Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018, May 24). 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
To learn more, Bustle reached out to Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, an expert on holistic care and cannabis therapeutics. This article is packed with cannabis studies throughout as well; but it should be noted that many scientific studies on cannabis are at least a decade old.
To be clear: the research on “cannabis hangovers” isn’t exactly substantial, and generally speaking, more research needs to be done on the relationship between cannabis and the human body; but according to a 1985 study вЂ” which was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and included 13 male, marijuana consumers вЂ” some people really do exhibit symptoms of a “weed hangover” the morning following a serious smoking session.
Why It Happens: Some studies have suggested that consuming cannabis can negatively affect sleeping patterns. So if you consume cannabis before bed, it’s possible that your high could be messing with the quality of your sleep; and ultimately making you feel fatigued the day after you smoke. But it’s worth noting that weed may actually help some people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
Why It Happens: While studies show that THC can bind itself to the CB1 receptors on our submandibular glands, (the glands responsible for creating approximately 70% of our saliva) thus causing them to temporarily stop producing saliva, Dr. Tishler tells Bustle that dehydration isn’t directly caused by weed. “Dehydration and dry eyes are really not related to cannabis consumption,” Dr. Tishler says. So if you’re feeling dried out the day after consuming cannabis, it’s probably because you were already dehydrated when you started your weed session; or it might be because you didn’t remember to hydrate while you were getting lifted.
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. But are weed hangovers real? Some cannabis consumers swear they’ve endured weed-related hangover symptoms, but the experience is far from universal.
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.
With all of that in mind, here are five 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.
Stein, M. D. (n.d.). Marijuana use patterns and sleep among community-based young adults. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10550887.2015.1132986
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. But are weed hangovers real? Some cannabis consumers swear they’ve enduredвЂ¦
In one—very small—study from 1990, for instance, 16 people were recruited to either smoke a joint, or if they were less fortunate, puff on a placebo containing no THC at all. Then they went to bed. (Sounds like our kind of study.) The following morning, the researchers gave the subjects a bunch of tests to see if their mental or physical abilities were in any way dulled.
But if you’re not a daily user, and you’ve smoked an average dose—roughly a one gram joint—the majority of cannabis’s effects should be long gone within eight hours of use, regardless of its potency, says Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany and author of Understanding Marijuana. Earleywine also points out that most anecdotal reports of “weed hangovers” often fail to account for the simultaneous use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and antihistamines, or the fact that a big night often means more running around and less sleep.
Common cannabis withdrawal symptoms share some things in common with what you might experience after a rough night out—anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and sleep deprivation, for starters. The symptoms usually begin the day after someone stops using after a prolonged period of time. The symptoms peak between two and six days, and can persist for up to two weeks, Wilsey says. To prevent withdrawal, slowly tapering off your cannabis use is the way to go. Gabapentin, a prescription medication, can help ease symptoms if tapering isn’t an option.
What those researchers could not have anticipated, however, is the nuclear-grade ganja that your average recreational drug user in 2018 now packs. In the 1990 study, for instance, the strength of the joint participants smoked was around 2.3 percent THC—on par with the average at the time. By 2003, however, that average strength had more than doubled to 6.4 percent. Today, some strains being sold in Colorado are well above 20—and in some cases, even 30—percent THC.
We know what the implications here would be if we were talking about alcohol, rather than weed: A five-percent (ABV) beer won’t give the average person much of a buzz. Drink the entire six-pack at once, however, and that same person will likely wake up with a crushing headache—and possibly a vague memory of singing “Danny Boy” in the back of a Lyft.
There’s no disagreement about what it’s like to wake up after a night that involved tequila shots at last call and maybe a few double dry-hopped IPAs too many. The pounding headache, dry mouth, and cartwheeling stomach are universal signs that you overdid it—and that you’re spending the morning squinting at your phone with one eye open and texting “never drinking again” to your group chat.
Unlike with alcohol, however, increasing the potency of THC doesn’t necessarily appear to hinder your body’s ability to recover from it. “In our medicinal cannabis studies, it has not been a common complaint to experience side effects from the previous day or evening of dosing,” says Barth Wilsey, an associate physician who works with the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis research.
For the most part, the subjects who’d smoked weed the night before seemed to be just fine: “No evidence of residual subjective intoxication was found, and most of the behavioral tasks and mood scales were unaffected the morning after,” the authors concluded, adding that “marijuana smoking was not associated with a ‘hangover’ syndrome similar to those reported after use of alcohol or long-acting sedative-hypnotics.”
But while there’s not much evidence for the existence of a weed hangover, withdrawal symptoms—which are sometimes conflated with hangovers, but aren’t quite the same thing—can still affect longtime users who quit cold turkey. “Over time, they accumulate THC and its metabolites in their body,” Wilsey says. “Stopping the cannabis acutely might lead to symptoms of withdrawal.” Wilsey believes that’s what some people might actually be describing when they complain of a weed “hangover.”
Most of the time, the effects should be long gone after about eight hours.