The content provided on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly advise readers to seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns.

To reflect its medicinal nature rather than recreational use, we prefer the term ‘medical cannabis’ over terms such as ‘marijuana’, “grass”. or ‘dope’ which may carry negative connotations.

The opinions expressed in the blog belong to the respective authors, who are not medical professionals, and may not necessarily align with those of Lyphe Clinic. Lyphe Clinic does not endorse any specific products or services mentioned, except those provided through Lyphe Clinic.

Readers should be aware that the legality of medical cannabis varies by location, and this disclaimer may be subject to periodic updates.

In the UK, where medical cannabis is legally prescribed, the conversation often centres on its therapeutic benefits. Yet, beyond these discussions lies a broader narrative – how does weed affect you socially? 

Imagine you’re at a party with a group of friends. They pass around a cannabis vape to lighten the mood. Before you know it, the room quickly fills with easy laughter and relaxed conversation. 

This scene, becoming ever more familiar, exemplifies how cannabis has woven its way into the fabric of social life. But it doesn’t always have the effect of drawing people closer. In some instances, it can isolate them. 

More than just a topic for medical debates or legal discussion, this article explores the varied social consequences of marijuana use. Let’s examine how this ancient plant continues to impact modern lives. 


How Does Weed Affect You Socially?

Cannabis can affect social interactions in various ways, enhancing feelings of relaxation and camaraderie among users. However, it can also lead to social withdrawal and reduced communication skills, impacting personal and professional relationships. Hence, the social effects of cannabis are complex and can vary widely among individuals.


Cannabis and Social Interaction

Three friends enjoy a lively conversation over dinner with wine in a cosy, warmly lit home setting.


As just mentioned above, for many, cannabis acts as a social lubricant. Similar to a glass of wine at a dinner party, it can reduce social anxiety and facilitate deeper conversations. But how exactly does it work? And does it have the same effect in all cases?

Effects of Cannabis on the Mind and Body

THC – the primary psychoactive component in cannabis – affects the brain’s function in processing emotions and social cues. More specifically, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors, a part of the endocannabinoid system and a critical moderator in neurophysiological processes. These receptors are spread throughout the brain, including areas crucial for emotion and behaviour regulation, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

One study suggests that THC reduces amygdala reactivity to social signals of threat, which could explain why users sometimes report feeling less anxious and more relaxed in social settings. This reduced reactivity in a key area of the brain involved in fear and threat processing could lead to more engaging social interactions by diminishing the perceived negative cues. [1]

It’s also essential to consider the effects of cannabis on the body, which can influence social behaviour. The relaxation of muscles, reduction of pain, and alteration of sensory perception can all impact how one interacts in social settings.

Negative Social Impacts of Cannabis

However, not all effects are beneficial. Some studies highlight the potential for cannabis to impair communication skills, disrupt attention, and hinder social interaction. This can lead to anxiety, particularly in high-pressure social settings. [2] As a result, chronic users might experience social withdrawal over time, choosing to use cannabis alone rather than in social settings, which can lead to isolation.

In fact, research from 2020 found that greater frequency of marijuana use among young adults was associated with higher levels of loneliness and psychological distress, and lower levels of flourishing. [3]

It’s important to note that the effect of cannabis on social interactions can vary widely among individuals, depending on factors like personal chemistry, the environment, and the context of use. Some might find that it leads to enhanced feelings of well-being and sociability, while others might experience increased paranoia or anxiety, particularly in unfamiliar or uncomfortable social settings.


Cannabis Use Among Different Social Groups

A man wearing glasses and a beanie exhales smoke while holding a vape, sitting outdoors at a social gathering.

The use of cannabis across different demographics illustrates how various factors like age and socioeconomic status shape its consumption and the social contexts in which it is used.

Age-Related Trends

Among younger adults, particularly those in college or recently graduated, cannabis is often seen as a part of social gatherings and leisure activities. In fact, 43% of 18-24-year-olds reported using it in 2021. [4] 

Meanwhile, older adults are the fastest-growing demographic of new users. Among those aged 50-64 in the US, there was a 57.8% relative increase in past-year cannabis use from 2006/07 to 2012/13. For those aged 65 and older, the increase was even more substantial at 250% over the same period. [5] Unlike their under-24 counterparts, this group may use cannabis at home to manage pain, improve sleep, or alleviate symptoms of chronic illnesses such as arthritis or anxiety. 

