For a condition that’s commonly experienced by people across the world, we know remarkably little about what exactly causes a hangover. A group of researchers who’ve dubbed themselves the Alcohol Hangover Research Group are changing all that. Their work indicates that hangovers are an inflammatory response—similar to what happens to our bodies when we get an infection or an illness.
This theory might explain why marijuana, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, is sometimes touted as a hangover cure. While there’s no research on the matter, some evidence suggests cannabis can help us overcome the most debilitating symptoms of a hangover—namely nausea, headaches, stomach issues, fatigue and, of course, irritability.
Sometimes nausea from a hangover is so severe that you can’t keep anything down—not even water. Cannabis, with its well-established anti-emetic properties, can help you overcome that nausea so that you can get food and liquids into your body—a crucial step to feeling better.
Medical marijuana patients undergoing chemotherapy and those with HIV/AIDS often use cannabis to help combat nausea, so there’s a good chance it could also help you the morning after a long, booze-filled night out.
Headaches can be one of the hardest hangover symptoms to cope with. Thankfully, cannabis has a good track record in this department: The plant has been known to treat and prevent migraines for centuries.
In the United States, marijuana was a common headache cure that physicians turned to from 1874 all the way up to 1942. Even today, much anecdotal evidence exists for the use of marijuana in the treatment of headaches—no matter how the headaches originated.
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Rum bum, grog bog, the booze poos—whatever you want to call it, diarrhea the day after a night of drinking is a common occurrence. This nagging gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort can keep you from going about your day.
Lab research has shown that your gut contains a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors: places in the body where cannabis’s active constituents tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) attach to elicit certain effects. This is likely part of the reason why cannabis is known to provide relief in patients with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and other GI issues. Those who use cannabis for these purposes say that it can help with cramping while also modulating diarrhea and constipation.
General sluggishness is a common hangover symptom—luckily, the right kind of cannabis can get you out of bed and working on your to-do list. While this may not be your ultimate goal on hangover day, marijuana can still help you feel less groggy and more focused—some sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome use cannabis for just this purpose. If you have something to do on the day of a hangover, picking up a marijuana strain or product with uplifting sativa effects might be the way to go.
Any of the aforementioned symptoms could make anyone cranky. But in some folks, anxiety and depression are actual hangover symptoms. Luckily cannabis, which can have mood-boosting effects, might be able to help.
It’s still not clear what kind of effects cannabis can have on mood disorders, but those who use it for these types of conditions note that it promotes a general sense of calm and well-being.
And if you’re just generally irritable because well, you feel awful, cannabis can help a lot of hangover symptoms, which in turn just puts you in a better mood. So the next time you’re struggling through a hangover, try a little bit of cannabis. It just might make you feel a little less miserable, and a whole lot better.
Author: Danielle Lim
Photo credit: Matthew Henry