What Is A Cannabis Hangover?

May 31, 2023
Jointly Better - FacebookJointly Better - TwitterJointly Better - Instagram
Article image

What is a weed hangover?

Unlike alcohol, cannabis doesn’t have a reputation for putting a heavy consumer out of commission the following morning. However, as early as 1985, researchers found evidence suggesting that the effects of cannabis consumption can still have a subtle impact on users the following day.

That early study is particularly important because participants smoked only two “marijuana cigarettes” with a THC content of just 2.9% and still demonstrated “measurable changes in behavior” the following morning.

The study’s authors note that these effects are “different from the acute effects of marijuana,” adding that “the precise nature and extent of these effects, as well as their practical implications, remain to be determined.”

Still, more recent studies have generally veered away from examining cannabis “hangovers” in favor of the various short-term and long-term effects of regular cannabis consumption. In fact, some studies even challenge the idea that a weed “hangover,” if we understand the term to mean something similar to the next-day effects of heavy alcohol consumption, even exists.

Read on to learn more about why weed might make you feel hungover, as well as strategies for treating symptoms and preventing weed hangovers from occurring in the first place. For the purpose of this article, a cannabis “hangover” refers to the lingering effects experienced the day after cannabis use. 'Residual effects' are those continuing for more than a day post-consumption, while “withdrawal symptoms” refer to a set of symptoms that occur when a regular user significantly reduces or quits cannabis use."

Cannabis hangover symptoms 

Marijuana hangover effects can vary from person to person, and there is limited scientific literature specifically examining the symptoms of a cannabis hangover.

With that being said, some common anecdotally reported symptoms include:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling disoriented or foggy

If you’re familiar with the side effects of cannabis, you might notice a pattern here: many symptoms of a cannabis “hangover” are very similar to the lingering side effects of consumption.

Before we move on, it’s worth noting that, unlike alcohol, cannabis doesn’t dehydrate you like alcohol does. Interestingly, you might observe that many symptoms associated with a cannabis "hangover" mirror the lingering side effects observed after its consumption.

What causes a weed hangover? 

If you’re still feeling the effects of last night’s toke when you wake up, there are a few things that might be happening. 

First, you might simply still be stoned — especially if you consumed a high dose of THC in the form of an edible or other slowly-metabolized product like Rick Simpson Oil

“Although it takes longer for the initial psychoactive effect of edibles (30 to 90 minutes) to be felt, the resulting “high” is longer-lasting, with a peak at 2 to 4 hours after ingestion,” one review article states

“Factors such as weight, metabolism, gender, and eating habits also contribute to how soon and for how long someone will feel intoxicated following oral ingestion,” the authors note, adding that “the lack of consistency and the delayed intoxication may cause both new and experienced users of cannabis to consume higher than intended amounts of the drug.”

According to the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction, these factors can align to cause the effects of a cannabis edible to last for up to 12 hours, with residual effects continuing for up to 24 hours.

Alternatively, especially if you’re a regular cannabis consumer, what you’ve interpreted as a “hangover” might more accurately be characterized as withdrawal symptoms. 

While you might not think of cannabis as an addictive substance, it's absolutely possible to develop an addiction to cannabis (though the chances are lower in comparison to classic addictive substances like nicotine and alcohol). Studies have also confirmed that cannabis withdrawal symptoms are very real and can begin as soon as 24 hours after consumption cessation.

Symptoms associated with cannabis withdrawal, such as “anxiety, irritability, anger or aggression, disturbed sleep/dreaming, depressed mood and loss of appetite,” can all be interpreted as something akin to a hangover unless understood as withdrawal symptoms.

Lastly, it’s worth reevaluating the potential source of your hangover symptoms. You know you consumed cannabis last night, but did you consume any other substances? 

Even if you’re a light drinker or tend not to get hangovers from alcohol, one study published in 2022 revealed the possibility that drinking alcohol while using cannabis could cause you to “feel enhanced intoxication effects and absorb more THC when simultaneously using, which have rollover effects onto hangover symptoms.”

“Considering heightened intoxication has been linked with hangover symptoms, it is possible that acute alcohol effects may explain associations between simultaneous use and hangover frequency,” the study’s authors write before calling for additional research to clarify the mechanisms at play.

Cannabis hangover recovery and prevention 

There isn’t enough scientific evidence arguing for one approach to curing a cannabis hangover over another. If you’re looking for a weed hangover cure, one potential approach to treatment is to address your discomfort symptom by symptom.

To tackle fatigue or drowsiness, the best solution is rest. Especially if you took an edible to aid sleep but are still feeling the effects in the morning, you really just need to wait for those effects to pass. 

However, if you don’t have the option to rest due to work or school and so on, a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee can truly work wonders to perk you up.

While the current evidence is inconclusive (in part to our limited understanding of the function for each part of the human sleep cycle), it is clear that consuming cannabis does have some effect on your sleep.

To address dry or red eyes, time will allow your body’s blood pressure to regulate itself. Your eyes will be back to normal in due time. For a faster solution, consider using lubricating eye drops. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends using preservative-free eye drops, especially if you plan to use them frequently.

For dry mouth, commonly called “cotton mouth,” drinking lots of fluids and switching up your consumption method might both help. While cannabis doesn’t dehydrate you, it's possible that you just forgot to hydrate while under the influence and have some catching up to do.

You might also want to consider avoiding the cannabis product that gave you the dry mouth effect in the future or take a lower dose if you stick with the same product.

The solutions for brain fog or disorientation are similar to those that work well for drowsiness. Taking a moment to rest can work wonders, and a bit of caffeine can help get you back on track for the day.

By using this multipronged approach to treatment, you’re putting yourself in a good position for overcoming a weed hangover.

From a prevention perspective, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, and especially when consuming edibles, start with a low dose and never make the mistake of taking a second dose because you think the first one didn’t work. That first dose is likely just taking its time, and consuming two doses without enough time between them can cause their combined effects to hit you like a brick.

In the event you feel you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms rather than more mild hangover effects, it might be time to take a break from cannabis.

A tolerance break can last anywhere between a few days to over a month, and a structured schedule for your break can be helpful for keeping yourself motivated. We recommend the University of Vermont’s t-break guide, which contains advice for a 21-day reset. 

Withdrawal symptoms tend to peak within about 6 days, but can continue for even longer if you’re a long-time, heavy consumer. 

If you’re still experiencing regular withdrawal symptoms after a 21-day break like the one linked above, it might be time for an even longer break or to cut cannabis — or even a specific cannabinoid, like THC, which is generally considered to be the habit-forming compound in cannabis — out of your wellness routine altogether.

Find top-rated products for your goals 

Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.

If you're ready to discover new products and reach your goals, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website.   

Are you curious about Jointly?

Whether you want to improve sleep, relieve daily stress, or just relax and refresh, Jointly can help you reach your goals with cannabis.  

With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.  

The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.  

So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.

Jointly Better - FacebookJointly Better - TwitterJointly Better - Instagram
You might also like