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is weed good for a hangover

How to Conquer a Weed Hangover

Despite some debate over their validity, weed hangovers are likely real. While research on the subject is limited, anecdotal reports suggest that smoking marijuana can trigger next-day symptoms in some people.

Despite the similar names, weed hangovers aren’t quite the same as those brought on by alcohol. And for many, weed hangovers tend to be more tolerable than alcohol-related ones.

Common symptoms of a weed hangover include:

  • fatigue
  • lethargy
  • brain fog
  • dry eyes and mouth
  • headaches
  • mild nausea

Read on for tips on how to deal with these effects and to learn more about the debate within the medical community over whether weed hangovers are indeed a thing.

A weed hangover will typically go away on its own. There isn’t much you can do for an immediate fix, but these tips can offer relief:

  • Stay hydrated. The most important thing you can do before, during, and after weed use is drink enough water. This will help relieve symptoms such as headaches, dry mouth, and dry eyes.
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast. Opt for a healthy, balanced breakfast the morning after weed use. Try a small serving of whole-grain carbohydrates along with a lean source of protein and healthy fat.
  • Take a shower. A shower can help you to feel refreshed and hydrated the morning after smoking weed. The steam from a hot shower can open your airways.
  • Make some ginger tea.Ginger can help with digestive symptoms, such as nausea. Add a bit of grated ginger to hot water with lemon and honey to soothe an upset stomach.
  • Drink caffeine. A cup of coffee or caffeinated tea can help you feel more alert.
  • Try CBD. Some anecdotal reports suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) can counteract some of the symptoms associated with a weed hangover. Just steer clear of any preparations containing THC.
  • Take a pain reliever. For a persistent headache, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If you can, try to take it easy for the rest of the day. With a good night’s rest, you should wake up feeling like yourself again.

If you’re feeling a little off after using weed, it may not necessarily be a hangover that you’re experiencing.

Here’s some other potential culprits:

  • Drinking alcohol or using other drugs while using weed. If you tend to consume other substances while smoking marijuana, they might affect how you feel the next morning.
  • Marijuana withdrawal. If you smoke weed on a regular basis, it’s possible to experience withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t smoking. Symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include changes in mood, insomnia, and difficulty focusing.
  • Lingering effects of weed. How long a weed high lasts depends on factors such as dose, concentration, and delivery method, in addition to your own tolerance and metabolism. Most of the time, a marijuana high lasts between one and four hours.

If at least five hours have passed since you last used weed, and you haven’t had any alcohol or used other substances, you’re likely just experiencing the after effects of weed.

There isn’t much evidence surrounding weed hangovers. Existing studies are often outdated or have major limitations.

Older studies

One well-known study on weed hangovers dates back to 1985. In the study, 13 males participated in a series of sessions that involved smoking either a weed cigarette or a placebo cigarette and then completing a series of tests.

The tests included sorting cards and judging time intervals. When the tests were repeated the following morning, the group that smoked weed cigarettes judged time intervals to be 10 or 30 seconds longer than they actually were.

The authors concluded that, although the day-after effects of smoking weed may be subtle, they probably exist. However, this study’s small sample size and all-male participants are significant limitations.

A 1990 study had similar limitations. It involved 12 male marijuana users who smoked marijuana over one weekend and a placebo over another, then completed a series of subjective and behavioral tests. But these authors concluded that weed didn’t seem to have much of an effect the following morning.

Recent research

More recently, a 2017 study explored perspectives toward medical cannabis among people with chronic pain. One of the self-reported undesirable effects of marijuana was a hangover described as a foggy, non-alert feeling in the morning.

However, the authors of the study did not indicate how many participants reported this effect.

A 2015 review on the use of medical marijuana recommends that healthcare professionals teach patients about the hangover effect. It also recommends describing it as lasting at least one day after the last time marijuana was used.

more research is needed

There are, of course, numerous anecdotal reports of marijuana hangovers, suggesting they are possible. More research needs to be done to understand causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with weed hangovers as well as recommended self-care.

In addition, most of the studies described above focused on the morning-after effects of smoking a small amount of marijuana. Research exploring the effects of overconsumption is also needed.

The only way to guarantee you won’t have a weed hangover is to avoid weed. Still, there are plenty of things you can due to minimize the negative effects of weed.

  • Avoid smoking weed the night before an important activity. If you tend to experience weed hangovers, try to avoid using marijuana the night before something important, such as an exam or stressful day at work.
  • Take days off. If possible, avoid using weed on a daily basis. Continuous weed use can build up your tolerance, which might eventually trigger withdrawal symptoms in the morning.
  • Limit your use. You might be more likely to experience a weed hangover if you overconsume. Decide on an appropriate quantity before you get high, and stick with that.
  • Try low-THC marijuana. THC is the active ingredient in weed. No one’s totally sure how THC affects weed hangover symptoms, but it’s worth trying low-THC strains to see if they help prevent morning-after symptoms.
  • Use caution when trying a new product. You might find you react differently to weed depending on the dose, concentration, and method of delivery. When trying something for the first time, start with a low dose.
  • Don’t mix it with other substances. The morning-after effects of weed might be more intense if you tend to smoke weed while also drinking or using other drugs.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about the effects of weed and medication. Remember that any over-the-counter or prescription medication you take can interact with weed. This could affect how you feel in the morning.

Contrary to popular belief, weed can be addictive. The more often you use it, the more likely you are to become dependent on it.

If you regularly experience weed hangovers, they could be a sign that you’re overdoing it. If you’re having a hard time curbing your use, it may be time to reach out to your doctor for help.

