If you drink alcohol, you may be familiar with the aftermath of an alcohol hangover – a throbbing headache, increased thirst, and fatigue the very next morning. The word “hangover” is most commonly associated with alcohol, but it seems like a weed hangover is also a thing.
Many marijuana users have reported feeling hungover the next day after smoking weed or consuming edibles. This phenomenon definitely doesn’t happen to all users without exception, but an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence shows that the after-effects of cannabis can indeed make you hungover.
So let’s talk about weed hangovers, what they are and how long they last, as well as how to prevent and relieve them.
What Is a Weed Hangover and How Long Does It Last?
A weed hangover refers to the residual effects of marijuana that are felt the next day after your weed session.
Normally, when you get high, the effects of weed last for about 3 hours if you’re smoking, vaping, or dabbing, or around 5-8 hours if you’re consuming edibles. While the effects of cannabis last, you can feel all kinds of things, depending on the strain, the company you’re with, and your tolerance – from feeling euphoric, blissful, and happy, to being either very mentally alert, with a million thoughts rushing into your head, or too relaxed to get up from the couch.
As the effects start to wear off, you start coming down from the high and slowly return to normal. However, some people don’t, as they continue to experience some lingering effects the next day after the high has worn off.
But worry not, the hangover doesn’t last more than a few hours, depending on how intense the smoke session was (and it’s much less intense than an alcohol hangover). It usually starts gradually subsiding as the day goes on, and by the next day, you shouldn’t feel any residual effects.
There Is Some Research on Cannabis Hangover, but With Mixed Results
There is some research regarding cannabis hangovers, but the studies done differ in their discoveries, mostly because they were done under different conditions.
There are two older studies with conflicting results. The study from 1985 suggests that marijuana hangovers are a real thing as the participants demonstrated a slower reaction time the following morning after smoking weed.
The other study, which was conducted in 1990, found no significant changes in the participants of the study due to marijuana.
More recent studies have examined weed hangovers in the context of medical cannabis. A 2017 study examined the effects of medical cannabis used by people with chronic pain and the results showed that some of them reported feeling foggy and sluggish the next morning.
Similarly, a 2015 review on using medical cannabis advises that patients should be informed of the possible marijuana hangover symptoms when they’re given their prescriptions by their doctors.
Weed Hangover Symptoms
Most users have reported similar symptoms, and if you’ve ever experienced a weed hangover, you’re likely familiar with them. They are:
- Dry mouth or cottonmouth. Not a sign of dehydration, but caused by THC affecting the cannabinoid receptors in the salivary glands and inhibiting the production of saliva;
- Dry eyes. Also caused by THC binding to the receptors of the lacrimal glands aka the tear glands;
- Headache. There is a misconception that weed makes you dehydrated which causes headaches, but in reality, many users just forget to hydrate during their weed sesh, which can contribute to dehydration;
- Fatigue or feeling groggy and lethargic. You might feel like laying down all day or unable to physically function properly and move slowly;
- Brain fog and difficulty focusing. Similarly, you may feel like you can’t think properly or could even have temporary memory problems;
- Mild nausea. Since weed causes the munchies, you may end up eating more junk food than you normally would, or more food in general, resulting in an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach.
Why Do Weed Hangovers Occur?
Since research on weed hangovers is limited for now and the results we do have only give us a glimpse into the matter, looking into the anecdotal evidence may prove to be more fruitful.
Reports from the majority of cannabis users who have experienced hangovers related to weed indicate that it could be overconsumption and the residual effects of THC that lead to being hungover from weed.
As you know, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive cannabinoid that gets you high, and too much THC can overstimulate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain which may or may not also cause side effects.
Each person has their own unique biology, just like each weed strain has its own unique chemical composition. That’s why not everyone will get hungover from weed when they consume an amount of THC higher than their tolerance allows for.
Another factor that also needs to be taken into account is that many weed enthusiasts may also drink alcohol or mix the weed with tobacco, which can contribute to having a marijuana hangover.
The chances of experiencing a marijuana hangover seem to be slightly lower with smoking and vaping dry herbs, since edibles and concentrates are more likely to cause it. Edibles take longer to be processed by the body and concentrates are naturally very high in THC.
That being said, more research is needed regarding its risk factors and causes in order to better understand this phenomenon (and why some people are more prone to getting weed hangovers than others).
How to Relieve a Marijuana Hangover
Dealing with a marijuana hangover can be unpleasant and definitely a hassle, but the symptoms are usually not as severe as an alcohol hangover. You can easily take some steps to relieve the hangover and slowly go on with your day as you normally would.
- First of all, you have to hydrate yourself. It will not only replenish your body, but it’ll refresh you as well. Adding some fresh lemon juice can stimulate your salivary glands so that you can relieve the cottonmouth effects;
- Dry eyes are best relieved by eye drops such as Visine, but there are other similar ones you can also use;
- Take a pain reliever such as ibuprofen or aspirin, as you normally would when you have a headache. To prevent a headache next time, make sure you drink water throughout your weed sesh. Trust us, it’ll make a big difference;
- If you have brain fog and/or fatigue, stay away from your phone, or the computer, or the TV – because these devices will make it worse. It’s best to get fresh air, take a short walk, or do some simple chores around the house. Taking a cold shower will also help to refresh you. If you can’t stand cold water, take a normal shower but at the end turn the water to as cold as you can take. Finally, caffeine can also help to get you moving, but only if you’re already a coffee person and if you keep drinking water;
- Make sure to eat fresh, nutritious foods if you’re experiencing a weed hangover. It’ll replenish your body and help it to recover quickly. But if you’ve overdone it with the munchies the previous day, eat in smaller quantities so as to not overwhelm your gastrointestinal system. Nausea can be relieved with pure CBD oil as CBD (cannabidiol) is known to have calming effects, and it tones down the effects of THC;
- Finally, rest. If you don’t have any immediate obligations, relax and rest until the hangover fades as the hours go by. You’ll probably feel a million times better by bedtime.
How to Prevent the Marijuana Hangover Effects
Marijuana hangovers can be prevented. You should be careful, especially if it’s one of your first times consuming cannabis. With some simple steps, you can avoid ruining the next day after a fulfilling cannabis sesh.
- Avoid taking weed in large doses. Whether you smoke from a joint or bong, or you vape or dab, and especially eat edibles, make sure it’s the lowest dose that gets you comfortably high. Don’t go beyond your limits to avoid experiencing both possible side effects and weed hangover symptoms;
- Avoid high-THC strains. It’s simple, the more THC you consume, the higher the chances for a marijuana hangover. There are many low-THC strains that can give you a delightful high without the hangover;
- Avoid edibles and dabs if they tend to give you a hangover, or at least consume them in very small quantities;
- Use weed alone. The worst idea ever is to mix it with alcohol because alcohol increases the absorption of THC and can give some really unpleasant side effects, weed-alcohol hangover included. So just keep it clean with the dry herbs and enjoy the green.
The Takeaway – Weed Hangover Symptoms Are Not a Myth but Can Be Prevented
If you wondered if weed hangovers were really a thing, we’re here to tell you that they are. And if you’ve ever experienced one, then you already know what we’re talking about. Thankfully, weed hangovers aren’t as unpleasant as alcohol hangovers, though they can ruin your day sometimes. The best way to prevent them is to address your marijuana use – your dose and the type of strain you’re consuming, or your method.