Skip to content

Weed Muscle Spasms: What Are They and How to Get Relief?

19 March 2024

A woman experiencing intense spasms while clutching her abdomen.

Experiencing involuntary muscle contractions after consuming cannabis-rich products can be both surprising and unsettling. Known as “weed muscle spasms”, these tremors are a phenomenon that has puzzled and concerned users across the globe. 

In this blog, we delve into what exactly causes these spasms and offer guidance on how to manage them effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or new to use, understanding these reactions is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Medical Marijuana Versus Illegal Cannabis: Why It Matters

Navigating the landscape of cannabis products involves more than just choosing strains; it’s crucial to consider the origin and quality of these substances. Hence, the distinction between regulated products and those obtained from unauthorised sources can impact both the experience and health outcomes of users, especially when it comes to involuntary muscle contractions.

Feature Medical-Grade Black Market
Quality Control High Low to None
Potency Consistency Yes No
Risk of Spasms Reduced Increased
Regulation Strict None
Contaminants Rare/Internal Standards Common/Unknown
Legal Consequences None Potential Legal Issues

Risks of Black Market Marijuana Products

A key concern is the higher probability of encountering undesirable side effects, such as involuntary muscle tremors, when using substances of dubious origin.

Moreover, marijuana products from the black market may pose the following risks:

  • Contamination: Unregulated growth can lead to products laced with pesticides or harmful additives, posing health risks.
  • Inconsistent Potency: Variability in potency can make dosing unpredictable and risky, especially for those inexperienced with its effects.

Advantages of Regulated Medical Cannabis

Legally sourced cannabis provides a safeguard against the unpredictability of muscle spasms and other side effects. More specifically, controlled production means each batch has a consistent level of active compounds, reducing the chances of experiencing tremors. Sanctioned growers adhere to proper cultivation practices, which play a pivotal role in the purity and safety of the final product. Additionally, knowledge of the plant’s genetic profile assists in understanding its effects on the human body.

So, if you are wondering ‘Where to Get Medical Cannabis Prescription in the UK?’, check out our guide for detailed insights.  

Discover the Lyphe Difference: Your Premier Choice for Medical Cannabis

The logo of Lyphe Clinic.

At Lyphe, we bring extensive knowledge and the convenience of 100% online services right to your doorstep. Our experienced doctors offer unmatched expertise in prescribing medical cannabis, while our dedicated patient support ensures a seamless treatment journey for you.

So, embrace a healthier tomorrow by scheduling your online consultation with us today.

What Are Weed Shakes?

Water splashes from a glass in the hand of a man with tremors.

Marijuana muscle tremors (also known as “weed shakes”) are involuntary muscle contractions that can occur after the consumption of THC, the psychoactive component found in certain plants. 

These reactions are characterised by their sudden onset and can vary in intensity and duration, often causing discomfort but typically not indicating a severe health issue. More often than not, they are accompanied by chills, heightened anxiety, or nervousness.

Comparing Muscle Contractions: Cannabis-Induced vs Other Forms

To clarify the unique aspects of weed tremors, a comparison with other muscular contractions is presented below. Understanding these differences is essential for individuals experiencing weed muscle tremors, as it guides the approach to managing the discomfort and distinguishing when medical advice is necessary.

Feature Weed Muscle Tremors Other Muscle Contractions
Cause Primarily induced by the consumption of THC. Can be caused by several factors, including too much physical exertion, dehydration, medical conditions, and more.
Onset Often sudden, occurring shortly after THC consumption. May gradually develop or appear suddenly, depending on the underlying cause.
Duration Typically short-lived, subsiding as the effects of THC wear off. Duration can vary widely, potentially lasting much longer without appropriate intervention.
Symptoms Usually limited to shaking or trembling of the muscles. Can include cramping, pain, and persistent muscle contraction.
Treatment Generally managed by waiting for the effects of THC to diminish; hydration and relaxation may help. Treatment varies significantly, often requiring medical intervention to address the underlying cause.

 

Different Causes of Cannabis Tremors

Muscle spasms when high can be unsettling for those who experience them. This section explores the various factors that contribute to this phenomenon, shedding light on how certain conditions and substances can exacerbate or trigger these tremors.

1. Overconsumption of THC

When it comes to consuming psychoactive herbs, moderation is key. Excessive intake of THC, the primary intoxicating compound, can lead not only to muscle shakes but also to a phenomenon colloquially known as “greening out.” 

