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smoking weed for a hangover

What Happens To Your Body The Morning After Smoking Weed

Why you feel blah after eating that brownie.

If you’ve ever been hungover from drinking, then you already know how one night of boozy indulgence can really mess with your mood, well-being, and productivity the next day. And you might have found yourself in a similar sitch the day after eating both halves of a pot brownie. But are weed hangovers real? Some cannabis consumers swear they’ve endured weed-related hangover symptoms, but the experience is far from universal.

If you’ve experienced weird symptoms after staying away from weed for a while, it’s possible that your body has become used to a certain amount of cannabis regularly, and is having difficulty adjusting. “Marijuana withdrawal would be a more appropriate name for [a weeed hangover]” Dr. Scott Braunstein M.D., medical director of healthcare organization Sollis Health, tells Bustle. But a lot of the research on cannabis hangovers is based on people who use it heavily, seven times or more per month, and there’s not a lot of studies about occasional users and how they feel the morning after a big night.

With all of that in mind, here are four commonly reported symptoms of a weed hangover, why they happen, and what you can do to make yourself feel better if you ever experience one.

1. Headaches

Dr. Jordan Tishler M.D., an emergency medicine physician and cannabis specialist, tells Bustle that headaches are more likely to happen while you’re still intoxicated. If your head aches the morning after, you might just be dehydrated. A review of cannabis withdrawal symptoms after heavy use published in Current Addiction Reports in 2018 found that headache was a common symptom, along with chills and shakiness. It’s not really clear why this happens, but it’s possible that it’s to do with brain activity.

“Cannabis binds to neuron receptors, and has a complicated effect on neurotransmitters in the brain,” Dr. Braunstein says. “In chronic users, the brain becomes accustomed to a high level of dopamine.” Dopamine is is a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in sensations of pleasure and reward. Without cannabis, dopamine levels can crash possibly leading to migraine, as one 2017 study published in Neurology found. But it’s not clear if all these puzzle pieces fit together for weed smokers.

The next time you spend your Saturday night getting baked with friends, just be sure you’re drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your cannabis adventures.

2. Brain Fog

Of all the reported symptoms of a “weed hangover,” Dr. Tishler says brain fog and fatigue are the ones he anticipates. “The mechanism is unknown, but I suspect largely related [to] over-stimulation of the CB1 receptors.” These are the main receptors in the brain where cannabis ‘docks’, giving you all its positive effects.

If you smoke regularly and then stop, it could mess with your cognitive abilities. “If marijuana use is discontinued, dopamine levels drop and within about one week, the person can feel a state of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and even depression,” Dr. Braunstein says. This is why cannabis is seen as psychologically addictive, he says; it gives you a hard emotional time if you go through withdrawal. An overview of cannabis withdrawal in 2017 in Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation found that irritability, restlessness, disturbed mood, depression, and anger could all appear as symptoms.

Other than coffee, good food, and lots of sleep, one way to deal with brain fog is to get out and exercise. Try going for a long walk or run, then cool down with some yoga, and take a hot (or cold) shower afterwards. It may not make your mental fogginess go away completely, but you’ll definitely feel sharper and more alert.

3. Feeling Dehydrated

While studies show that THC can bind itself to the CB1 receptors on our salivary glands, causing them to dry up — aka, dry mouth — Dr. Tishler tells Bustle that dehydration isn’t directly caused by weed. “Dehydration and dry eyes are really not related to cannabis,” he says. If you’re feeling dried out the day after consuming cannabis, it’s probably because you were already dehydrated when you started smoking; or it might be because you didn’t remember to hydrate while you were getting lifted.

Dehydration is pretty easy to avoid. To rehydrate and recover after waking up dehydrated, drink lots of water, and chow down on water-rich fruits and veggies throughout your day.

4. Fatigue

For the most part, weed can actually help some people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. But if you smoke weed before bed, it’s possible that your high could be messing with the quality of your sleep, ultimately making you feel fatigued the day after you smoke. A study published in 2017 in Psychopharmacology also found that withdrawal from cannabis meant a rise in poor sleep quality, so if you’re a heavy user going without for a while, you might feel a bit more tired.

Naturally, the best way to remedy this hangover symptom is by getting lots of sleep — but if that’s not an option for you due to work or social obligations, then all you can really do is try to treat your body well throughout the day. Drink coffee and water, eat healthy meals, go for a long walk, and consider taking the day off from weed.

The Bottom Line

Dr. Tishler says time is really all any cannabis consumer should need to get back to “normal,” and he advises practicing moderation in all things. “If you’re experiencing weed hangover, likely you’re using too much,” Tishler says.

Also worth remembering? Any product that claims to relieve a pot hangover is likely too good to be true. “There are many products claiming to address this problem, or over-intoxication in general, and I’d advise staying away from them,” Dr. Tishler says. “There is no science yet to suggest that these products are effective, and since they are not regulated at all, there’s no reason to expect that they are safe to use.”

Readers should note that laws governing cannabis, hemp and CBD are evolving, as is information about the efficacy and safety of those substances. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as legal or medical advice. Always consult your physician prior to trying any substance or supplement.

Dr. Scott Braunstein M.D.

Dr. Jordan Tishler M.D.

Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018). Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s10194-018-0862-2

Bonnet, U., & Preuss, U. W. (2017). The cannabis withdrawal syndrome: current insights. Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 8, 9–37. https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S109576

DaSilva, A. F., Nascimento, T. D., Jassar, H., Heffernan, J., Toback, R. L., Lucas, S., DosSantos, M. F., Bellile, E. L., Boonstra, P. S., Taylor, J., Casey, K. L., Koeppe, R. A., Smith, Y. R., & Zubieta, J. K. (2017). Dopamine D2/D3 imbalance during migraine attack and allodynia in vivo. Neurology, 88(17), 1634–1641. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000003861

Jacobus, J., Squeglia, L.M., Escobar, S. et al. Changes in marijuana use symptoms and emotional functioning over 28-days of monitored abstinence in adolescent marijuana users. Psychopharmacology234, 3431–3442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4725-3

Mathew, R. J., Wilson, W. H., Turkington, T. G., & Coleman, R. E. (1998). Cerebellar activity and disturbed time sense after THC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9666122

Piper, B. J., Beals, M. L., Abess, A. T., Nichols, S. D., Martin, M. W., Cobb, C. M., & DeKeuster, R. M. (2017). Chronic pain patients’ perspectives of medical cannabis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5845915/

Prestifilippo, J. P., Fernández-Solari, J., de la Cal, C., Iribarne, M., Suburo, A. M., Rettori, V., … Elverdin, J. C. (2006). Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16946411

Schlienz, N. J., Budney, A. J., Lee, D. C., & Vandrey, R. (2017). Cannabis Withdrawal: A Review of Neurobiological Mechanisms and Sex Differences. Current addiction reports, 4(2), 75–81. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-017-0143-1

Stein, M. D. (n.d.). Marijuana use patterns and sleep among community-based young adults. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10550887.2015.1132986

This article was originally published on Oct. 14, 2015

Cannabis withdrawal can feel like many different things, but people commonly report these four symptoms of a weed hangover.

Cannabis Use and Hangovers: Can It Help?

Ah, the hangover. Just about everyone has felt the unpleasant after effects of drinking too much alcohol, and it’s not something most people want to revisit. Of course, it still happens. But rather than trying (and often failing) with the traditional methods of black coffee and a hearty breakfast, consider using cannabis instead.

Yes, you read that right. While everyone experiences hangovers somewhat differently, marijuana has a variety of effects that can help ease a wide range of symptoms. From nausea to headaches, using marijuana can help you feel better within just minutes.

You’re Treating Hangover Symptoms, Not Using a Miracle Cure

While no studies have shown that cannabis actually CURES a hangover, it’s important to remember that there actually isn’t any “cure” for a hangover except time. So with this in mind, the key to feeling better is to treat the symptoms of a hangover so that they are more manageable. Just as marijuana hasn’t been proven to be a cure for any illness, it has been shown to make an extensive list of conditions less cumbersome.

Here are just some of the common hangover symptoms that cannabis use helps to ease:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Bloating
  • Stress / Anxiety
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty Sleeping

Again, while claims of marijuana actually curing hangovers appear to be anecdotal, most modern medical professionals agree that it can be a helpful treatment. In fact, marijuana use in Arizona is only currently legal for medical purposes, specifically when it comes to treating illnesses with similar symptoms to those listed above.

Does the Kind of Cannabis Matter?

Cannabis is a plant, and like other plants there are different varieties. Those who need to feel more alert while staving off nausea and pain would do well to try a sativa product, while an indica may help others feel more at ease and relaxed enough to sleep off their hangover. Many more will benefit greatly from a hybrid product, experiencing all-around relief and ease while not getting too sleepy. Others may nevertheless want to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC entirely, opting instead for the gentle full-body effect of CBD products.

Likewise, the way you consume marijuana can play a role in how it affects your hangover symptoms. While a rolled joint or bowl may do in a pinch for a lot of people, it might not be the best choice for others. People with nausea, for example, may prefer inhaling marijuana via a vape pen as opposed to edibles.

Others may prefer sipping it in a tea for fast, long-lasting relaxation. Tea is an especially great option for hangovers, as you can combine cannabis flower with just about any regular loose leaf tea that may be beneficial on its own. Those with nausea or an overall feeling of malaise, for example, would do well to try a marijuana-infused peppermint tea.

Using Marijuana Before Drinking Can Help Too

You don’t necessarily need to wait for a hangover to hit to start feeling the positive effects of marijuana. In fact, many people who use marijuana prior to drinking alcohol find that their hangover symptoms are lessened or non-existent. But if cannabis has not actually been proven to cure (or prevent) hangovers, then what gives?

Well, it turns out that there are a variety of factors at play. For example, many people who are already feeling the effects of marijuana are more likely to drink alcohol slower and in lesser quantities. Many people also tend to experience those famous “munchies” and eat more than they would otherwise. Having food in your stomach slows alcohol absorption and can help prevent more severe hangover symptoms.

Of course, you can always skip the risk of having a hangover entirely by not drinking. In fact, many people these days are switching over to marijuana use entirely for whenever they want to get a “buzz” going but don’t want the often-debilitating effects of alcohol. Again, only medical use is currently legal in Arizona. But if you have any questions, the pros at All Greens Dispensary are here to help!

Cannabis Use and Hangovers: Can It Help? Ah, the hangover. Just about everyone has felt the unpleasant after effects of drinking too much alcohol, and it’s not something most people want to