Can Cannabis Lower Your Body Temperature?

May 17, 2023
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Dr. David Pompei, PharmD, MS

Can cannabis lower your body temperature?

Have you ever used cannabis and felt like you got the chills? Well, it turns out cannabis may lower your body temperature. 

Read on to learn more about how cannabis can lower your body temperature.

Does THC make you colder?

Cannabis can have a cooling effect on the body, but is this effect related to THC?

According to research published in September 2008 in the journal Brain Research, THC cools down your body temperature. This effect is dose-dependent, so higher doses of cannabis induce a stronger cooling effect, and is called THC-induced hypothermia.

However, there is no need to worry. This form of hypothermia isn't as dangerous as it sounds - you might just feel a little chilly after a few bowls.

It may seem hard to believe, but cannabis appears to have a similar effect on body temperature as mustard, wasabi, and hot chili peppers. You often feel cooler after eating spicy food, because the spicy food tricks your nervous system into thinking it's overheating.The moment your tongue (or any other part of your body) senses heat, a chain of chemical reactions is triggered that tells your body to cool down.

How does cannabis affect body temperature?

The hypothermic properties of THC were observed by scientists as far back as the 1970s. Rodent studies conducted in the 1980s found a correlation between cannabis and lowered body temperatures.

Cannabis may affect body temperature through various mechanisms. For example, it is thought that this reaction is related to a specific cell receptor called TRPV-1, which is the capsaicin receptor. Capsaicin is the main chemical that produces spiciness in food, such as chili peppers. This receptor is involved in the detection and regulation of body temperature.  

Additionally, the hypothalamus regulates body temperature similar to a thermostat, ensuring homeostasis of body temperature. Cannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout the hypothalamus, and cannabinoids have a strong effect on the hypothalamus' regulatory functions, so it is likely that cannabis affects body temperature through CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus.

Study finds CBD doesn't alter body temperature

CBD, on the other hand, appears not to affect body temperature. According to findings in a 2011 article appearing in Current Drug Safety, CBD has minimal side effects and does not adversely affect blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, nor does it impact the gastrointestinal tract or disrupt psychological functions.

Moreover, a 2017 study found that treatment with CBD for two weeks did not have any impact on body temperature, glucose, heart rate, blood pressure, or other levels.  

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