Could it be the Weed? Everything You Wanted to Know About "Weed Hangovers"
By Vincent Mann
As far as psychoactive substances go, cannabis is generally considered safe and mild when used properly. But, like all good things, too much can have negative side effects, and all of us have momentary lapses in self control.
While weed won’t give you a nasty hangover the same way alcohol does, hitting the pen too hard, sparking up one too many joints, or going ham on those tasty grown-up gummies can leave you feeling less than stellar.
The science on “weed hangovers” may be limited, but we’ve still got some tried-and-true tips that should help the wayward stoner get back into proper shape the morning after.
What is a Weed Hangover?
Ever tried a new strain that hit way harder than you bargained for? Or accidentally ate a few more milligrams than you intended?
Most cannabis enthusiasts know the feeling of waking up groggier than usual after getting toasted the night before, or worse, a slight headache throughout the day.
While these symptoms are usually mild, even the most seasoned veteran might find their day a bit disrupted from time to time.
In essence, a weed hangover is describes the adverse effects the day after what happens when the overconsuming cannabis– you consumed slows you down the next day or results in other adverse effects those pesky consequences you can usually skirt withthrough more moderate consumption.
What Causes a Weed Hangover?
There’s much debate as to whether or not weed hangovers are “real”, what they are, and what causes them.
However, one thing is clear: everybody reacts differently to cannabis, and for some, its less desirable side effects are more pronounced than for others.
The primary “hangover”-inducing culprit is the ganja’s main cannabinoid itself, THC. The amount of THC in your cannabis is what determines how “hard” it hits you.
There isn’t any set rule for how much THC is too much, as it comes down to body chemistry and tolerance, whether developed or undeveloped.
So if you’re used to smoking flower with a certain concentration of THC, springing for one with a notably higher concentration may result in feeling less-than-perfect the next day. The dosage makes the poison, as they say.
When it comes to cannabis edibles, the way your body metabolizes it is determined not just by your personal tolerance, but what you’ve eaten—or haven’t eaten—throughout the day.
While paying attention to dosage is the best way to keep things in check, what’s in your stomach when you eat that trusty 10 mg chocolate square might be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a groggy morning.
Since marijuana metabolizes quite slowly through your digestive system, it’s possible that what you’re perceiving as a weed “hangover” could actually be the tail end of the previous night’s edible, much like waking up tipsy after a night of drinking on an empty stomach.
Lastly, another potential cause of a weed “hangover” is withdrawal. Cannabis, like other commonly imbibed substances like coffee or alcohol, can indeed foster dependency, and with it, symptoms of withdrawal.
If your body is accustomed to frequent consumption, you could be experiencing cravings that perhaps feel similar to a hangover. We encourage you to prevent dependence by approaching cannabis consumption thoughtfully and responsibly.
Symptoms of a Weed Hangover (and How to Treat Them)
While every individual responds differently to cannabis, the most commonly reported symptoms of a weed hangover are brain fog and fatigue; headache; red eyes; and nausea. Thankfully, we’ve got an arsenal of defenses to tackle each of these unpleasant symptoms so you can move along your day with ease.
Brain Fog and Fatigue
One of the most talked about symptoms of a weed hangover is that sluggish sensation of waking up in a little bit of a daze (or feeling like you haven’t really woken up at all). Whether this keeps you in bed long past your alarm or inhibits your ability to focus once you do get up, nobody wants to feel like lead all day.
Ultimately, the best way to work through a bout of brain fog is to enrich your daily routine with some invigorating activities.
As they say, Your Mileage May Vary. What works for one person may not work for another, and what helps get you going may be different every time, but here are some healthy habits that have a way of helping–whether or not you got too stoned the night before.
How to Clear the Cobwebs:
Instead of lingering in bed, try some gentle morning yoga and a walk around the block, or a solid run after some stretching if you’re feeling up for it. This will get the blood flowing through your body, oxygen into your brain, and feet back on the ground, proverbially and literally.
2. Water (is life)
The best thing to do for your body any day is to drink a tall glass of water — and maybe seven more of them.
While many of us are no stranger to waking up with lingering munchies, “hungover” or not, make sure you satiate your cravings with nourishing nibbles rather than burdensome bites.
Eat some fruit, nuts, and whole grains to give your brain and body the boost they need to get going. The luscious bacon, egg, and cheese from your corner deli can wait until lunchtime for when your gears have started turning.
4. Caffeine (in moderation!)
Coffee and tea are a staple for many, as the demands of day-to-day life often call for a little boost whether or not there’s weed in the picture. There’s nothing wrong with an extra strong cold brew or over-steeped green tea when you’re particularly worse for wear.
But in line with the general theme here: don’t overdo it. Too much caffeine could give you a headache, mess with your gut, and screw with your body temperature–like having an actual hangover.
Many people report having headaches after smoking or eating too much cannabis, especially the following day once the more desirable effects have worn off.
The best way to deal with a weed headache is to stick to traditional methods of treatment: Try massaging your temples, taking a small amount of over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin or ibuprofen, or using a cold compress.
Again, it never hurts to stay hydrated, though there is no science associating weed-induced headaches with dehydration, despite the misleading nature of cottonmouth, which is actually the result of how marijuana affects your salivary glands.
If harboring a headache, you should be particularly careful with caffeine, as too much coffee or tea could worsen your headache in the end.
Lastly, this would be a good opportunity to reduce screen time, as exposing your eyes to blue light might not be the friendliest option.
Pop culture is rife with references to red eyes after a heavy toke or potent edible.
Cannabis has this effect because THC reduces blood pressure and dilates the ocular capillaries, or the barrier between your blood vessels and the rest of your eyes. This drop in intraocular pressure is also what makes it a treatment for glaucoma.
For most, however, red eyes are not a desired look for the office, and can even register with discomfort. Dilated capillaries subside fairly quickly, but some people can be more sensitive to the symptom, and find the redness persistent.
The best quick fix for red eyes can be found in over-the-counter eye drops—particularly ones made for allergies. Overuse of eye drops can lead to dryness and irritation, so consider supplementing with cold compresses, which can help constrict the blood vessels back to normal.
Nausea is a more severe, but thankfully much less common aftereffect of getting too high. Unfortunately, there isn’t a great targeted cure for weed-induced nausea other than relying on pre-existing home remedies.
Take things easy and stay hydrated. If you’re experiencing unusually intense and frequent symptoms, which can happen in a rare case of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, make sure to consult a physician.
How to Prevent a Weed Hangover
When it comes to preventing a weed hangover, your best friends are discipline and attention to detail.
Try to take note of the THC content of whatever you’re smoking, vaping, or eating, and learn your body’s limits, and try to keep track of your intake during smoke sessions.
Procure your cannabis from transparent, reliable sources that offer detailed information in regards to tested dosage.
If edibles are your preferred method of canna-consumption, pay attention to when you had your last meal, and what you ate.
Edibles hit harder and faster on an empty stomach, but conversely, a high-fat meal can intensify and lengthen the effect, not to mention delay its onset late into the night and morning.
Still-developing research aside, these rituals are all positive contributors to a healthy lifestyle, so don’t hesitate to implement them. Movement, hydration, and a colorful diet will brighten your day regardless of what condition you woke up in.
As the adage goes, prevention is the best medicine. Learn your limits, pay attention to dosage, and indulge in moderation.
Vincent Mann is a writer, artist, and musician based in the Tri-State with a lifelong appreciation for herbs and herb.