The legalization of weed in multiple states is prompting more and more people to become interested in its after effects, including whether or not it can lead to a “hangover.”
Researchers have studied the health effects of marijuana, but they currently know very little about “weed hangovers.”
In this article, learn more about potential weed hangovers, including some symptoms and possible cures.
Can using marijuana lead to a hangover?
Medical professionals do not yet know if weed causes a hangover, and only a few studies describe weed hangovers. Some suggest that using weed can lead to hangover effects, while others indicate the opposite.
The reported effects of weed use vary widely between studies, and researchers do not know if the participants in these studies used other substances alongside weed. It is also unclear whether or not age or sex can influence the “hangover” effects of using marijuana.
Studies that say it can
In 1985, researchers conducted a studyTrusted Source examining the after effects of smoking marijuana. The study only included 13 males, but it showed that a hangover effect from using weed might exist.
Other research teams continued to study whether or not weed hangovers might exist, as well as what people can expect the morning after using the drug.
One studyTrusted Source showed that smoking weed can lead to daytime fatigue the following day. Another studyTrusted Source suggested that smoking weed can have significant after effects, such as irritability and feeling miserable.
More recent researchTrusted Source analyzed the results of 19 different studies into marijuana use and its negative effects. The researchers found that marijuana had a “medium sized association” with certain negative effects.
Studies that say it cannot
One studyTrusted Source showed that participants who smoked marijuana in a controlled setting experienced effects for a few hours, with levels falling after 3.5 hours. The investigators did not notice any effects of marijuana the day after the person used it.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse explain that the noticeable effects of smoking marijuana last around 1–3 hours. These effects may last longer if the person ingests marijuana in the form of edibles.
It is unclear whether or not frequent users have a different experience than infrequent users.
What could cause a weed hangover?
As studies on this topic suggest, a weed hangover (much like other hangovers) is most commonly linked to overconsumption. However, because cannabis is such a unique plant that can affect each person differently depending on strain, tolerance, THC content, and body chemistry, what’s too much for one person may be just enough for another. Therefore, the mantra “start low and go slow” stays true.
Anecdotally, as stated above, many of those who have experienced hangover symptoms report having used edibles or extracts. According to those consumers, the phenomenon seems to be far less common as a result of more traditional consumption methods such as smoking. With that in mind, some may find weed hangover symptoms are a result of waking up with a lingering high, due to the slow rate at which products such as edibles metabolize in the body.
Whatever your method of consumption, it may simply come down to a reduction in dosage to find a more even high that does not cause unpleasant lingering effects.
Weed hangovers vs. alcohol hangovers
Although some people may experience a hangover from consuming too much cannabis, an alcohol hangover is very different. Alcohol has a lot of different effects on the body and can cause:
- lightheadedness or headaches
- body aches
- memory and concentration problems
Although a weed hangover can have similar symptoms, alcohol and cannabis affect the body very differently. More research needs to be done to determine the exact causes of both types of hangovers.
Does cannabis cause dehydration?
Many sources claim that cannabis causes dehydration and that this dehydration can lead directly to symptoms of a weed hangover. In fact, some even go so far as to make wildly exaggerated claims that cannabis is more dehydrating than alcohol. However, despite this side effect, there is simply no science to back up the claim.
Ultimately, what many people are mistaking for dehydration is actually dry mouth (aka cottonmouth), and the two are unrelated. Dry mouth, while terribly uncomfortable, is not a result of dehydration, but a lack of saliva.
So why does this happen? As studies show, the cannabinoid THC binds itself to glands in the mouth responsible for producing the majority of saliva, known as submandibular glands. This binding temporarily halts the production of saliva, leading to the dry, uncomfortable sensation most of us have known at one time or another.
However, despite the fact that cannabis may not directly lead to dehydration, it’s worth noting the importance of staying hydrated while smoking—as well as in general. Dehydration can lead to a slew of issues, including ones that medical cannabis may not be able to fully treat without the assistance of hydration.
Although there is no evidence to correlate cannabis directly with dehydration, many of the symptoms of a cannabis hangover may be improved by consuming more water, and generally speaking, it is a good practice to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
Cannabis hangover symptoms and how to treat it
Reported symptoms of a weed hangover include brain fog, headache, fatigue, nausea, and dry eyes. Since the aforementioned studies did not research all of these symptoms, much of what we know is based off consumers.
It is possible, therefore, that other factors may come into play, and without proper studies we have no way to validate these claims with certainty. That said, there is enough commonality in anecdotal reports on this topic to warrant an honest conversation on the symptoms people are experiencing.
How to treat weed-induced brain fog and fatigue
If you’ve ever woken up feeling groggy, unfocused, and in a daze, you’re familiar with brain fog. This symptom can make it very difficult to kickstart the day. Brain fog is incredibly unpleasant and may seem hard to snap out of, but here are some things you can do to help re-spark your battery, so to speak.
- Get moving. Staring at a screen all day is not going to help. Try to start your day with a brisk walk.
- Take a cool shower. The refreshing water should wake up your senses.
- Adjust your eating habits. Make sure you eat healthy food and stay hydrated throughout the day to nourish your body.
- Try caffeine. For those who need an extra boost, a stimulant such as caffeine can give a foggy brain the jumpstart it needs.