While marijuana is addicting and intoxicating, it does not pose the same lethal risks as cocaine and heroin. Yet, like every other substance, too much of it can have effects. One of these effects is what is commonly referred to as “cannabis shakes.” While there are still no formal studies as to why people experience shaking after smoking weed, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this phenomenon.
So, What is the Cannabis Shakes, and Is It Normal?
Experiencing tremors or shaking after smoking weed is attributed to a number of causes, and most, if not all, cannabis users have reported a case of the shakes at least once. These shakes can vary in duration, with some lasting only for a few seconds, while others can go on for up to half an hour.
Consuming marijuana is considered phenomenally safe, and achieving a fatal dose is considered next to impossible. Classic warning signs of a cannabis overdose include dry mouth, ravenous hunger, and sleepiness. The cannabis shakes another effect that may seem strange and concerning to others, but it is a completely normal phenomenon. As mentioned, there are numerous causes behind the shakes, and in this article, we will also cover these reasons and the different ways to stop them in their tracks.
Possible Causes of Cannabis Shakes
1. Too Much THC Triggering Anxiety
One of the most well-known medicinal benefits of consuming marijuana is reduced anxiety, especially those with a social anxiety disorder. Several studies have supported this claim with some researches, even showing that one to two puffs of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC concentration is optimal enough to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
However, as the saying goes that too much of something is bad, this also applies to smoking marijuana. The cannabis shakes that occur within different parts of the body can be invoked when you have consumed too much THC from smoking too much weed. Some people report their hands shaking uncontrollably, while others feel it on their feet, head, and back.
2. Mixing Marijuana with Stimulants
As the legalization of marijuana spreads across the world, many users and businesses have started experimenting and combining cannabis in coffee, tea, tobacco, and many ‘others. While people enjoy these combinations and describe them as the perfect mix, it is important to remember that caffeine or tea alone is a pretty potent psychoactive drug. This means they can affect you physically and physiologically. When combining these with marijuana, the effects on our nervous system may become magnified and that is when shaking after smoking weed occurs.
Caffeine is known to boost dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for how we feel pleasure and reward. THC, in the same way, is also known to stimulate the same neurotransmitters throughout the brain, enhancing the effects of dopamine. This enhancement may feel good to many, but it can also make the drugs much more addictive than if they were used separately. A study conducted in 2014 presented significant warning flags about this combination as it revealed that, aside from the cannabis shakes, this combination can also increase weed-associated memory impairment, especially among teenagers.
3. THC-induced Hypothermia
Studies show that smoking weed is unlikely to cause significant effects in our body temperatures unless it is consumed or used in very high doses. THC is known to affect our body temperature in several ways, with some people report feeling warm and others saying that they get cold cannabis shakes. This is often referred to as THC-induced hypothermia. Despite the term, this is oftentimes just a mild decrease in body temperature that is enough to cause shivering.
And if you are smoking weed in a cold space, room, or region, you are also most likely to feel some shaking after smoking weed, especially when consuming them in large amounts. This reaction is thought to be mediated by the THC compounds interacting with our TRPA-1 receptors, which has many bodily functions, including controlling pain, inflammation, and body temperature.
Ways to Combat Cannabis Shakes
Shaking after smoking weed may not be life-threatening, but they can become pretty uncomfortable. Like most other symptoms of overconsuming cannabis, this particular phenomenon will subside in a matter of minutes, or at most, a few hours. Here are some ways to combat the shakes in case they decide to visit you.
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
Stepping outside for some fresh air and taking time to collect yourself is the best way to combat social anxiety shakes caused by a little too much THC. Practicing strategies like deep breathing and shifting your focus on every inhale and exhale that can combat feelings of anxiety will also work with cannabis-induced ones.
Similarly, taking time out from cannabis use will help clear your anxious feelings and bring your reaction down. Step back from marijuana usage for a while and instead take up yoga, listen to music, or even learn relaxation techniques. Anecdotal online pieces of evidence state that warm baths before or during a pot session will prevent the tremors from settling in.
2. Switch to Decaffeinated Coffee
For marijuana users who are also coffee lovers, switching to decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea will help reduce the cannabis shakes or tremors. Since both of these substances act as stimulants to the nervous system, it is best to minimize combining these two or cut it out altogether.
3. Dose with CBD
Several studies have come out showing the ability of CBD to block or counteract the negative psychiatric side-effects caused by THC. CBD is a CB1 receptor antagonist and is known to be an effective anxiolytic. This means that using some high-strength CBD products can help bring anxiety levels down and effectively keep cannabis shakes, which are caused by nervousness at bay. Changing the strain of the cannabis you are consuming can also have a similar effect. Instead of smoking cerebral-focused Sativa strains, try a relaxing Indica strain that is higher in CBD content.
Shaking after smoking weed may be worrying to some, but every experienced cannabis user will know that this phenomenon is normal and will most likely subside within minutes. Understanding the causes and knowing the ways to combat this is pretty straightforward and easy. Just make sure to stay calm and take some deep breaths in case the tremors hit you.