Other potential signs of weed misuse include:

  • using it on a daily or near-daily basis
  • experiencing cravings for it
  • spending a lot of time thinking about it or obtaining it
  • using more over time
  • using more than you intended
  • continuing to use it despite negative consequences
  • keeping a constant supply
  • spending a lot of money on it, even when you can’t afford it
  • avoiding situations or places where you can’t use it
  • driving or operating machinery while high
  • trying and failing to stop using it
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop

"Weed hangover" is a casual term used to refer to the lingering effects of weed. We'll offer some tips for relief, take a look at the research behind this phenomenon, and give you some guidance on how to prevent them in the future.

Can Weed Cure a Hangover?

Jack swears by smoking weed to treat a hangover. The first time he tried it was in college as a freshman. He’d been drunk before, and he’d been high before, but after one especially rough night, his world-wise roommate told him weed could blunt his aching hangover.

They couldn’t smoke in the dorm, so they went to his roommate’s car. “Almost immediately I wasn’t focused on feeling bad, just being high, and it felt like my headache and upset stomach were gone,” he says. It also gave him an appetite while recovering. Even today he turns to the green after a night of over-drinking.

Jack’s roommate wasn’t a medical pioneer. Weed has been prescribed—and debated—as a hangover treatment going back generations. Nowadays, plenty of weed smokers testify it’s helped them recover from a hangover, with multiple threads on Reddit filled with users praising the technique. “They don’t call it THC for nothing,” says one, “because it’s The Hangover Cure.” Others are more skeptical, saying marijuana might just exacerbate a hangover headache, even if it’s worked before, and worrying that it might cause anxiety or paranoia, or lead to vomiting.

What Mixing Weed and Alcohol Does to Your Mind

There’s also a healthy debate over whether it’s better to smoke or take an edible, and theories about the right choice between sativa and indica, depending on your symptoms. Some warned of the dreaded crossfade that happens when you combine weed and alcohol (“If you are still drunk, don’t smoke”), while others wondered why anyone would drink at all when they could be smoking weed instead.

Beyond street-level anecdotes, though, what does scientific research say about smoking dope to treat a hangover? Does it actually work? Is it any better than the myriad other dubious hangover cures out there?

“There’s actually not a lot of study on this,” said Kent Hutchison, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He’s studied substance use and cannabis for years, including work on the National Academy of Sciences committee that produced a comprehensive study on the effects of cannabis.

He also said there hasn’t been much study on hangovers in general, which makes the question doubly tricky to answer. But looking at how alcohol leads to a hangover, he said, can help us theorize how smoking weed might help.

Alcohol makes you urinate, which can lead to dehydration; produces an inflammatory response in your immune system; irritates the stomach lining, often provoking nausea or vomiting; lowers your blood sugar, which can make you feel fatigued or jittery; and expands your blood vessels, which can cause headaches.

Many of these problems can be addressed with drinking water and eating food, even when you feel sick. But Hutchison noted that there are three areas in which weed might be particularly helpful. There’s evidence that smoking cannabis can quell nausea and alleviate anxiety. As many smokers can attest, those effects may help you better cope with the day after a night of hard drinking—-it’s just that research hasn’t yet caught up with the folk remedies. Most of what we know about weed and hangovers comes from anecdotal evidence. “It’s true of so many questions around marijuana,” said Hutchison.

Hutchison pointed to another potentially helpful effect of weed: pain relief. Right now, there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest it can help with headache disorders, as well, but not enough clinical study to prove it, according to a 2017 review article in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Everything You Need to Know About Using Weed for Headaches

There’s some evidence it works best as a headache treatment when you get the combination of THC and CBD, rather than using them separately. Without more study, though, researchers can’t be certain under what circumstances it’s helpful, including for hangovers. “We don’t really know the underlying mechanisms by which marijuana might relieve pain,” Hutchison said. “It’s better to know the real underlying mechanism.”

However cannabis can help with your hangover, it’s important to note that it’s not curing anything so much as letting you live with the consequences of too much drinking while your body recovers. “Marijuana treats the symptoms,” said Elaine M. Burns, naturopathic medical doctor. She’s long advised patients and doctors about using weed therapeutically. The best ways to deal with a hangover, she said, are “A, avoid it begin with, then B, treat the symptoms.”

For A, she offered the usual tips—drink a glass of water between every drink, for example, and don’t overdo it. But let’s say you’ve already botched things and wake up with pounding headache, dry mouth, dizziness, and upset stomach. In that case, Burnes recommended trying some weed alongside more conventional, proven measures. “It’s about rehydrating,” she said, “with water and electrolytes.” Magnesium supplements can be useful, as well as Emergen-C packets, which provide vitamin C and potassium, as an alternative to Gatorade, which contains a lot of sugar. The very best solution to the dehydration problem, she said, is an IV drip and some magnesium.

When it comes time to spark up (or however you get your weed), remember that you’re trying to treat your specific symptoms—choose your strain and method of delivery wisely. Burns noted that THC and CBD both seem to help with pain relief, while CBD helps more with anxiety. Indica strains have more CBD, so take that into account.

About the most we can say with certainty is that you’ll probably feel better while you’re high, recovering from your previous bad decisions, and honestly, it probably won’t hurt. But right now, the science around cannabis is largely unsettled—we’re still in unfamiliar territory, grasping around with anecdotal evidence. If you’re going to use weed to treat a hangover, congratulations, you’re part of the collective experiment.

Cannabis can quell nausea, alleviate anxiety, and dull pain—so we looked at the evidence for it as a hangover cure.