Ask Mama: WTF Are Weed Shakes

Published on April 27, 2022

Weed Shakes Spins

by Tough Mama

No, we’re not talking about shake weed. And, no, we’re not talking about the kinda shakes Daniel Day-Lewis and Kelis are into — though weed milkshakes are actually a thing but try to stay on topic, OK? Listen to Mama for a change.

Weed causes people to feel a lot of different stuff, and in some rare cases, THC can cause people to shake, shiver, or tremor. We call that the weed shakes. It’s always good to listen to your body, and the same kind of science that evolved Mama from a chimp to a gorilla has a perfectly legit explanation for weed shakes, too. Remember that weed shakes are usually harmless, take a deep breath, and we’ll get through this together.

OK, But What are Weed Shakes?

To be real, we don’t have studies in, like, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research or The Journal of Neuroscience that dive into weed shakes. Honestly, as Herb reminds us, we have a lot more studies touting cannabis’ power to reduce tremors and spasms. 

But what we do have is a heap of anecdotal evidence, where people who have smoked cannabis or taken edibles report involuntary tremors, shivers, and shakes, ranging from unsteady hands to Parkinson-like vibrations. And these stories come from a whole range of sources, from Reddit users to medical pros to cannabis industry CEOs.

Why Shakes Happen

When you smoke weed, shaking is not the ideal result. Munchies, yes, high eyes, sure, but tremors are no bueno. Try not to worry your pretty little human head about it, though, because Mama has a perfectly good explanation. 

THC can actually lower your body temperature as it interacts with nitric oxide in the body, and you know what happens when you’re cold? That’s right, you shiver. But more likely, weed shakes happen when you don’t listen to your mom’s excellent advice about “everything in moderation.” 

Too much THC – whether that’s too many hits or going too hard on a high-concentration strain – can lead not only to psychoactive effects but also to paranoia and even shaking. 

Other reasons people smarter than Mama (THERE AREN’T MANY) suggest for weed shakes include: 

  • Anxiety. 😰 While marijuana is typically a one-way ticket to the Mellow Zone™️, every person’s reaction is different because every person’s body is different. Sometimes, that reaction includes anxious feelings, which can physically manifest with the shakes.
  • Over-Stimulation. 😵‍💫Speaking to Cannigma, Ministry of Hemp CEO Erin Zadoorian says that over-stimulation “usually occurs when you take your weed with other substances, like tobacco or caffeine.” So THC + stimulants = maybe some shakes.
  • Low Blood Sugar. 😪 Because the endocannabinoid system, the built-in bodily network that processes cannabis, helps us maintain a healthy glucose balance, it’s possible that shaking happens as a response to low blood sugar. An American Journal of Medicine piece even found that stoners have a tendency to be more sensitive to the effects of insulin, which adds some weight to this theory.  

Tough Mama’s Cure for Weed Shakes

Usually, Mama’s best health advice is “smoke more weed,” but that’s not the brightest idea here. Try these ancient gorilla healing remedies instead:

  • Cut out the stimulants. If weed shaking is a thing for you, avoid tobacco, Coke, tea, coffee, matcha, fair-trade lattes, Red Bulls, Four Lokos…you get the idea. Cut out any caffeine, nicotine or other sorts of uppers. Mama knows what you did in college.
  • Bundle up. In case those shakes are related to weed’s effect on body temp, get a warm blanket or cozy up by the fire. Doing this will help calm you down, too, which might ease anxiety-induced effects. A little cuddle never hurt anybody, either.
  • Breathe in, breathe out. Mama loves the sound of one hand clapping (silence, for those of you who need a bit of help here), and mindfulness, breathing, and meditation exercises are a great remedy for weed shakes. Get away from hectic environments or chaotic people, focus on your steady inhales and long exhales, and clear your mind in a safe, quiet space.

As Healthline says, you can’t overdose on weed, but you can overdo it. 

Your body reacts to weed differently than anybody else’s body because Mama made you beautiful. So remember to start low and go slow, and keep good, safe company when you’re experimenting with new strains or edibles. Most of the time, you can expect weed shakes to last for no more than 30 minutes, or a few hours with slow-metabolizing edibles. Just rest your head on Mama’s bosom till they pass.


The Cannigma – What Are the ‘Weed Shakes’ and How Can You Prevent Them?

National Library of Medicine – American Journal of Medicine: The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance Among US Adults

Herb – Does Smoking Give You the Shakes?

Healthline – You Might Not Overdose on Cannabis, But You Can Still Overdo It

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