Format, dose and tolerance can impact the effects of cannabis. But THC and cannabinoid receptors also play a role in why some experience tingling or numbness after consuming.
What you’ll find in this article:
- What is cannabis-related numbness?
- Why can cannabis cause numbness?
- What causes that tingling feeling
- Edibles are the most likely format to cause numbness
- Factors that contribute to numbness
- How to manage numbness
Trying new strains, formats and doses is commonplace for most cannabis consumers. Experimenting is a great way to find the right fit for your needs, be it sleep, pain management or relaxation. But have you ever tried something new and felt a bit, well, numb? Known colloquially as “weed tingles,” this sensation is comforting to some and nerve-wracking to others. Everyone is different, and so are our tolerances to cannabis, including the type of cannabinoid (THC or CBD are the most common), the format and, of course, the dosage. Keep reading to learn more about cannabis-related numbness, including how to manage it.
What is cannabis-related numbness?
You know what pins and needles feel like when your leg falls asleep. Well, cannabis-related numbness can often feel like a less-pronounced version of that. It’s essentially the loss of sensation or a tingling feeling in certain parts of the body. It’s not uncommon to experience tingles or numbness in your extremities, mouth (including tongue and lips) or even your genitals. (Yes, numbness from a high can temporarily impact your sexual performance including your ability to get and keep an erection or achieve climax.)
Why can cannabis cause numbness?
Think of your body as a host and cannabinoids as guests. As a psychoactive compound, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, can create a euphoric high when consumed. Scientifically speaking, it binds to your cannabinoid receptors, which impact how your body regulates functions like sleep, appetite, pain and mood. But we like to think of it hitching a ride and creating a variety of effects. These can include feeling relaxed, happy, “trippy” or akin to a “couch-melt.” THC is also adept at helping to alleviate pain. It’s a powerful tool for many, but when consumed in high doses, less desirable side effects like anxiety, paranoia and numbness can occur.
What causes that tingling feeling?
The research isn’t concrete, but people who claim to experience tingles or numbness post-sesh may be experiencing a change in the PH of their blood. Hyperventilating, panicking and increased anxiety can be present for some cannabis users, which is where PH levels can change and create that tingly effect. Though it’s important to note that not everyone who feels tingly or numb is in a state of panic.
Edibles are the most likely format to cause numbness
Consuming edibles is a popular choice for their ease and discretion. For many, it’s a preferred format to vaping or smoking, but often edibles pack a long-lasting and potent punch. The effects are stronger due to how they’re processed. To make edibles, food items like gummies, chocolates and baked goods get infused with a cannabis extract. Dosage and strength will vary depending on what you buy. And when consumed, the THC travels through your digestive system stopping at your liver to be metabolized. Your liver does this cool trick that converts THC to 11-hydroxy-THC. This compound is much stronger than THC and carries a longer effect. 11-hydroxy-THC also binds to your cannabinoid receptors but because of the journey from mouth to digestive tract to liver to receptors, edibles can take longer to kick in and also have longer-lasting effects. This potency in some can also translate to numbness. Which is why it’s always advised to start low and slow.
Factors that can contribute to numbness
Mitigating potential side effects is easier when you understand what contributes to them.
How much you consume can impact possible numbness. You can opt for a high or a low dosage. High dosages should be worked up to as they can contribute to paranoia, anxiety and numbness. Try a 1:1 blend of THC and CBD, or a higher CBD ratio to start.
Edibles are the most likely format to contribute to numbness, as explained above. Edibles that contain caffeine or chocolates and gummies with sugar can also amplify the impact of THC. Be sure to read ingredients and dosage information closely when trying a new edible.
Tolerance varies by your consumption, as do effects. If you’re new to cannabis, especially edibles, your tolerance and the dose you consume can also contribute to numbness. (Looking for guidance? Give us a call.)
How to manage numbness
While uncomfortable, cannabis-caused numbness is usually not harmful. You can alleviate the effects by staying hydrated and relaxed. Remember that anxiety and paranoia are closely linked to numbness, courtesy of your cannabinoid receptors. Take deep breaths or meditate to help your body relax and remember to wait it out. The effects should wear off naturally. If you can, jot down notes so you recall which strain, format or dosage gives you numbness and, perhaps, opt for a more balanced blend of cannabinoids or strictly CBD next time.
If your whole body feels numb or the numbness lasts, we recommend that you speak to a doctor. It is possible that you may be having an allergic reaction. The feeling of numbness can also be attributed to conditions like poor blood circulation.