Impact of Socioeconomic Factors

Individuals from higher socioeconomic backgrounds may have better access to legal and medical cannabis, benefiting from safer consumption methods like vaping, which is permitted in the UK. They are also more likely to have access to information and resources that guide responsible use. 

Conversely, those from lower socioeconomic statuses might face barriers such as limited access to legal markets, higher reliance on less regulated sources, and a greater risk of legal and social repercussions. 

Accordingly, a 2012 study found that individuals with low socioeconomic status had an odds-ratio (OR) of 1.75 for using cannabis compared to their counterparts with higher socioeconomic status. Moreover, the disparity was even more pronounced for problematic cannabis use, with individuals from the former positions exhibiting an OR of 2.44. [6]


The Role of Cannabis in Social Settings

Cannabis plays a multifaceted role in social settings, influencing dynamics differently based on whether it is consumed in private gatherings or more public spaces.

Private Gatherings: In settings such as homes or at small, intimate parties, cannabis often facilitates deeper personal connections and relaxed interactions. Here, users may feel safer and more comfortable experimenting with the substance. 

The familiar environment provides a controlled setting where the effects, such as increased sociability and relaxation, can enhance the quality of interactions without the fear of judgement or legal concerns.

Public Places: Contrastingly, using cannabis in places such as music festivals or large social events can offer a different dynamic. While it may still enhance the social experience for some, it can also lead to anxiety or paranoia for others, particularly in regions where its use remains controversial or legally restricted. The public nature of these settings can exacerbate feelings of vulnerability among users, affecting their ability to socialise freely and enjoy themselves.

Research Findings

Research underscores the complex role that social contexts play in shaping cannabis use experiences. They influence everything from subjective effects to behavioural responses like cravings.

For instance, a study by Marks and Pow found that the social effects of cannabis, such as feelings of being ‘high’ and intoxication, are significantly influenced by how familiar users are with their surroundings and the people they are with. Their research showed that the outcomes can change dramatically depending on whether they are with close friends or strangers. [7] 

Additionally, Buckner et al. found that socially anxious individuals experience increased cravings during interactions with others. This effect was specific to social settings, as it was not observed in non-social contexts like reading tasks. This indicates that social environments can exacerbate cannabis cravings and the associated anxiety in certain users. [8]


Cannabis and Mental Health

A conceptual image depicting a human profile made entirely of green cannabis leaves, symbolising the relationship between cannabis use and mental health.

The intersection of cannabis use with mental health is a complex and often debated topic. Understanding how it impacts conditions like depression is crucial.


Can weed cause depression? To sum up, it’s a nuanced relationship. Certain reports suggest that it may alleviate symptoms in some users by enhancing mood and providing a sense of calm. However, for others, especially with heavy or prolonged use, it may exacerbate or even contribute to the onset of depressive symptoms. [9] 

Although research shows varying results, it is clear that the context of cannabis use plays a critical role in determining its impact on mental health and social behaviours. This includes the user’s existing mental state, the social environment, and the strain and dosage. 

For instance, data from the Netherlands, where cannabis is legal, found that its use is associated with reduced mental well-being in both men and women. With that said, the magnitude of these effects was small. [10]

Another study from the same region noted that marijuana use was linked to externalising problems (like delinquent and aggressive behaviour) but not internalising problems (such as withdrawn behaviour and depression). [11] 


While not common for all cannabis users, some experience mild to significant hallucinations, especially with high-THC strains or large doses. They can significantly distort reality, potentially leading to awkward or difficult interactions, misunderstandings, and heightened anxiety in social settings.

A 2013 study specifically examined the relationship between cannabis and the onset of hallucinations. It highlighted that THC’s interaction with the brain’s sensory processing centres could lead to altered perceptions, which might contribute to the formation of psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations. This connection is particularly significant given the known psychoactive properties of THC and its ability to distort reality. [12]

If you are interested in more insights, check out our in-depth discussion on ‘Can Marijuana Cause Hallucinations?

Cultural and Community Impact

The broader social and cultural context also affects how cannabis-related mental health issues are perceived and managed. In communities where there is greater stigma associated with mental health and cannabis use, individuals may be more reluctant to seek help or discuss their experiences, exacerbating feelings of anxiety, isolation or depression.


