We’ve all been there- too much booze the night before and the next morning your body is raging mad at you. The second your eyes open, the jackhammer in your head turns on, your stomach does a flip and you are trying to remember if you got hit by a freight train and no one told you. Welcome to hangover city! 

While we don’t have a time machine that can go back and make you take fewer shots, we can do the heavy lifting when it comes to the scientific research behind weed and its effect on the symptoms of a long night out. Does cannabis actually help common hangover symptoms or do you just like smoking weed? We know the latter is ‘yes' but we weren’t too sure about the former..

Does Weed Help Hangovers?

Girl with fanny pack dancing at music festival while she is watched by her friend wearing a backpack.

Hangovers – the dreaded aftermath of a night of debauchery or a day spent dancing your ass off at a music festival. The hammer inside your head and a stomach that feels like you drank battery acid and not a bunch of spiked seltzers are just two side effects of a night of too much fun. Plus you have body aches and are just plain grumpy. 

While symptoms of a hangover can be eased with things like yellow sports drinks, a nap nap, and pain relievers are tried and true, a more controversial question arises: can weed help alleviate common hangover symptoms? Does the devil’s lettuce help the effects of the devil’s juice? We’re putting on our Bill Nye costume and are ready to chat about the science behind hangovers, if weed can help and how to incorporate marijuana into your post-night out routine.  

Hangovers 101- The Science Behind the Pain

Before diving into the potential benefits of weed for symptoms of hangovers, let's first understand the science behind these unpleasant post-drinking experiences. Hangovers are truly a thief of joy- even if you had the time of your life the night before at your favorite concert or bar.  Alcohol hangovers are primarily a result of alcohol's dehydrating effects, its impact on ya suga levels, and the production of acetaldehyde (we don’t know how to say this either), a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism.

Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and well, we all know what happens once you break the seal. Dehydration leads to headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Lets not forget that dehydration leads to dry mouth and that may be the worst hangover symptom of them all.

::Paula Deen voice:: Your Sugas: Alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to drop, leading to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. So like hangry but make it booze infused.

Acetaldehyde Production: Acetaldehyde is a hard word to spell so we’ll go with the common abbreviation MeCHO. When the liver does the damn thing and breaks down alcohol, it produces MeCHO, a highly toxic compound. Accumulation of acetaldehyde can result in an upset stomach, vomiting, and general malaise. 

Inflammation: The Devil’s Juice (pairs great with lettuce) triggers an inflammatory response in your flesh prison, contributing to muscle aches and pains.

How Can Weed Help Alleviate Hangover Symptoms?

Two girls sitting on burnt orange couch preparing to smoke.

Marijuana contains numerous compounds, the most well-known being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Studies show that these cannabinoids mingle with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which comes in clutch for regulating various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, and sleep. Here's how weed might ease so of the common hangover symptoms-

Relaxes muscles and calms headaches

THC has analgesic (pain-relieving) effects and can help ease muscle aches and the hammer pounding in your head. In addition to the pain-relieving perks of THC, CBD, known for its anti-inflammatory effects, may reduce the inflammation contributing to your body aching from head to toe.

Reduces Nausea and Vomiting

Cannabis has long been known as an appetite stimulant aka The Munchies. However, weed also has the ability to help your upset stomach in a few ways making it potentially effective in helping you not barf your brains out. THC has antiemetic properties which is a fancy name for anti-nausea. On the CBD front, marijuana can also help regulate nausea as CBD interacts with serotonin receptors.

Helps you Sleep

Certain strains of cannabis, especially those with higher CBD content or Indica strains, may have sedative effects, aiding in falling asleep. THC can also help initiate sleep but should be used cautiously since the psychoactive effects of THC may give your weird dreams and have you tossing and turning. 

Improves Your Mood

THC has mood-altering effects (duh) and can help you chill out and relax. CBD's anti-anxiety properties also help with relaxing, making cannabis an excellent tool to help improve overall mood. Like our mama always said “No one likes a grumpy butt”.

