Cannabis Science, CBD

Why Do I Twitch When I Smoke Weed?

man smoking

You may notice a couple of things happening when you smoke weed. Besides the euphoria, you may notice red eyes, a cough, couch lock and many other side effects. For the most part, these side effects are usually harmless. However, some stoners find that after they use weed, they twitch. That may be a little scary. If you’re one of those people, you certainly asked yourself, why do I twitch when I smoke weed? If this has never happened to you, you’re probably skeptical about the whole thing. Here’s what we know. 

Photo: Unsplash

Can Weed Make You Twitch?

It certainly can! We already know that weed can cause eye twitching. Scientists believe the eye twitching you experience when you take a hit from your bong may be due to the activation of the TRPA1 receptor. You can thank that receptor for dry eye symptoms. 

Besides your eyes, you may notice twitching elsewhere when you’re high. You’re not alone either.

One Reddit user posted, “Every single time I get high though, I get really twitchy – my legs, arms, and torso just randomly spasm and shiver.”

To which one user responded, “This happens to me all the time and i was starting to get worried myself.”

Other users expressed concern, “Woah I smoked for awhile and stopped because this is pretty much all that happened and so it was no longer enjoyable and made me panic more…”

But why is this happening?

Why Does Weed Make You Twitch?

The good news is, you don’t have to give up your favorite glass bong or blunt if you twitch when high. 

Board certified Pediatrician Dr. David Berger, founder and medical director of Wholistic ReLeaf, a division of Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care, and DrDavidMD, a health education company, let us know exactly why.

There are a number of reasons why weed may make you twitch. The reasons include:

  • Overstimulation
  • Anxiety/ Paranoia 
  • Stimulating terpenes
  • Temperature changes 

Berger told us, “When twitches, shakes, and/or tremors occur from consuming marijuana, it is likely due to nervous system overstimulation. These side effects may result from the anxiety or paranoia some people experience when using medical cannabis, especially at high doses.”

In addition to that, Berger says the terpene profile of the weed you’re consuming could be the reason why you’re twitching. 

Berger told us, “Sometimes stimulating terpenes such as limonene, linalool, and a-pinene can make these types of symptoms worse.”

It’s also possible you’re shaking because of temperature changes associated with using marijuana. 

Several Reddit users report that reaching for a blanket or finding other ways to get warm quashes gets rid of the twitch or shaking. 

One Reddit user mentioned, “I find wearing warm clothes helps.”

While another mentioned, “I do find that sometimes getting a blanket helps, even if im not cold.”

A 1976 study actually made interesting points about this phenomena. The researchers noted, “Smoking marijuana did not greatly modify body heat content, since rectal temperature and most peripheral temperatures were not altered. However, temperatures over voluntary muscles likely to be involved in shivering were elevated. Heat production also greatly increased after marijuana, suggesting that it had stimulated shivering.”

There aren’t tons of modern studies about this however Herb posits that TRPA-1 receptor may have something to do with this. 

How to Stop Twitching When You Use Weed

Even though it seems to be harmless, twitching while smoking weed may be annoying or a little scary for some stoners. 

The good news is there are ways you can reduce the likelihood of twitching or stopping it while it’s happening.  

You can try:

  • Moving around
  • Breathing
  • Avoiding stimulants 
  • Trying different types of weed
  • Using more CBD
  • Reducing your dose 

Moving around

One way you can deal with twitching while high is by moving around or simply going outside, according to Berger. The reasoning behind this probably has to do with the reduction of anxiety and overstimulation.

As a matter of fact, Harvard says, “Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.”

While Ontario Parks mentions the mental health benefits of going outside. They specifically mentioned a reduction in anxiety and stress. 


If you’re twitching, Berger recommends practicing relaxed breathing. 

This can be a great habit to develop since relaxed breathing can not only help calm you down but helps you deal with stress.

In order to practice this type of breathing, Healthy WA recommends, “Take a breath in for 4 seconds (through the nose if possible). Hold your breath for 2 seconds. Release the breath taking 6 seconds (through the nose if possible), then pause slightly before breathing in again.”

Avoiding stimulants 

Avoiding stimulants is a great idea and can reduce your chances of twitching when smoking weed. Berger recommends not using THC with stimulants like caffeine. 

Stimulants like coffee can even cause twitching on their own. Insider says, “Too much caffeine amps up your nervous system, and in turn can lead to muscle twitching, cramps, and spasms.”

As you may already know, weed can act as a stimulant therefore, adding more stimulants can increase the risk of stimulant side effects like twitching. 

Trying different types of weed

As we mentioned, certain stimulating terpenes may increase your risk of twitching when you smoke weed. Therefore, Berger recommends that you “look for strains with a different terpene profile.”

In that case, you may want to experiment with various terpene profiles to see which ones give you the deserved effects. 

Using more CBD

CBD has been said to reduce the effects of THC, therefore adding more CBD to your blunt may be helpful.

Berger told us, “CBD can also play an important role in preventing or counteracting these types of symptoms. When used for this purpose, CBD is most effective and fast-acting when it is vaped. Regularly consuming CBD with THC could prevent these undesirable movements in the first place.”

Reduce your dose

Since we know that high doses of weed can cause anxiety and paranoia which may lead to shaking, reducing your dose may be beneficial.

If you find yourself in the position of needing a high dose to feel desirable effects, it may be time to think about lowering your tolerance to weed with a weed tolerance break. 


If you’re asking yourself, why do I twitch when I smoke weed?, you’re not alone. There are several reasons why you may twitch after hitting your bong.  It may be due to overstimulation.

anxiety/ paranoia, stimulating terpenes and possibly temperature changes. The good news, this side effect seems to be pretty harmless and there are a number of things you can try to reduce your likelihood of twitching.  


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].