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Learn | 08.19.2022

Does Smoking Cannabis Lower Your Body Temperature?

Do you feel colder after smoking cannabis? You're not alone.

There’s a reason why cuddling up under a warm blanket feels so good after smoking a little weed.

Finding some goosebumps on your arms or feeling a bit chilly after partaking are very common physical side effects of the psychoactive herb.

Others include a dry mouthred eyes, and an increased heart rate. However, is cannabis actively lowering your body temperature, or is something else at play?

Here’s the scoop on why cannabis can make you feel cold.

Does Cannabis Lower Your Body Temperature?

Photo by Cottonbro

The simple answer to this question is yes: cannabis really does lower your body temperature.

This phenomenon is called THC-induced hypothermia. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive in the cannabis plant. But, don’t worry. In humans, this hypothermia is not as frightening as it sounds. It just means smoking a couple bowls might make you chilly.

When it comes to the effect that spicy foods have on our bodies, cannabis cools us down and reacts similarly to:

  • Wasabi
  • Hot mustard
  • Hot Chili Peppers

Yes, that’s right, hot and spicy foods can help cool you down.

As soon as the tongue (or any part of your skin) senses the heat, it ignites a flood of chemical reactions that tell the body that it needs to cool down.

This reaction is thought to be mediated by a particular cell receptor called the TRPA-1 receptor, which is responsible for:

  • Mediating pain
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Regulating body temperature

As the theory goes, when you consume something spicy or hot, this receptor activates and causes a cool-down and pain-fighting reaction.

Does Cannabis Make You Hotter?

Photo by Ron Lach

This answer is a tad complicated. There are a few reasons why the cannabis plant can make you cool.

Not only is the herb most commonly consumed in the form of a hot vapor or smoke, but compounds in the herb trigger the TRPA-1 receptor as well.

Unfortunately, much of the research on the subject has been conducted in rodents, not in humans. However, the hypothermic effects of THC were noted in scientific research back in the 1970s. In the 80s, more rodent studies found a connection between cannabis and a lowered body temperature.

While researchers think that the TRPA-1 receptor is at play, additional research suggests that cannabis may also affect body temperature in a more complicated way.

TRPA-1 is not the only type of cell receptor affected by cannabis. Psychoactive THC and other compounds in the herb work their magic in the human body by connecting with cell sites called cannabinoid receptors.

Research has shown that cannabinoid receptors may have a powerful influence over temperature regulation. Cannabinoid receptors make up a part of a much larger endocannabinoid system (ECS).

One review of the scientific literature suggests that in low doses, the active compounds in cannabis might cause hyperthermia, which is a temporary increase in body temperature.

In high doses, the molecules have the opposite effect. So, on a cold night, consuming low doses of cannabis might help your body warm up.

However, if your external environment is warmer and you’re smoking high doses of weed, you’ll likely feel more chilly than warm. Yet, to take full advantage of the cooling properties of cannabis, bong rips and dabs may be more likely to provide even more relief from the heat.

Here’s a quick visual to better understand what’s going on:

  • Feeling hot + high doses of weed = cooling down
  • Feeling cold + low doses of weed = warming up

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