Stimulates Your Appetite

Let’s eat! THC is renowned for its ability to induce appetite, commonly referred to as the "munchies." This appetite-stimulating effect can be beneficial for those experiencing a loss of appetite during a hangover and also why cannabis has been applauded for its appetite stimulating effects in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.  

Using Cannabis to Relieve Your Hangover

Girl opening Dime Bags Goodfella case showing internal organization. Case contains pipes and lighter.

If you are looking to find relief of your hangover maladies in cannabis, there are a few things to understand prior to hitting the bowl.

Choosing the Right Strain

Indica vs. Sativa: Indica strains are often associated with relaxation and sedation hence the catching tagline “indica means in da couch”. Since they are known for their body high effects, Indica strains are great for alleviating muscle aches and promoting sleep. 

Sativa strains, on the other hand, may offer an increase in energy levels and an elevation of mood. Still have to be a responsible adult despite your alcohol hangover? A Sativa strain could be a good option to give you the will to keep pushing on. 

CBD vs. THC Dominant: For a more balanced and functional experience, consider strains with a balanced ratio of THC to CBD, also referred to as a “hybrid”. CBD-dominant strains may be preferable for those seeking anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects without the intoxication associated with high THC strains. A sativa strain may be more suited for someone that is looking for a mood and energy boost. Either way, it could be a good idea to have a little of both in your stash bag.

Toke in Moderation

Start Low, Go Slow: We’ve all been someone or known someone that takes too high a dose of edibles and 45 minutes later they’re begging to go to the hospital. If you're new to using marijuana in general or using it to relieve hangover symptoms, start with a low dose and gradually increase if needed. Don’t be that guy.

Consider Your Consumption Method

Inhalation: Smoking or vaporizing provides rapid relief, making it a suitable option for those seeking immediate effects or looking to keep control of their intake. Be mindful of whether your not your environment is conducive to the smell of weed.

Edibles: Edibles offer a longer-lasting but slower onset of the effects of cannabis. They can be a good choice for sustained relief, especially for symptoms like insomnia. Like we said before though, be mindful of your dosing or a hangover will be the least of your problems. 

Safety First: Tips and Precautions

Use Responsibly

Like all medications, cannabis should be used responsibly when using it as a treatment for hangover symptoms. Knowing how much to consume and what strain to consume are two ways to make sure that you are effectively using cannabis products to ease a hangover.

Stay Hydrated

Want to avoid a hangover? DRINK MORE WATER. Want to make your hangover let up a little quicker? DRINK MORE WATER. Seriously though, one of the best ways to combat a hellacious hangover is to get ahead of it the night before. 8oz of water for every alcoholic drink is a good ratio to keep in mind.

Know Your Local Laws

This may seem like a no brainer but we can promise jail is worse, and way more expensive, than a hangover. If you are not able to legally procure marijuana in your state or your medical marijuana card is not valid where you currently are (looking at you Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Idaho, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia, and Texas) you will want to make sure you are safe and secure in consuming cannabis.

Secure Your Cannabis

This is more general advice than it is hangover specific but keeping your cannabis products secure is just plain ol’ responsible. Having a secure spot for your stash will help keep any legal curveballs from coming your way. 

While anecdotal evidence on the specific benefits of using weed for hangovers is still evolving, studies suggest that cannabis can alleviate or lessen the symptoms resulting from a hangover. Our boi Shakespeare said “To Thine Own Self Be True” and while he may not have been writing about weed in Hamlet, it’s good advice to keep in mind when it comes to weed and hangovers.

Since we are all unique little chemistry experiments, understanding how YOU respond to different strains and doses of cannabis is key when it comes to using marijuana to treat hangover symptoms. For some people, under the right circumstances, weed may help provide a natural option for hangover relief and doesn’t necessarily have an expiration date like other medications.

In the realm of hangover remedies, weed may emerge as a viable and natural option for those seeking an alternative to conventional treatments. As the studies around cannabis continue to evolve, it's essential to approach its use with an informed and mindful perspective, recognizing both its potential benefits and limitations in the context of hangover relief.

December 07, 2023 — Amber Sparks

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.