Are Weed Hangovers Real? 4 Signs You've Had One

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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. But are weed hangovers real? Some cannabis consumers swear they've endured weed-related hangover symptoms, but the experience is far from universal.

To be clear: the research on "cannabis hangovers" isn't exactly substantial, and generally speaking, more research needs to be done on the relationship between cannabis and the human body; but according to a 1985 study — which was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and included 13 male, marijuana consumers — some people really do exhibit symptoms of a "weed hangover" the morning following a serious smoking session.

To learn more, Bustle reached out to Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, an expert on holistic care and cannabis therapeutics. This article is packed with cannabis studies throughout as well; but it should be noted that many scientific studies on cannabis are at least a decade old.

With all of that in mind, here are five 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

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Why It Happens: Dr. Tishler tells Bustle that headaches are more likely to happen while you're still intoxicated. However, some studies suggest that cannabis can actually help relieve migraines. Still, if you're not remembering to stay hydrated before, during, and after consuming cannabis, then you could become dehydrated and wake up with a dehydration headache the next day.

What You Can Do: 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 marijuana adventures.

2. Brain Fog

Why It Happens: Of all the reported symptoms of a "weed hangover," Dr. Tishler says brain fog and fatigue are the ones he anticipates. However, he's not sure why this happens, explaining, "The mechanism is unknown, but I suspect largely related [to] over-stimulation of the CB1 receptors."

Studies have also suggested that marijuana can slow down your perception of time — and mess with your cognitive function and your short time memory when used longterm. Additionally, a 2017 study that looked at the effects of medical cannabis on people with chronic pain found that participants self-reported symptoms of brain fog in the morning.

This symptom of a weed hangover is worsened by the fact that, if you stayed up late getting high and having fun, you probably had to sacrifice a few hours of sleep to do so.

What You Can Do About It: Other than coffee, good food, and lots of sleep, one cure for brain fog is to get out and exercise. So the next time you wake up with brain fog, go 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. Dehydration

Why It Happens: While studies show that THC can bind itself to the CB1 receptors on our submandibular glands, (the glands responsible for creating approximately 70% of our saliva) thus causing them to temporarily stop producing saliva, Dr. Tishler tells Bustle that dehydration isn't directly caused by weed. "Dehydration and dry eyes are really not related to cannabis consumption," Dr. Tishler says. So if you're feeling dried out the day after consuming cannabis, it's probably because you were already dehydrated when you started your weed session; or it might be because you didn't remember to hydrate while you were getting lifted.

What You Can Do About It: Most Americans don't drink enough water throughout their day, but dehydration is pretty easy to avoid. To rehydrate and recover after waking up dehydrated, drink lots of water, (I really can't stress this enough) and chow down on water-rich fruits and veggies throughout your day.

4. Fatigue

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Why It Happens: Some studies have suggested that consuming cannabis can negatively affect sleeping patterns. So if you consume cannabis before bed, it's possible that your high could be messing with the quality of your sleep; and ultimately making you feel fatigued the day after you smoke. But it's worth noting that weed may actually help some people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.

What You Can Do About It: 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 — or just consume with caution, and try to refrain from over-indulging too often in the future.

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.

Additionally, if you think you might be suffering from a "weed hangover," Dr. Tishler advises against using any products that are specifically marketed as "weed hangover" cure-alls: "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."

Studies Referenced:

Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018, May 24). 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

Chait, L. D., Fischman, M. W., & Schuster, C. R. (1985, June). 'Hangover' effects the morning after marijuana smoking. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2992898

Mathew, R. J., Wilson, W. H., Turkington, T. G., & Coleman, R. E. (1998, June 29). 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, July). 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, September). Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16946411

Ranganathan, M., & D'Souza, D. C. (2006, November). The acute effects of cannabinoids on memory in humans: a review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17019571

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

Experts:

Jordan Tishler MD; President, CMO inhaleMD; President, Association of Cannabis Specialists; Instructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. https://inhalemd.com/about-us/

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