Legal and Health Responses to Cannabis Use

One major thing to note is that in areas with supportive and well-implemented health and legal policies around cannabis, there’s a noticeable drop in problematic use and better public health outcomes. Factors considered include regulation of sales, public education, and integration into health care frameworks. [13]

This demonstrates how legal and health responses that are both informed and compassionately tailored to the community’s needs can make a difference. To this end, people who use medical cannabis can access information and support without the stigma traditionally associated with its use. 

Additionally, as legal barriers are reduced, medical researchers gain more opportunities to study cannabis and its properties, potentially leading to new treatments for various conditions.


Lyphe and Anxiety Management With Medical Cannabis

The logo of Lyphe.

At Lyphe, our team deeply understands the complex ways in which medical cannabis interacts with anxiety. The focus is more than simply reducing symptoms, as it’s about enhancing your entire well-being. This is why we expertly craft personalised medical cannabis treatment plans that address both the mental and physical facets of anxiety, ensuring a holistic approach to your health. 

More specifically, treatments are designed to integrate seamlessly into your lifestyle, helping to stabilise mood swings and reduce anxiety triggers. This thorough care aims to empower you, making daily life more manageable and enjoyable.

  • Expertise: Lyphe’s doctors are among the UK’s most seasoned medical cannabis specialists, ensuring patients receive knowledgeable and empathetic care.
  • Convenience: All consultations and follow-ups are conducted online, providing ease of access to those needing continual support without the stress of travel.
  • Supportive Care: From the first consultation to ongoing treatment adjustments, our dedicated patient support team ensures a seamless and supportive experience.

For those exploring how medical cannabis can play a role in managing anxiety, Lyphe provides a compassionate and professional environment to start this journey. Book an appointment today and start a new chapter towards a calmer, more fulfilling life.



Exploring how weed affects you socially reveals a spectrum of interactions and influences that shape our daily lives. It can enhance social bonding among friends or possibly complicate relationships due to its varied psychological impacts. Just like people, the effects of cannabis are diverse, shaped by individual health, the setting of use, and cultural backgrounds.

Grasping these dynamics is essential, especially for those contemplating medical cannabis as part of their wellness regime. Now that you’re aware of the complexities of cannabis and its effects on social life, it’s important to lean on reliable sources that focus on well-being and informed decision-making. 

For those looking to explore how medical cannabis might benefit their lives, particularly in managing conditions like anxiety, Lyphe offers expert guidance and personalised care plans. Get in touch to learn more about your options in a supportive and professional setting.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does weed affect your behaviour?

Weed can significantly influence your behaviour by altering mood, perception, and cognitive functions. It might enhance feelings of relaxation and sociability in some, while in others, it can lead to anxiety or reduced motivation. The effects vary widely depending on the individual, the environment, and the type of cannabis used.


Does weed make you paranoid?

Yes, weed can make some people feel paranoid. This reaction is particularly associated with higher THC strains and larger doses, which can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and discomfort, leading to paranoia. The experience can vary greatly from person to person, depending on individual sensitivity and the context in which cannabis is used.


Does weed make you angry?

Weed doesn’t inherently make you angry, but it can amplify pre-existing emotions or mood states. For some individuals, the effects of cannabis might increase irritability or frustration, especially if they’re predisposed to such feelings or if they experience discomfort from the drug’s other effects. Each person’s reaction can vary based on their unique biology, the strain of cannabis, and the setting in which it is used.


Does smoking weed help you study?

Smoking weed does not universally aid in studying; its effects can vary widely among individuals. Some users report feeling more relaxed and open to new ideas, which could potentially aid in creative thinking. Others may experience impaired short-term memory and decreased focus, which are critical for learning and retaining new information. It’s important to remember that smoking weed remains illegal in the UK, with only vaping and using oil as legal forms of consumption.



  1. https://www.jneurosci.org/content/28/10/2313 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S002239561300383X?via%3Dihub 
  3. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S037687162030569X 
  4. https://nida.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/2022/08/marijuana-and-hallucinogen-use-among-young-adults-reached-all-time-high-in-2021 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27767235/ 
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871611003887?via%3Dihub 
  7. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hup.470040408 
  8. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037/a0029763& 
  9. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1360-0443.2003.00437.x 
  10. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1890571 
  11. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/cannabis-use-and-mental-health-in-secondary-school-children/A5B21A8C643B2F58CF5C749E50C15436 
  12. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4614-4121-2_15 
  13. https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.1060656/full 

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