How the Las Vegas Sun Affects Your High

The effects of smoking or consuming cannabis products vary depending on a plethora of factors. Many cannabis brands claim their specific strains make consumers feel happy, energized, relaxed, creative, sleepy, euphoric, calm, and so many other moods. While the “characteristics” of your high will depend on which strain is consumed, there is still a lot to consider when trying to control your experience. 

So, for the time being, forget indica, sativa, and hybrid, and start to focus on your set and setting.

Set & Setting

Set and setting is a concept in the cannabis community that refers to a person’s mindset (the “set”) and environment (the “setting”) during consumption. Your setting or environment consists of your location and the characteristics of that location. For example – Las Vegas’ dry and hot climate.

Let’s take a look at how consuming cannabis in the setting of Las Vegas can affect your high. 

Consuming Cannabis in Vegas Heat

Las Vegas’ climate is dry and arid, meaning we receive little to no precipitation. Because of the lack of rainfall, Vegas’ sizzling summer days regularly hit temperatures over 100 F (37 C). The city gets about 3,800 hours of sunshine per year. Needless to say, it’s sunny and hot in Vegas, but how will smoking in this weather affect your high?

There are three factors at play here: endorphins, melatonin, and your brain’s information processing systems. 


Have you ever stepped outside on a warm summer day and automatically felt rejuvenated, uplifted, and motivated? There’s actually some science behind that! Researchers found significant elevations in endorphin levels, ranging from 30% to 50%, after exposure to UV rays (sunshine). 

Endorphins are hormones that block pain and activate the brain’s reward system, making you feel energized and happy. Sound familiar? Cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, such as CBD and THC, are known to have the same effects on our bodies when consumed.

This is not to say that smoking in the sun will increase your high. However, there is something to be said about the enlightening effects of endorphins in conjunction with cannabinoids. The giddy feeling you get due to endorphins from the sun may level out an indica’s effects, or increase your creative efforts after smoking a sativa. 


Sunlight exposure impacts how much melatonin your brain produces. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. When it gets dark, your body starts producing melatonin in order to induce sleep. Conversely, in a bright setting, you are likely to feel more awake because your body is not producing melatonin.

With that being said, if you plan on taking a nap after you toke, smoking in the sun may not be the most beneficial setting. The euphoric and sedative effects of smoking an indica, coupled with a dark environment, will promote sleep more efficiently than smoking it in the sun or in a bright room. 

Information Processing

Research indicates that when cannabis is consumed, one displays significantly slower information-processing speeds. Basically, smoking makes your brain move slower. So how does that relate to your setting and its effects on your high? 

When you are outside versus inside, all five of your senses have much more to take in. In turn, being outside gives your brain more information to process. The smells, noises, tastes, sights, and physical feelings of being outside are much more intense than being inside. For this reason, you may actually feel more psychoactive effects when you smoke outside. 

Think about it this way, your brain is already functioning a bit slower, and then you compound it with an overload of sensory information to process. This backup causes your brain to feel seriously stimulated, which might heighten the effect of your cannabis consumption. 

While the sun can have many positive and strengthening effects on your high, do not discount its negative effects on your skin and health if you are exposed for extended periods of time. 

Protecting Yourself from the Las Vegas Sun

If you plan on hanging outside on a hot sunny day in Vegas, you’re in for a treat! But keep in mind the following risk factors to avoid ruining the rest of your day or stay in Sin City.


Sunburns are widely recognized as one of the most common negative effects of too much sun exposure. 

General symptoms of sunburn include:

  • Redness
  • Pain/tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, fever, chills or headache

Heat Exhaustion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat exhaustion is the body’s response to excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. People playing and working in a hot environment are at risk of heat exhaustion.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Heavy sweating
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Decreased urine output

Heat Stroke

If heat exhaustion is left untreated, it can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness and can be life-threatening. According to the CDC, heatstroke causes the body’s temperature to rise quickly and can reach up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 to 15 minutes. 

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness (coma)
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Seizures

Las Vegas Weather Fun Facts

  • The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m each day.
  • The average temperature in Las Vegas in July is 106 Fahrenheit.
  • The average temperature in Las Vegas in December is 58 Fahrenheit.
  • The average precipitation in Las Vegas is less than an inch each year.
  • The month with the longest days is June with an average of 14.6 hours of sunlight each day.
  • The month with the shortest days is December with an average of 9.7 hours of sunlight each day.
  • Due to the scorching summer heat, the lowest Las Vegas hotel prices can be found in the summer.
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