Keep calm and listen to Neil Young's advice on how to cure weed paranoia

Keep calm and listen to Neil Young's advice on how to cure weed paranoia

VicesJanuary 03, 2019

Next time you have a crippling panic attack when you're smoking weed, listen to Neil Young. No, no not his music ... we're talking about his medical advice. The guy's got a cheap, occasionally-delicious cure for weed paranoia, and he might just be on to something. Keep on rockin' in the anxiety-free world!

When Howard Stern interviewed Neil yesterday, the conversation naturally drifted right where it should have: to the tantalizing topic of weed. However, Stern revealed that while he had loved smoking in the past, he can no longer get high at all because it makes him intensely paranoid.

That's where Dr. Neil Young came in.

“Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid,” he told Stern. “Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it.”

... Wait, fucking pepper? Pepper is what's going to make us finally be able to hit the 420 bong again after years of debilitating paranoia? All this time, we've been refusing dabs and joint orgies for fear of anxiety, and all we had to do is put three pieces of pepper in our mouths?

We had to look this up.

So we did a little research, and it turns out that the Grammy award-winning guitar lord could be right.

According to a recent report by, black peppercorns could be the solution to reducing the paranoia effects some people get after smoking weed.  By simply smelling or chewing on peppercorns, stoners can mitigate weed's negative, anxiety-inducing effects.

Another paper in Canada's Cannabis Digest observed the impact pepper had on pot. "Most patients who have tried this simply took a few sniffs of the black pepper to receive an almost immediate effect," wrote the paper's author, Owen Smith. "Others have reported that after chewing on pepper corns they felt relief within an hour, but that may be a delay most would seek to avoid."

In a scientific review published by the British Journal of Pharmacology, author Ethan Russo writes that pepper has a “phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effect” that can help with “pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”

In English, that means there's a high degree of chemical similarity between the THC weed and the terpenes in pepper.  The combination of the two creates a synergistic effect, which has high potential for scientists studying medicines with cannabinoids. The terpenes in pepper, which we'll refrain from making your pronounce, have been used to treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and dementia.

Even Pliny The Elder suggested patients used black peppercorns to calm the fuck down, as he suggested in his book, Natural History Book, XXIV.

Pliny writes: “The gelotophyllis [‘leaves of laughter’ or cannabis] grows in Bactria and along the Borysthenes. If this be taken in myrrh and wine all kinds of phantoms beset the mind, causing laughter which persists until the kernels of pine- nuts are taken with pepper and honey in palm wine.”

Damn it. If we had only read more Classical-era medical literature.

Well, now that Neil Young has ellucidated this apparently centuries-old secret, we'll just be over here, making up for years of lost time with this penis-shaped bong we found. Thanks Neil!

And, in case you had any doubts about Neil's weed advice authencity, here's a clip from his live show at the Cellar Door last year, in which he opens by saying, "This song is about dope. Mostly, just grass. And what happens when you start getting high and find out that people you thought you know, you don't know anymore. You don't get high and they do. Your girlfriend, she doesn't understand. Your life is crazy."

Yeah, pretty sure he knows what he's talking about.