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.
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 вЂ” aka, dry mouth вЂ” 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.
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 вЂ” 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 youвЂ™re experiencing weed hangover, likely youвЂ™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 IвЂ™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, thereвЂ™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, 9вЂ“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), 1634вЂ“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, 3431вЂ“3442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4725-3
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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.
How to recover from a weed hangover
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- What is a weed hangover?
- What causes weed hangovers?
- Research on weed hangovers
- How do I get over a weed hangover?
- Can I prevent a weed hangover?
You may associate a hangover with alcohol, but it is possible for marijuana to have similar effects the next day. The difference between an alcohol hangover and a weed hangover lies in the symptoms. While nausea, dehydration, and insomnia are commonly experienced among those with alcohol hangovers, the hangover effects of too much cannabis may differ.
Here you’ll learn all about the causes and symptoms of weed hangovers, what the experts say on the subject, how to treat weed hangovers , and how to prevent them.
What is a weed hangover?
Weed hangovers occur when you consume more than your personal limit of marijuana. Only you know exactly what that means for your body as tolerance levels vary greatly from one individual to another. Some other factors that influence whether you get a hangover and what the severity will be include the strain you consumed and the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Cannabis with higher levels of THC makes hangovers more likely, especially if you have consumed beyond your tolerance level.
Weed hangovers occur when you consume more than your personal limit of marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Further, you are more likely to experience a hangover if you have consumed edibles as they metabolize slowly in the body and may still be active the next morning. A pot brownie or cannabis cookie, then, may cause more hangover symptoms than a joint. If you are making edibles, be sure to stick to a recipe that won’t push your limits. Marijuana smoking or vaping, overall, is less likely to lead to a hangover, although the possibility does exist.
Common weed hangover symptoms may include:
- Brain fog and inability to focus
- Dull, persistent headache
- Dry, itchy eyes
- Grogginess or fatigue
- Cottonmouth (but not systemic dehydration as occurs after drinking too much alcohol)
- Sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
- Lingering sensation of being high
What causes weed hangovers?
Overconsumption of cannabis, particularly strains high in mood-altering THC, is the main cause of a marijuana hangover. Strains that contain close to 20% or more THC are the most likely culprits. Some of these THC-heavy strains include White Fire OG, Sour Diesel, Chemdog, and, not surprisingly, Amnesia Haze.
Other lifestyle factors may also affect how you feel the day after cannabis use. A poor diet and lack of exercise can make someone more susceptible to feeling ill after a night of indulgence. The healthier your lifestyle, the more likely it is for your body chemistry to be in balance and have the ability to stave off hangovers.
Finally, how often you consume marijuana could influence the likelihood of a hangover. Regular cannabis consumers may want to cut back on their usage and practice moderation. For example, someone who is consuming marijuana daily may want to try using every other day or exclusively on weekends to keep hangovers at bay and potentially eliminate them. Changing the time of day you consume cannabis is another possible experiment. Try consuming early in the evening rather than late at night and see if there is any change.
Research on weed hangovers
A number of older scientific studies offer insight into the residual effects of smoking weed and the associated biological processes. For example a 2006 study published in the journal “Experimental Biology and Medicine” showed that marijuana use decreases saliva secretion , which can explain dry mouth. A lack of saliva in the mouth does not, however, lead to or signify full body dehydration, a departure from the aftermath of over consuming alcohol.
Other studies have fueled debate as to whether a weed hangover is a real phenomenon or a figment of the imagination. A 1998 study published in the journal “Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior” found the effects of smoking marijuana to be minimal with an increase in heart rate as the most significant acute result . However, minimal effects were present the following day. The authors concluded that smoking a marijuana cigarette did not have a significant impact on the body or brain in subsequent days. Notably, this study had a small sample size of just 10 individuals, all of whom were men, so these findings may not prove accurate across a wider and more diverse population.
An even earlier study published in 1985 in the journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” found similar acute signs, such as increased heart rate, along with altered performance in behavioral tasks . These tasks included sorting cards and free recall. Researchers noted that there were some possible hangover indications, but, “the precise nature and extent of these effects, as well as their practical implications, remain to be determined.” The subjects, all male as in the 1998 study, received either placebo joints or marijuana cigarettes containing a low level of THC (2.9%). The results could have been quite different if the THC content had been higher or, again, if a wider and more heterogeneous sample population had been tested.
Very little additional research exists on this topic. Clearly,fresh studies and perspectives are needed.
Research aside, you know your body and you know if you are experiencing a hangover. So, if a marijuana hangover hits, what can you do to recover from it?
How do I get over a weed hangover?
Though you might be tempted to stay in bed all day, the most effective way to shake off the unwanted after effects of excess cannabis consumption is to move your body. Another key component of the recovery process is healthy food, along with hydration, relaxation, and if you are so inclined, meditation.
Key components of the recovery process are exercise, healthy food, along with hydration, relaxation, and if you are so inclined, meditation. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Here are five healthy home remedies to help you conquer a weed hangover and feel better in the process.
- Get out in the fresh air and take a brisk walk. Breathe deeply as you walk, flooding the brain and lungs with a new supply of oxygen, and clearing away any mental fogginess. Walk for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour to maximize the positive effects.
- Roll out a yoga mat and do a few gentle stretches while focusing on cleansing, deep breaths. Back bends that open the chest and allow the body to take in more oxygen are especially beneficial. A brief five-minute period of meditation and visualization can round out your yoga practice and leave you feeling invigorated.
- Eat a power breakfast, whether that means a homemade turkey omelet or a vegan bowl of steel-cut oatmeal and fresh berries. Whatever you choose, keep it natural and nourish your body with nutrient-rich food.
- A tall glass of water is a basic way to combat any hangover, but you might want to elevate it to the next level with a caffeine infusion. Coffee or tea can help stimulate the mind and give your body a much needed energy boost. If a headache persists, lemon water with two Tylenol or another pain reliever could offer quick relief.
- If you can’t bring yourself to eat or exercise, simply step into a cool shower and refresh your senses with soothing water. The pressure from the water can have therapeutic effects, massaging and easing tight muscles.
Keep eliminating the hangover throughout the day by practicing healthy habits including balanced eating and moderate exercise. When the sun goes down, consider going to bed a bit earlier than usual, and abstain from consuming or smoking marijuana until you’re feeling in peak condition. While you’re on the mend consider applying CBD oil to affected areas such as the temples or neck if you feel any lingering discomfort. Topical CBD preparations can relieve pain in some individuals.
Can I prevent a weed hangover?
The best way to prevent a marijuana hangover is to know your personal limits and adhere to them. Smoking rather than consuming edibles is another strategy that may work. In addition, seek out strains that are lower in THC, such as Euphoria, an indica-dominant variety which caps out at a manageable 9% THC. Easy Bud, clocking in at around 12% THC content, is another good choice. There are many strains geared towards beginners and others who may be more sensitive to the effects of THC. The higher the ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) to THC, the less likely you are to feel hungover.
If you are using marijuana alongside alcohol and tobacco, try curbing the use of the latter two products and see if that makes a difference. If you continue to feel unwell after using marijuana, consult with your healthcare provider to see if there could be an underlying medical issue.
In the end, knowing and honoring your body’s boundaries is the best way to prevent marijuana hangovers while enjoying the many potential benefits of the plant.
How to recover from a weed hangover Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is a weed hangover? What causes weed hangovers? Research on