What Is Vasodilation And Why Does It Happen When You Smoke Weed?

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

The vasodilating effects of cannabis are one of the physiological responses of the body that have been investigated. Here’s why it happens.

At some point, you must have experienced a bloated face,  red and puffy eyes, as well as dehydrated skin after smoking. Have you ever stopped to think and ask yourself why this happens whenever you smoke? Or do you attribute it to the smoke irritation from the cannabis being used?

There’s an actual term for this occurrence. It’s called vasodilation and it has several effects on our bodies. What is Vasodilation? The word “vasodilation” is used to describe the opening up of the body’s blood vessels. It is the opposite of “vasoconstriction” where the blood vessels close up within the body.

Vasodilation is a temporary situation that occurs when cannabis is ingested into the body. Although, it doesn’t necessarily occur only when cannabis is consumed.

Medics define vasodilation as a body’s natural response to an increase in body temperature or reduced oxygen levels.

When cannabis is consumed, blood flow to some parts of the body is restricted or reduced. Oxygen transportation is also slowed down and not quickly delivered to the body organs that need it most.


The easiest way to know this is happening is by the obvious reddening of the eyes, as well as the puffy/bloated face of the user. Unfortunately, many are not aware of this physiological mechanism, so they pin it on smoke irritation.

Some medical practitioners prescribe cannabis-based medications to patients suffering from glaucoma, high blood pressure, etc. This is because of the vasodilating response that would be induced by these drugs to help lower the blood pressure. Vasodilation and Cannabis While researchers have been able to find useful medical applications for cannabis in the human body, they have still not discovered the full extent of the effects of cannabis consumption on other organs in the body. And the risks involved are most times underestimated. The vasodilating effects of cannabis are one of the physiological responses of the body that have been investigated. What Makes Cannabis a Vasodilator? THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive element present in cannabis. It is the agent that causes a noticeable increase in the heart rate, as well as a lowered blood pressure.

Another vasodilating effect is dizziness. This is because THC reacts with cannabinoid receptors present around the body, most especially the eyes to induce these effects.

Although THC is not the only cannabinoid responsible for all these, it is responsible for the bulk of these reactions. The amount of THC present in the cannabis strain ingested determines the extent of vasodilation in the user’s body.


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