This is characterised by the following symptoms:

  • Disorientation or paranoia
  • Nausea and potential vomiting
  • Palpitations, or the sensation of a racing or pounding heart
  • Sweating and possibly chills
  • A sense of intense unease or fear (similar to a panic attack)

This condition is usually temporary and subsides as the body gradually metabolises the substance.

Importantly, overconsumption often occurs due to the delayed onset of psychoactive effects, particularly with edibles or oils. This leads to users ingesting an excessive amount before they begin to feel the effects of initial consumption.

2. The Role of Anxiety

An individual’s psychological state can significantly influence their physical well-being and response to any stimulant. In the context of cannabis consumption, anxiety plays a significant role and is strongly linked to twitching when high.

Here’s how medical cannabis for anxiety ties into these physical responses:

  • Clinical anxiety association: Individuals with pre-existing anxiety disorders often report an increased likelihood of experiencing tremors following excessive weed use. [1]
  • Anxiety as a trigger: The onset of anxiety or panic can itself be a direct trigger for these physical reactions, even for those without a clinical condition.
  • Adrenaline release: Anxiety also invokes the body’s fight or flight response, leading to a surge in adrenaline, which may contribute to shaking.

3. Cold Environments

Experiencing a drop in temperature can naturally cause your body to shiver as it attempts to maintain a stable internal temperature. However, the consumption of THC-rich products can amplify this response due to the compound’s effects on the body’s thermoregulatory processes. 

In other words, THC can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, making users more susceptible to the ambient temperature. Higher doses of THC can lead to further decreased body temperature. [2] In effect, the body’s efforts to warm up can also be energised by the substance, potentially leading to more intense shakes in cold settings.

4. Overstimulation

The interplay of psychoactive substances with other stimulants can, at times, lead to physical responses beyond what is typically experienced with standalone consumption. For instance, twitching can be exacerbated by the presence of specific chemical stimulants.

Let’s examine how this overstimulation occurs:

  • Co-consumption of stimulants: A 2014 study from the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that small doses of caffeine (a stimulant) can amplify a cannabis high. Interestingly, the research also highlighted that higher doses of caffeine can dampen the psychoactive effect. Hence, this might encourage users to dose even more, leading to overconsumption. [3]
  • Unregulated products: As also discussed earlier, illicit substances may contain additives or adulterants of unknown origin, increasing the possibility of overstimulation and resultant tremors.

Managing and Relieving Marijuana Muscle Spasms

Woman sitting on a sofa doing calming breathing exercises.

Early identification and effective management greatly influence the occurrence and potency of twitching experienced after use. Although the following strategies are not guaranteed to stop tremors, they can significantly reduce discomfort.

1. Hydration

Water facilitates the proper function of every system in the body, including the muscles and nerves. Dehydration can exacerbate muscle contractions. Hence, it is recommended to increase water intake before, during, and after THC consumption to help prevent or reduce the severity of spasms.

2. Relaxation Techniques

As highlighted above, stress and anxiety can trigger or worsen muscle twitching when high. Employing the following relaxation techniques can be beneficial:

  • Deep breathing: Helps lower stress levels and relax muscle tension.
  • Meditation: Can reduce anxiety and focus the mind away from the sensation of spasms.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Involves tensing, followed by slowly relaxing each muscle group, promoting overall relaxation.

3. Take CBD

CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, may counteract some of THC’s effects. This cannabinoid has been shown to have muscle relaxant properties and can reduce anxiety, which may indirectly help manage twitching.

In fact, one 2021 study published in Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry suggests that CBD can prevent the panic-like behaviour caused by THC intake. To this end, for those experiencing tremors, consuming a cannabidiol product could be a reliable remedy. [4]

4. Mild Physical Activity

Engaging in light physical activity can help free tension and alleviate weed muscle spasms. Activities like walking and stretching can gently stimulate blood flow to the muscles. However, do avoid strenuous exercise, which might exacerbate the condition.

5. When to Seek Help

While most weed-induced shaking is temporary and benign, certain situations warrant medical attention, such as:

  • Persistent symptoms: If spasms persist for an extended period or recur frequently, it may indicate an underlying issue that requires professional evaluation.
  • Severe discomfort: Seek medical advice if twitching is accompanied by severe pain or significantly impacts your quality of life.
  • Underlying conditions: Individuals with pre-existing neurological or muscular conditions should consult a healthcare provider for personalised advice.

How to Prevent Weed Shakes?

Preventing involuntary muscle contractions associated with THC consumption involves understanding your body’s response to various strains and consumption methods. Given below are some strategies to minimise the likelihood of experiencing these uncomfortable spasms.

1. Adjust Consumption Habits

Modifying how you consume THC can significantly impact your experience.

