Most seasoned cannabis consumers can attest to feeling a hangover of some kind after a night of overindulgence. And while there’s minimal scientific evidence to support marijuana hangovers, much anecdotal evidence suggest that this phenomenon exists in some form—even if we don’t completely understand it.
Some commonly reported symptoms of marijuana hangovers include:
The effects of a marijuana hangover can vary based on person and type of cannabis consumed—similar to an alcohol hangover. And much like an alcohol hangover, what you decide to do the night before and morning after can influence how long the marijuana hangover lasts.
The most commonly referenced study on marijuana hangovers is one conducted in 1985 and published in Drug & Alcohol Dependency. The study rightly receives criticism for its small sample size of 13 male participants, and the low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of the cannabis used. Yet in spite of these short fallings, the study still concluded that the participants experienced symptoms akin to a marijuana hangover.
In spite of little science to support marijuana hangovers, much anecdotal evidence suggests that they are a phenomenon that’s commonly experienced. This general pool of consumer knowledge, also suggests that cannabis hangovers can also be affected by the delivery method, as well as the quality of the product.
In general, the more cannabis you consume, the more pronounced your hangover will be. This is why consumers says that edibles, which tend to be stronger and stay in your stomach longer than inhalable versions of cannabis, more commonly lead to marijuana hangovers.
Additionally, consuming sugar with cannabis—whether it be in an edible or on its own after smoking—can cause a more pronounced hangover, much like consuming overly sweet cocktails can worsen your hangover from alcohol.
Other consumers note that pesticide-free, lab-tested cannabis, and products with little-to-no artificial ingredients are less likely to cause a cannabis hangover.
The THC in marijuana can slow down the production of saliva and tears, leading to dry mouth and red eyes. Because of these common side effects, many credit dehydration as the main culprit for the nasty feelings you experience during a cannabis hangover.
Slowing down the production of saliva and tears doesn’t dehydrate the body, but it can make you feel dehydrated. Moreover, your actions while you’re experiencing cannabis’s effects can lead to dehydration: In Maureen Dowd’s now classic recount of consuming too much cannabis, the writer notes that her hallucinatory state kept her confined to her bed and unable to drink water for eight hours. While cannabis itself doesn’t cause dehydration, it can indirectly lead to it.
For this reason, it’s usually a good idea to drink water before and after you consume cannabis. Many of the symptoms of a marijuana hangover can be caused by dehydration. Thus, almost all of the symptoms of marijuana hangovers, from headaches to congested sinuses, can be muted by drinking water. Drinking water also helps the body process things faster, so if you've had a particularly high level of sugar indulgence, drinking plenty of water will help your body flush out what may be compounding your hangover symptoms.
What you do before and after consuming cannabis can help determine the severity of your marijuana hangover. Filling your body with healthy, nutritious food and lots of fruits and vegetables, which also have high water contents, can help your body snap out of its funk.
Exercise will also help get your body back in gear by increasing blood flow and getting your body to sweat out impurities. Exercise can also help decrease brain fog, making you feel more alert and awake.
One of the most crucial aspects to preventing a cannabis hangover is also getting enough sleep. It's important to get plenty of sleep to let your body process the cannabis and get adequate rest. If you're not getting enough sleep, you may be feeling symptoms related to lack of sleep rather than your cannabis use.
Overall, you can prevent or treat the symptoms of a cannabis hangover by: