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What Are The Cannabis Shakes?
4 min

What Are The Cannabis Shakes?

4 min

As a completely harmless, albeit very annoying, side effect of smoking weed, the cannabis shakes can be alarming to the uninformed. However, they can be remedied or abated with just a few minor changes. But is it just down to too much THC, or other factors as well? Find out all about cannabis shakes, and what to do about them.

Have you ever been in the middle of a smoking session with friends, only to notice your arm or leg inexplicably shaking? You're not alone; cannabis shakes are a well-known and totally harmless phenomenon. But why do they occur?

While it's easy to assume you've had too much herb, and that's one possible reason, there are numerous factors that might contribute to this phenomenon. Allow us to explain everything you need to know, including what to do about it should you experience shaking the next time you enjoy a nice smoke or vape.

Why do cannabis shakes happen?

Why Do Cannabis Shakes Happen?

We've alluded to the fact that too much THC is one potential culprit behind the cannabis shakes. However, factors such as temperature, nervousness, and low blood sugar can also trigger or exacerbate the issue. Let's dig a little deeper and investigate each element that may contribute to shaking when smoking weed.

Too much THC

Hitting a strain that contains too much THC is a sure-fire way to get the cannabis shakes. This might be more of a problem for the uninitiated stoner, but it can also happen to the experienced. Smoking a strain you're unfamiliar with might hit harder than you think. The result is a mild THC overdose. However, the term “overdose” is merely an explanation for what's happening, and is in no way life-threatening or dangerous. Still, the resulting shaking can be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing.

As too much THC is arguably the number-one cause of the cannabis shakes, it's essential to recognise your limits before toking away.

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Can You Overdose On Weed?

Nervousness or anxiety

Nervousness Or Anxiety

As we know, the relationship between cannabis and anxiety is a hugely complex one, often fraught with misinformation. However, cannabis has the potential to amplify anxiety in certain cases. This reaction can manifest itself physically, meaning cannabis shakes may in fact also be a symptom of anxiety.

Anxiety, and subsequent shaking, may also stem partially from your environment. For example, smoking with unfamiliar people, or in an unfamiliar environment, can heighten tension and discomfort. It should come as no surprise that the former point—too much THC—will only amplify these feelings. So if you’re feeling bad, smoke something mild, or don’t smoke at all.

Cold temperatures

This might sound a little obvious, but cold temperatures can also be responsible for, or at least contribute to, the cannabis shakes. Simply exposing yourself to a cold environment can drastically lower your overall body heat. However, cannabis can also play a part in this. An effect known as “THC-induced hypothermia” is a real, albeit rare, side effect of cannabis.

In general, smoking cannabis will slightly lower your body temperature for a short period, making you a little more susceptible to the surrounding climate. So don't go out into the great outdoors unprepared!

Stimulants

Stimulants

Coupling your cannabis with stimulants such as coffee, energy drinks, or tobacco can all play a part in the cannabis shakes. The use of any (or all) of these stimulants will result in a boost in dopamine levels. This in itself can cause twitching and shaking, so it might be worth laying off any stimulants when enjoying your favourite strain.

Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar could also be a cause of shaking when smoking weed. As blood glucose levels drop, this can trigger a range of symptoms, the most common of which include feeling lightheaded and faint, and shaking and trembling. Cannabis is thought to influence this phenomenon, as the body's innate endocannabinoid system likely plays a part in balancing glucose levels, with receptors located in areas of the body responsible for regulating this system.

Thus, it’s possible that consuming cannabis may cause a slight drop in blood sugar, thereby causing shaking. If you find yourself feeling weak or shaky when smoking (or any time for that matter), treat yourself to a sugary drink or snack. Just make sure it’s caffeine free!

How long do the cannabis shakes last?

While experiencing cannabis shakes might be a bit of a weird sensation, fortunately, they don't last long! Shaking usually lasts up to 30 minutes if you've smoked or vaped your herb. However, because of the long-lasting and potent nature of edibles, the issue may persist for a few hours if you’ve ingested THC.

What to do when experiencing the cannabis shakes?

What To Do When Experiencing The Cannabis Shakes?

So, if you find yourself shaking during a smoking session, what can you do about it? Although the sensation will pass, it can be pretty alarming and uncomfortable to wait it out. Well, it turns out there are plenty of ways you can look to settle your shakes. Here are some of our top suggestions.

Change your environment

It might sound like a pretty basic idea, but changing your scenery can help out with your overall mood and subsequent shaking. As we know, our environment plays a vital role in our emotional state, and taking control by moving to another area can only be seen as a positive thing.

This might be an even more crucial step if you're in the company of stoners who you don't know very well. Or if you're just feeling a little cold, vacating to a new room with some comfy blankets might be enough to quell your cannabis shakes.

Likewise, going on a walk and getting some fresh air is a fantastic way to clear your mind and soothe your body and soul.

Related article

What To Do When You're Too High On Cannabis

Keep warm

Keep Warm

As previously touched upon, cold temperatures can also play a part in the severity of cannabis shakes. That's why it's hugely important to keep warm throughout a smoking session. Even in the summertime when you're enjoying a smoke with friends outdoors, it can quickly turn a little chilly once the sun goes down. There's certainly no shame in packing a jumper to counter the cold.

The same goes for indoor spaces. Access to a blanket and consistent temperatures are paramount to a great smoking experience, and will also reduce any shaking symptoms.

Hydrate

Drinking water during a smoking session will ensure you stay hydrated throughout, and can even help to stave off cannabis shakes. Keep a bottle handy while enjoying a blaze, and you simply can't go wrong.

Stay away from stimulants

If you're of the disposition of being heavily affected by stimulants, it might be worth sitting them out if you're in the middle of a session. As you'll already be feeling the effects of cannabis, drinking a coffee or an energy drink will only serve to raise already high levels of dopamine in the body.

By all means, you might be fine with a coffee alongside a joint; just be sure to take it easy if you notice any shakes coming on. Or better yet, don't leave it to chance and completely forego it.

Try CBD

Try CBD

As THC is the main perpetrator of cannabis shakes, consider hitting a CBD strain in between THC-rich joints. CBD is thought to have potential soothing qualities, and it won’t increase the psychoactivity of your experience.

Moreover, you could opt for a 1:1 CBD:THC strain from the start, so you're still getting the high you’re after, but also backed up by some CBD to keep you grounded. But if you're in the middle of the cannabis shakes, you can also look to use CBD oil, capsules, or gummies for a similar effect. The choice is yours.

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Browse top-quality CBD products (including oils, capsules, topicals, and more) at Zamnesia's CBDshop.

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Say goodbye to the cannabis shakes

As you can tell by now, cannabis shakes are a byproduct of a variety of factors when it comes to smoking, vaping, or consuming cannabis. This phenomenon is also completely harmless, and can be overcome in a short space of time.

By using our handy tips to diminish the effects, you'll be back to your steady self in no time at all. Just be wary of the triggers of cannabis shakes, and act accordingly. If you experience shakes whenever you smoke, especially if they’re accompanied by negative feelings, it may be time to reassess your smoking habit. For the most part, though, they're one of the occasional pitfalls among those who enjoy the herb. So enjoy the ride, and sink into a deep high surrounded by your closest friends in a safe environment.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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