begun to note the emergence of two distinct categories of MIPA-vulnerabilities.
Psychosomatic MIPA–There are those who experience a body-driven form of anxiety, where they become distressed by certain psycho-somatic effects –like a racing heartrate, or trouble breathing– that they associate with cannabis intoxication.
Psychotomimetic MIPA–This second group tends to experience a type of “narrative-based” psychotomimetic trauma, meaning they experience a temporal reality quite similar to that experienced by a sufferer of schizophrenia or psychosis, often involving a haunting chain of “insane” insights that string together to tell a story. These individuals may feel as if they’re trapped in a movie, or that they’re the intended victim of some nefarious plot put together by strangers off the street. They may feel targeted by law enforcement. Or they may even feel that their closest friends and family are conspiring against them.
While my client work has led me to develop sound techniques to abate both types of MIPA, my personal history and vulnerabilities are largely comprised of the latter psychotomimetic, “narrative-based” version of MIPA. It’s taken me several months of research and experimentation, but I’m now able to experience this intense, dark and somewhat fantastic world without losing my sense of sober identity.
In the videos below, I’m suggesting a rather simple three-part model to explain the critical elements that ignite the Psychotomimetic MIPA experience.
Component 1) Meaning
A MIPA episode often commences with some kind of critical identification of significance with a phenomenon outside the self. We hear, or see, or remember something that arrives on our mind with a profound sense of significance. Monomorphs (non-paranoid smokers) experience profundity as well, but the key difference here is that the polymorph (paranoaics) are often unable to identify these bursts of meaning as merely symptomatic of cannabis intoxication. High or not, when a polymorph experiences a pointed link between the inner consciousness and the global consciousness, they are apt to become committed to deriving real-world relevance from what they’ve perceived, whereas the monomorph readily identifies the experience as synonymous with the state of being high.
Meaning can take many shapes. In the video I use the example of television. Many among the Psychotomimetic paranoiacs (polymorphs) will report having experienced frightfully urgent messages that seem to manifest straight out of the television set or radio. If you’d like some detailed stories of what this looks like,thought by thought, sensation by sensation, check out the second free excerpt from my book, Handbook for the High-Functioning Paranoiac. The excerpt is called “What Extreme Paranoia Looks Like” and it can be found here.
Component 2) Synchronicity
Synchronicity is coincidence or seemingly fated or uncanny phenomena. In the free resource, Dictionary for the High-Functioning Paranoiac, which is published here on this blog, the concept of “Acceleration” — an effect of a polymorph’s cannabis intoxication – is explained as “perceived concentrations of synchronistic phenomena in relation to the standard passage of time.” In short, when a polymorph gets high, he or she tends to synthesize his observations of the world into a grand mosaic of purpose. Conflict and paranoia arise when synchronistic phenomena tend to point to a dark conclusion or attempt to compel the individual to an action that his grounded mind is not comfortable performing.
Synchronicity and meaning are certainly interrelated, but I think it’s important that we distinguish them in order to provide a sense of how MIPA can make one feel like they’re losing control. Meaning in and of itself does not wield as much compulsive power as synchronicity. In the video above, the music playing seems to accompany my declamations. In my intoxicated state, I perceive a strong sense of meaning between myself, the sharing of my thoughts, and the music that is offering a somewhat random but fitting aesthetic accompaniment. In the video, I’ve not passed beyond the state of simple meaning into the more compulsory state of synchronicity. Synchronicity is where the voices in your head start to drown out your own voice and you start to feel a loss of control.
Component 3) Psycho-Sexual Mortality Awareness
Here is the second instillation of the MPVD 14, where I do my best to explain the third component of the paranoid high. Psycho-Sexual Mortality Awareness. More on this to come. This is a confounding concept and I’m still learning about it myself.