Thomas Griesbeck / Unsplash

Does Smoking Weed Make You Cold?

Cold after smoking weed? It's a more common phenomenon than you might think.

Ever felt a sudden chill after lighting up, and not the laidback kind?

You’re not the only one.

That cool sensation washing over you minutes after smoking a joint could be THC at work.

Let’s explore how – but first, the basics of your body temperature.

Understanding Body Temperature

Spencer Backman / Unsplash

Think of your body temperature as a finely tuned thermostat, usually hovering around a cozy 98.6°F (37°C). This thermal harmony, or thermoregulation, is orchestrated by the hypothalamus—a tiny but powerful brain region that juggles many tasks, including hormone production and weight regulation.

Equipped with temperature receptors in your skin, brain, and internal organs, your body stays alert to any temperature shifts. If you start feeling chilly, the hypothalamus springs into action. It prompts your body to shiver, dial down blood flow to the skin, and ramp up your metabolic rate to generate warmth.

But, if things get too hot, the hypothalamus cools you down by triggering sweat, boosting blood flow to the skin, and slowing your metabolism for a quicker cool-off.

Cannabis And Body Temperature

Woman with a wicker hat smoking while lying in a hammock.

If you munch an edible, spark up, or enjoy your cannabis in any form, you’re inviting cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates many processes like mood, pain, and sleep.

The ECS includes key receptors called CB1, many of which hang out within that hypothalamus region we spoke about. When THC activates CB1 receptors, it’s understood that the hypothalamus is then signaled to lower body heat. The cooling sensation given by THC is known as ‘THC-induced hypothermia.”

If you’re inhaling hot cannabis smoke, you can expect a temporary increase in your body temperature due to the heat of the smoke. This is quickly followed by a cooling sensation resulting from the THC binding to CB1 receptors and triggering the hypothalamus to reduce body heat by reducing metabolism and dilating your blood vessels.

Why Does THC Make You Feel Cold? THC’s Cooling Effect

Most of what we know about THC’s ability to cool the body comes from animal research. A 2018 study demonstrated that THC, along with synthetic cannabinoids, significantly lowered rats’ body temperatures, inducing hypothermia. This cooling effect intensified with larger doses of human-relevant THC levels.

Interestingly, when the study reduced activity in the ECS’ CB1 receptors, the THC-induced hypothermia didn’t happen. This suggests that these receptors are directly involved in how THC affects body temperature.

While lower doses of THC may initially raise body heat, higher doses tend to have a more pronounced cooling effect.

Of course, individual factors like your metabolism, tolerance, and overall health will influence whether or not you feel cold when high.

So, Does Weed Make You Cold?

Yes, high doses of THC-containing cannabis can make you feel cooler.

Although the research remains limited, it seems that the higher the THC levels and/or dose, the more cool you may feel after consuming.

 

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