If you currently use cannabis — and even if you’re a first-timer — you’re likely familiar with some of its most common side effects. For instance, it’s not unusual to experience dry mouth, also known as “cottonmouth,” or to get the munchies. These side effects may be irritating, but they’re harmless and don’t typically cause cannabis users any concern.
But have you ever taken a bit too much cannabis and started shaking uncontrollably? What you’re likely experiencing is known as the weed shakes. There aren’t any formal studies documenting weed shakes, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s relatively common.
Sudden shaking can, understandably, be worrisome. Fortunately, the experience, although alarming, isn’t a dangerous one. And like other side effects of cannabis use, the symptoms do fade.
While weed shakes aren’t anything to worry about, they can be unpleasant. Understanding what causes them, common symptoms, and how to treat or prevent them can help.
What Causes Weed Shakes?
There are several factors that can contribute to experiencing weed shakes. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
You’ve Consumed Too Much
One of the main culprits behind the weed shakes is too much cannabis. An overabundance of THC in your system can overwhelm your nervous system, causing your muscles to spasm and your body to shake.
You’re Experiencing Anxiety or Paranoia
Although cannabis can help you feel calmer and more relaxed, too much THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in your system could overwhelm your amygdala (the area of your brain responsible for controlling emotion), triggering feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Those feelings could lead to shaking or trembling uncontrollably.
Using cannabis can cause THC-induced hypothermia (a lower body temperature). So, even if you’re in a comfortable space and didn’t feel cold before you took your dose, you may become chilly after. And when you’re chilled, your body could start shivering in an attempt to warm up.
You Have Low Blood Sugar
Cannabis may cause a decrease in blood sugar. In fact, studies have found that it may help individuals with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels and improve their insulin resistance. So, if your blood sugar is already a little low — even if you don’t feel it — any further drop could lead to tremors and shaking, common symptoms of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
You’ve Consumed Other Stimulants
Stimulants like coffee, soda, and nicotine rile up the nervous system, boosting the amount of dopamine released into your bloodstream. An overabundance of dopamine in your body could lead to shaking. The combination of stimulants and THC may overwhelm your nervous system, increasing the likelihood of muscle spasms or feeling jittery.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The most common symptom of weed shakes is, you guessed it, involuntary, uncontrollable muscle spasms or tremors. They can range from mild trembling to intense shaking, making it hard to speak, hold objects, and write. If you have too much THC in your system, weed shakes may also come with anxiety, panic, confusion, and rapid heart rate.
How Long Do They Last?
Weed shakes might be unnerving, especially if you’re dealing with other uncomfortable symptoms of consuming too much THC, but the good news is that the effect is only temporary. The exact length of time this effect lasts depends mainly on a couple of factors — how much THC you’ve consumed and your method of consumption.
Typically, weed shakes caused after inhalation last between 20 and 30 minutes. Shaking after consuming edibles tends to last longer, usually around an hour.
Weed Shakes Cure: Remedies and Prevention Measures
Looking to ease your weed shakes faster or avoid them altogether? Here are a few remedies and prevention methods that may help.
Switch Your Focus
If you’ve ingested too much THC and feel overwhelmed by anxiety, paranoia, and weed shakes, distract yourself. Get up and move around. Do something you enjoy, like reading, watching a movie, or playing a video game. You can also try deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. Go to a different room, dim the lights, and turn on your favorite tunes. By switching your attention, especially to something you like, you may be able to calm your nerves and ease your trembling.
Are your weed shakes accompanied by feeling chilled? Thankfully, despite its name, THC-induced hypothermia isn’t dangerous. Grab a blanket and get cozy. As you warm yourself up, your tremors should subside.
Watch Your Stimulant Intake
Avoid consuming stimulants too close to taking your dose of cannabis (or too soon after). Instead, space them out. Likewise, avoid mixing your substances at the same time. That way, you’re less likely to overwhelm your nervous system, reducing the likelihood you’ll experience weed shakes.
When using edibles, have something to eat first. If you have an empty stomach, THC may enter your system faster, causing you to feel its effects more quickly. Those effects may also be stronger. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to eat an entire meal before you take your dose, but you may want to have a little something beforehand.
Add Some CBD
Research has shown that CBD (cannabidiol), the well-known, non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, can dampen some of THC’s effects. If you’ve ingested too much THC, a dose of CBD can help ease you down from being too high, helping you get over the anxiety and shakes faster. Alternatively, it can help you avoid unwanted side effects in the first place.
Try a New Strain
Each strain of cannabis has varying amounts of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes. If the one you’re currently using makes you experience weed shakes (and other unwanted effects), consider trying a different one. For instance, instead of a high-THC strain, consider switching to one that’s more balanced. You may find that a high-CBD variety with little to no THC works better.
Don’t Let Weed Shakes Keep You From Using Cannabis
Weed shakes shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the benefits cannabis provides. Understanding them and arming yourself with a few simple remedies can help you reduce the tremors faster or avoid them altogether.
Note, if you are experiencing more alarming symptoms along with the shakes, your shaking doesn’t stop, or you suspect something more serious, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
If you’re looking for high-quality cannabis products, VidaCann has you covered. With a wide variety of strains and different product types, you’re sure to find just what you need. Visit your nearest Florida VidaCann dispensary today!