BY DEANNA DEBARA
Photo by Ally Sherman on Reshot
The sun is shining. The temperatures are rising (hello weekend heat wave!). And that means just one thing — summer is officially in full swing.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this summer is gearing up to be different from most. Many of us have more free, solo, time to spend this summer. And if you’re a cannabis enthusiast, one of the best ways to pass that time? Consuming it, of course.
But smoking a pre-roll in August is, in many ways, a different game than hitting a pipe around Christmastime or popping an edible in the middle of March—and if you want to make the most out of your cannabis consumption, you need to play by the season’s rules.
So what, exactly, does that mean? Let’s take a look at how to make the most out of your cannabis consumption this summer:
Temperatures rising? Use cannabis to lower your body temperature
Cannabis can do more than get you high; in the summer heat, it actually may be able to help you get cool.
“Cannabis can alter your body temperature as many compounds act as homeostatic agents, helping the body to achieve balance,” says Emma Chasen, cannabis educator and co-founder of cannabis consulting firm Eminent Consulting. “Therefore, if your body temperature is high, cannabis can help to lower it.”
Science points to a few different physiological mechanisms through which cannabis (or, more specifically, cannabinoids) can help lower body temperature and cool you off on a hot summer day.
“Cannabinoids can engage with the endocannabinoid system in the hypothalamus and influence temperature regulation, while also engaging with the vanilloid receptor family (TRPA-1. TRPM8, etc),” says Chasen. “The vanilloid receptors modulate our sensation of heat and pain and therefore, when engaged by cannabinoids may help to numb our sensation of feeling hot.”
Think of it like drinking a hot cup of tea: When you drink a hot beverage, it activates the TRPV1 receptors. TRPV1 is a vanilloid receptor that activates your body’s cooling response and lowers the body temperature. It’s the same thing with cannabis; when you take a hit off a vape pen or pop an edible — the cannabinoids trigger your body’s cooling response, lowering your body temperature and cooling you off.
Just keep in mind that, while cannabis can help lower your body temperature, it shouldn’t be your first or only line of defense if you’re feeling dangerously overheated.
“When using cannabis in the summer, it is still important to recognize that it may not prevent you from overheating,” says Chasen. “You still need to drink plenty of water and take breaks from the hot sun.”
So, the next time the summer temperatures leave you feeling (literally) hot and bothered? Get out of the hot sun, drink some water, and take a few hits; it might be just what you need to cool off and chill out.
Switch up your products for the best experience
When it comes to consuming cannabis in hotter temperatures, not all products are created equal. So, if you want to make the most out of your cannabis consumption this summer, make sure to choose the right products.
“Chocolates and gummies can melt, and some vape cartridges can malfunction when exposed to high temperatures,” says Chasen. “I recommend tinctures and flower as they won't quickly break down in high heat.”
Choosing the right products is important for ensuring an ideal consumption experience, but so is how you store those products. Make sure to keep your cannabis out of the sun and heat!
“Store products in a cool, dark place in an airtight container,” says Chasen. “Cannabis compounds start to degrade when exposed to oxygen and light.”
Consume cannabis safely
You want to have the best experience with cannabis as you can and the most important thing to keep in mind when consuming is safety first.
While you should follow all the general safety rules for cannabis consumption (for example, starting “low and slow” with your dosing or avoiding consumption before driving), there are some summer-specific rules you’ll want to keep in mind.
Excessive heat can make people more prone to fainting and high-THC cannabis can do the same. “While high doses of cannabis can lower body temperature, they also can lower blood pressure making it more likely for someone to pass out,” says Chasen.
If you’re prone to fainting or passing out, “stay hydrated, make sure to eat some good fats, and maybe opt for a higher CBD:THC ratio,” says Chasen. You may also want to skip consuming cannabis outdoors in high heat—and instead, take your smoke session indoors (and into the A/C).
Want to make the most out of your cannabis consumption this summer? Try these products:
At an impressive 29 percent THC, this potent sativa from Claybourne Co. will deliver a euphoric, energized high while cooling you down in the intense summer heat.
If you’re looking for a less intense high, the XJ-13, a sativa-dominant hybrid from THC Design (which crosses the classic Sativa Jack Herer with G13 Haze) balances out its high THC content with just enough CBD to create a focused, energized high that’s perfect to enjoy on those long summer days.
If you’re set on enjoying gummies this summer, these Watermelon Fruit Chews from Smokiez are an excellent choice. With 10mg of THC per serving, these chews deliver a delicious dose of cannabis with every bite—and the watermelon flavor tastes just like summer. (Just make sure to store your gummies in a place where they won’t melt!)
You may not be able to take your summer vacation as planned this year but the Heavy Hitters Maui Wowie cartridge is the next best thing. Take a hit of this citrusy sativa for some beach vibes and a serious high to go with it.