  • Start low and go slow: For those new to THC or returning after a break, begin with low doses and increase gradually as needed.
  • Method of consumption: Inhalation (smoking or vaping) effects appear faster but may also lead to a quicker onset of shakes. Edibles take longer to kick in but might result in a more prolonged experience. 

2. Explore Different Strains

Not all THC strains affect the body in the same way.

  • THC vs CBD ratios: Strains with higher CBD to THC ratios may offer a more balanced experience, potentially reducing the risk of spasms.
  • Indica vs sativa: Indica strains are often associated with relaxation and might be less likely to induce tremors compared to the more stimulating sativa strains.

3. Choose Medical-Grade Cannabis

Opting for products from a reputable source can ensure quality and consistency. Look for products that have been lab-tested for potency and contaminants. This can help you make informed decisions about dosage and avoid adulterants that might contribute to spasms.

4. Set the Mood

Your environment can influence your experience. Ensure you’re in a safe, comfortable place where you feel relaxed. Adjust lighting, temperature, and noise to create a calming atmosphere if needed.

5. Avoid Stimulants

As also discussed above, combining THC with stimulants like caffeine or nicotine can trigger or exacerbate weed shakes. Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake on days you plan to consume THC. Similarly, try to avoid nicotine, as it can increase heart rate and anxiety, contributing to spasms.

6. Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re using cannabinoids for medical reasons, consulting with a healthcare provider can provide personalised advice, as a professional can offer guidance on dosage, strains, and consumption methods suited to your health needs. Also, regular check-ins with a trusted healthcare provider can help adjust your approach as needed to prevent spasms.

Final Takeaway

Understanding the nature and ways to manage weed muscle spasms can empower individuals to approach their health with greater confidence. To this end, we encourage you to take the next step in your health journey by choosing Lyphe. Allow our team to help you navigate this experience, ensuring your optimum well-being. No need to fight this battle alone – get in touch with us today by booking your appointment!

FAQs

What are weed shakes?

In the context of cannabis consumption, “weed shakes” can refer to involuntary muscle tremors or spasms experienced by some users.

How long does greening out usually last?

Greening out, which is feeling sick after consuming too much THC, typically lasts for a few hours until the effects wear off. Rest and hydration can help alleviate symptoms more quickly.

Is it good to sleep when greening out?

Yes, sleeping can be beneficial when greening out as it allows your body to recover while you rest. Ensure you’re in a safe, comfortable position to avoid any potential hazards.

Why do I green out every time I smoke?

Greening out every time you smoke might indicate your body’s low tolerance to psychoactive substances or consuming more than your body can handle. It’s important to adjust the amount you consume while understanding when not to smoke weed altogether.

What is the weed poisoning syndrome?

Weed poisoning syndrome, often referred to as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), causes chronic marijuana users to experience severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. It’s thought to be a reaction to long-term, heavy cannabis use.

References

  1. Liu, J., & Burnham, M. (2019). The effects of CBD and THC in animal models of depression and anxiety. Clinical Neurophysiology, 130(8), e118-e119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2019.03.023
  2. Smirnov, M. S., & Kiyatkin, E. A. (2008). Behavioral and temperature effects of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol in human-relevant doses in rats. Brain Research, 1228, 145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2008.06.069
  3. Justinová, Z., Redhi, G. H., Goldberg, S. R., & Ferré, S. (2014). Differential effects of presynaptic versus postsynaptic adenosine A2A receptor blockade on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) self-administration in Squirrel Monkeys. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(19), 6480–6484. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.5073-13.2014
  4.  Szkudlarek, H. J., Rodríguez-Ruiz, M., Hudson, R., De Felice, M., Jung, T., Rushlow, W. J., & Laviolette, S. R. (2021). THC and CBD produce divergent effects on perception and panic behaviours via distinct cortical molecular pathways. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 104, 110029. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110029

 

Author: Bojan
Author page

Bojan Ambrus, Head of Marketing & Digital Product at Lyphe Group, is a data-driven growth marketing professional with over 15 years of rich experience. His background includes roles such as Head of Marketing at Vaping.com and growth marketing roles in various enterprises, startups, and scale-ups. His expertise in building and positioning businesses is particularly valuable in the cannabis sector, where he navigates its complexities and regulatory challenges. His strategic marketing insights make Bojan a key player in shaping Lyphe Group's marketing and digital product strategies.

Latest posts

Become a patient today

Ready to start your journey?

Check if you are eligible
Start your journey in getting treated with medical cannabis
Get Started
Speak to an advisor
Free appointment with our expert Patient Advisor
Speak to an advisor