There are limited studies about cannabis hangovers.
Cannabis hangovers happen frequently, but they often have the same feeling as an alcohol related hangover. There are limited scientific papers on the subject. However, there are a few facts that provide a partial understanding about what they are and how they happen. Yet, we do know what constitutes a hangover.
Brain fog, headaches, fatigue, nausea, cotton mouth and dry eyes are the most common symptoms of a hangover. While different individuals experience different combinations, the intensity is proportional to consumption. Studies indicate that, like alcohol, consuming a small amount of marijuana has a low likelihood of producing a hangover.
Previous studies are limited and small in scale.
Prohibition is the biggest reason there are limited studies about cannabis hangovers. However, a few research notes exist that help prove weed hangovers are a thing. A study published in 1985 showed that there is such a thing as a weed related hangover but it had some issues.
The study was small with only 13 subjects. Everyone was male, and smoked marijuana that had 2.9% THC. The subjects were asked to perform several behavioral tasks during the day like card sorting and time production before and after smoking. After the subjects had a full night’s sleep, they were tested again.
The results showed that the subjects were experiencing a cannabis hangover, but the extent of their hangover remained inconclusive. There is room for critique because of the small sample size and lack of diversity. A similar study was done in 1998 close to the same demographics.
The 1998 study found that smoking a single joint did not result in a weed hangover. But that study was also critiqued due to the small sample size and lack of diversity. Most accounts from consumers who smoke, or consume, large amounts of potent marijuana claim to experience a hangover. Without evidence to support the effects of a cannabis-induced hangover, more research is needed to help fully understand what heavy users are experiencing.
The average heavy cannabis consumer tends to claim that edibles create the weed related hangover. This is probably due to the slow metabolic rate of the body while asleep. When a person consumes an edible before sleeping, the body slows down the processes that purge THC from the bloodstream. Users then wake up feeling slightly high but that doesn’t mean that they are experiencing a hangover.
Cannabis does not cause dehydration.
Many cannabis consumers falsely believe weed causes dehydration because they experience symptoms of dry mouth. Studies show that THC binds itself to the glands responsible for producing spit (saliva). When THC binds itself to the submandibular glands, it temporarily stops the production of saliva. This leads to the uncomfortable sensation of dry mouth that is generally associated with many types of cannabis strains.
Because cannabis can inhibit saliva production, it is especially important for people to stay hydrated. Saliva provides many functions, including facilitating taste. Spending a lot of money on live resin is a waste if there isn’t enough saliva to taste the difference. Sometimes, cotton mouth is caused by dehydration instead of chemical binding.
In an article from May 2016, a medical cannabis user was experiencing chronic back ache. Medicinal marijuana helped relieved him of his symptoms, but he still experienced back pain from time to time. He soon discovered that the culprit for his random spams was dehydration. After increasing his fluid intake, he stopped experiencing issues.
While there is no evidence to support that cannabis directly causes dehydration, it also doesn’t prevent it. Many symptoms of a cannabis hangover can be improved by consuming water. But that still doesn’t explain what a weed hangover is.
Weed-related hangover symptoms vary.
Reported symptoms of a weed hangover include; brain fog, headaches, fatigue, nausea, cotton mouth and dry eyes. These findings are based on reports from cannabis consumers and not scientific studies. This is because the research previously mentioned did not test for these symptoms, only cognitive impairment.
For those struggling with a cannabis hangover, the best medicine is to get moving. Sitting at a monitor doesn’t stimulate the cardiovascular system. Gentle exercise like a walk or yoga can encourage the body to filter the THC out of the bloodstream.
Additional steps include taking a cold shower to shock the body and clear the mind. Eating healthy food and staying hydrated nourishes the body and decreases hangover symptoms. There is also caffeine to help clear the fog and give the brain a jump start.
These methods may not help completely alleviate these symptoms but they do help a person get through the day comfortably. It is recommended that users pay close attention to their dosage and hydration levels to help reduce the frequency and intensity of cannabis hangovers. Stay healthy, and keep hydrated.