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Home » Twitching After Smoking Weed? Here’s Why

Twitching After Smoking Weed? Here’s Why

A temporary bout of twitching after smoking weed is nothing to worry about, although many people understandably find these involuntary muscle spasms somewhat alarming. Often referred to as the cannabis shakes, this temporary side effect is pretty common but usually disappears after a few minutes and leaves no lasting damage.

What Are The Cannabis Shakes?

The effects of cannabis on the central nervous system are complex, and no scientific research has been conducted into why tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids cause the shakes. What we do know, however, is that twitching after smoking weed is not dangerous.

The shakes can occur anywhere on the body, causing the muscles in the limbs, torso or even the face to start acting funky. Like some other side effects of marijuana use – including increased heart rate and nausea – twitching can come on quite suddenly but nearly always subsides just as quickly.

Not everyone experiences twitching while smoking weed, and it’s inaccurate to say that cannabis use causes the shakes. On the contrary, a growing body of scientific research suggests that cannabinoids reduce tremors and muscle spasms in medical marijuana patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological illnesses. Nonetheless, taking too much THC on board can sometimes influence the nervous system in unpredictable ways, so it always pays to inform yourself before cracking out that bong.

What Causes Twitching When Smoking Weed?

The shakes can be triggered by several environmental, psychological and pharmacological factors. For example, cannabis causes a slight drop in body temperature – a phenomenon known as THC-induced hypothermia – which means that some users might shiver from the cold when high.

In other cases, uncontrolled muscle movements may arise as a nervous twitch. Weed that is high in THC has the potential to trigger anxiety and paranoia in some users, which can sometimes result in shaky limbs or muscle twitching.

Mixing cannabis with stimulants like tobacco or caffeine can also cause shakes. Nicotine, for instance, causes a rush of dopamine that excites the nervous system and can lead to uncontrolled trembling. In such cases, twitching may be caused less by weed than some of the other substances we like to consume alongside cannabis.

In most cases, however, the shakes occur due to overloading the central nervous system with too much THC. This causes a range of physiological side effects that calm down once the effects of cannabis wear off – which luckily doesn’t take too long.

How To Avoid The Cannabis Shakes

If you find yourself twitching after smoking weed, there are some obvious adjustments that you should think about making. For instance, if your shakes are caused by THC-induced hypothermia, grabbing a blanket or moving to a warmer spot might set you straight.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the effects of cannabis – or any psychoactive substance, for that matter – are highly dependent upon the environment in which it is consumed. Getting high in a setting that doesn’t feel safe or comfortable is a sure-fire way to ramp up your anxiety levels, which can sometimes bring on the twitch.

To avoid this outcome, note your surroundings before sparking up. If you aren’t feeling physically comfortable or socially at ease then, it’s probably a good idea to refrain from getting high until you’re somewhere more cosy and friendly. Staying away from stimulants like tobacco is also a smart idea.

Since the effects of THC are usually the cause of the shakes, the best way to avoid twitching is to choose a weed strain that you can handle. For instance, those of a nervous disposition may want to stay away from Sativa cultivars, as these are generally more likely to trigger anxiety. Indicas, meanwhile, tend to be more relaxing and soothing in their effects, so they are less prone to set off any nervous twitching.

If you’re worried about twitching while smoking weed, go for a reasonably low THC strain, or choose one with a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD). Along with terpenes like beta-caryophyllene, pinene and linalool, CBD has been shown to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC and reduce anxiety.

Cultivars like Purple Kush CBD 1:1 and Peyote Wifi CBD 2:1 are both high in cannabidiol and easy on the THC, so are safe bets for avoiding the shakes. If you still want to get thoroughly stoned but are worried about twitching, you could try Cream & Cheese CBD 1:1, which contains very high concentrations of both cannabinoids.

What To Do If You Start Twitching After Smoking Weed

Let’s say all the advice we’ve covered so far has come too late. You’ve just taken a massive rip of Neville’s Haze from a bong while sitting in your underpants in a field in Chicago on a wet winter’s afternoon. To make matters worse, your ex and their new partner have just turned up along with your boss. The cold and awkwardness, combined with all that THC, would be enough to make even the most experienced stoner come over all trembly.

Fortunately, there are some remedies you can try. The first and most obvious is to simply get out of there and find a warmer, more relaxing place. Taking your mind off your anxiety can also help considerably, so any distracting activities are useful. This can mean watching a movie, listening to music or just talking to a friend.

As anyone who suffers from anxiety knows, taking slow, deep breaths is the best way to bring the nervous system back into balance. As the mind starts to panic, the sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive and causes breathing and heart rate to quicken. Counteracting this by consciously slowing down your breathing is the best way to still the mind, bring your blood pressure back down, and reduce any nervous twitching.

Ingesting CBD is also excellent if you want to stop twitching after smoking weed. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid can be consumed by vaping, in edibles or as CBD oil from a dropper and helps reduce THC’s effects.

If all of the above fails, then your only option is to just wait it out. Luckily, the shakes never last too long and usually subside within 20 to 30 minutes if you’ve smoked or vaped. On the other hand, if edibles have caused your shakes, you might be in for a longer haul, so just sit tight and keep reminding yourself that the twitching will eventually stop, and you’ll be fine.

Disclaimer: Although the shakes are mostly harmless, those with underlying health conditions should always consult a medical professional about the side effects of smoking cannabis.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

Ben Taub