Summer time, and the living is–hot and sweaty. How does cannabis impact how you are feeling in the heat? And what are the best ways to keep, and use cannabis, during the summer months?
It is the role of the endocannabinoid system to keep the body balanced. If you feel hot, your body sends cannabinoids to nerves in the skin, the sweat glands, and the hypothalamus to cool you off. If you are low on endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids can supplement, adding more of a cooling effect. TRPV1 receptors, found primarily in nociceptive neurons of the peripheral nervous system, are activated when harmful heat and pain is detected, and a cooling response is generated. This is a similar response to what happens when we eat spicy foods or drink hot drinks. This is why it is recommended that one drink room temperature water rather than ice water when you are feeling overheated–drinking ice water triggers the same TRPV1 receptors to “restore” balance by heating the body. And remember, even though cannabis can make you feel cooler from the inside out, you can still get heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other life threatening conditions, so wear light clothing, and spend a lot of time in air conditioning when the heat index is very high.
Excessive heat can make people more prone to fainting. High levels of THC consumption also does that, so patients who are prone to fainting should be careful to stay well hydrated, eat good fats (avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, etc.), choose a higher CBD:THC ratio (to avoid THC induced hypothermia–and getting too cold), and avoid medicating outdoors in the elevated heat. When dealing with the dry mouth and the “munchies” related to cannabis use, make sure that you drink a lot of water and exchange your sweet and salty snacks for juicy fruits like grapes, strawberries, watermelon, and cucumbers. Sugary treats like candy increase inflammation, which increases internal heat, and salty snacks make you feel even thirstier.
Storing your cannabis products properly is especially necessary during the super hot summer months. Cannabis flower degrades when exposed to light and oxygen, so it should be stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. As tempting as it might be, don’t stash an extra joint in the glove box of your car–extreme heat can change the THC to CBN, causing sleepiness. It also dries out the terpenes, leading to a decrease in flavor.
It is also necessary to be careful when smoking from a glass device in extreme heat conditions. The glass may quickly overheat, burning you. The heat can also call the glass to shatter, and can then cut your hands. Some vape cartridges may also malfunction in increased temperatures.
Edibles are likely to melt in extreme heat. You need to be careful when trying to use them after that as THC binds to the oils in things like chocolate and can resettle after melting, altering the amounts of it in different parts of the edible. If your edibles do melt, it is recommended that you re-melt them, and then pour the mixture into a flat bottomed container and let it re-harden. The cannabinoids will settle evenly on the bottom and after cooling you can cut the mixture into pieces and better understand the dose.
So, it is great to add cannabis to your summertime fun, but just be sure that you are aware of the impact of the high temperatures and adjust accordingly. Enjoy your summer fun!