What Happens To Your Body The Morning After Smoking Weed
Why you feel blah after eating that brownie.
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. And you might have found yourself in a similar sitch the day after eating both halves of a pot brownie. But are weed hangovers real? Some cannabis consumers swear they’ve endured weed-related hangover symptoms, but the experience is far from universal.
If you’ve experienced weird symptoms after staying away from weed for a while, it’s possible that your body has become used to a certain amount of cannabis regularly, and is having difficulty adjusting. “Marijuana withdrawal would be a more appropriate name for [a weeed hangover]” Dr. Scott Braunstein M.D., medical director of healthcare organization Sollis Health, tells Bustle. But a lot of the research on cannabis hangovers is based on people who use it heavily, seven times or more per month, and there’s not a lot of studies about occasional users and how they feel the morning after a big night.
With all of that in mind, here are four 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.
Dr. Jordan Tishler M.D., an emergency medicine physician and cannabis specialist, tells Bustle that headaches are more likely to happen while you’re still intoxicated. If your head aches the morning after, you might just be dehydrated. A review of cannabis withdrawal symptoms after heavy use published in Current Addiction Reports in 2018 found that headache was a common symptom, along with chills and shakiness. It’s not really clear why this happens, but it’s possible that it’s to do with brain activity.
“Cannabis binds to neuron receptors, and has a complicated effect on neurotransmitters in the brain,” Dr. Braunstein says. “In chronic users, the brain becomes accustomed to a high level of dopamine.” Dopamine is is a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in sensations of pleasure and reward. Without cannabis, dopamine levels can crash possibly leading to migraine, as one 2017 study published in Neurology found. But it’s not clear if all these puzzle pieces fit together for weed smokers.
The next time you spend your Saturday night getting baked with friends, just be sure you’re drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your cannabis adventures.
2. Brain Fog
Of all the reported symptoms of a “weed hangover,” Dr. Tishler says brain fog and fatigue are the ones he anticipates. “The mechanism is unknown, but I suspect largely related [to] over-stimulation of the CB1 receptors.” These are the main receptors in the brain where cannabis ‘docks’, giving you all its positive effects.
If you smoke regularly and then stop, it could mess with your cognitive abilities. “If marijuana use is discontinued, dopamine levels drop and within about one week, the person can feel a state of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and even depression,” Dr. Braunstein says. This is why cannabis is seen as psychologically addictive, he says; it gives you a hard emotional time if you go through withdrawal. An overview of cannabis withdrawal in 2017 in Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation found that irritability, restlessness, disturbed mood, depression, and anger could all appear as symptoms.
Other than coffee, good food, and lots of sleep, one way to deal with brain fog is to get out and exercise. Try going for a long walk or run, then cool down with some yoga, and take a hot (or cold) shower afterwards. It may not make your mental fogginess go away completely, but you’ll definitely feel sharper and more alert.
3. Feeling Dehydrated
While studies show that THC can bind itself to the CB1 receptors on our salivary glands, causing them to dry up вЂ” aka, dry mouth вЂ” Dr. Tishler tells Bustle that dehydration isn’t directly caused by weed. “Dehydration and dry eyes are really not related to cannabis,” he says. If you’re feeling dried out the day after consuming cannabis, it’s probably because you were already dehydrated when you started smoking; or it might be because you didn’t remember to hydrate while you were getting lifted.
Dehydration is pretty easy to avoid. To rehydrate and recover after waking up dehydrated, drink lots of water, and chow down on water-rich fruits and veggies throughout your day.
For the most part, weed can actually help some people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer. But if you smoke weed before bed, it’s possible that your high could be messing with the quality of your sleep, ultimately making you feel fatigued the day after you smoke. A study published in 2017 in Psychopharmacology also found that withdrawal from cannabis meant a rise in poor sleep quality, so if you’re a heavy user going without for a while, you might feel a bit more tired.
Naturally, the best way to remedy this hangover symptom is by getting lots of sleep вЂ” but if that’s not an option for you due to work or social obligations, then all you can really do is try to treat your body well throughout the day. Drink coffee and water, eat healthy meals, go for a long walk, and consider taking the day off from weed.
The Bottom Line
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.
Also worth remembering? Any product that claims to relieve a pot hangover is likely too good to be true. “There are many products claiming to address this problem, or over-intoxication in general, and IвЂ™d advise staying away from them,” Dr. Tishler says. “There is no science yet to suggest that these products are effective, and since they are not regulated at all, thereвЂ™s no reason to expect that they are safe to use.”
Readers should note that laws governing cannabis, hemp and CBD are evolving, as is information about the efficacy and safety of those substances. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as legal or medical advice. Always consult your physician prior to trying any substance or supplement.
Dr. Scott Braunstein M.D.
Dr. Jordan Tishler M.D.
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Bonnet, U., & Preuss, U. W. (2017). The cannabis withdrawal syndrome: current insights. Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 8, 9вЂ“37. https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S109576
DaSilva, A. F., Nascimento, T. D., Jassar, H., Heffernan, J., Toback, R. L., Lucas, S., DosSantos, M. F., Bellile, E. L., Boonstra, P. S., Taylor, J., Casey, K. L., Koeppe, R. A., Smith, Y. R., & Zubieta, J. K. (2017). Dopamine D2/D3 imbalance during migraine attack and allodynia in vivo. Neurology, 88(17), 1634вЂ“1641. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000003861
Jacobus, J., Squeglia, L.M., Escobar, S. et al. Changes in marijuana use symptoms and emotional functioning over 28-days of monitored abstinence in adolescent marijuana users. Psychopharmacology234, 3431вЂ“3442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4725-3
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This article was originally published on Oct. 14, 2015
Cannabis withdrawal can feel like many different things, but people commonly report these four symptoms of a weed hangover.
Can marijuana give you a hangover? Here’s how weed could ruin the morning after.
I was rather surprised, not long ago, when a friend declined to smoke weed with me: It wasn’t because he doesn’t enjoy it, but because of its residual effects. “It’ll throw my whole morning off,” he said, describing the foggy sort of hangovers he’d suffered the last few times he’d indulged in a late-night joint.
This runs counter to a commonplace belief among the marijuana-friendly set вЂ” namely, that a weed high comes without a hangover the next day. The notion seems to follow from the understanding that alcohol is, between the brain damage and potential fatal overdoses, a more harmful intoxicant than cannabis.В
Here, for example, is an amusing Snoop Dogg GIF that purports to show the difference between an alcohol hangover and a weed hangover, at least according to some stoners on Reddit’s r/see forum: В В В
But the truth, as my pal discovered, is a bit more complicated. Yes, the marijuanaВ hangover is real вЂ” and you might have had one or two already.
How could marijuana cause a hangover?
If we define a “hangover” as any lingering influence a drug continues to exert on our body and brain the following morning, then it seems clear that the marijuanaВ hangover вЂ” even if it’s nowhere near as unpleasant as waking up after a night of tequila shots вЂ” is a genuine phenomenon.В
Why? Because THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in weed that gets you high, is a fat-soluble chemical that the body stores for days. Simple exercise can release some of this THC back into the bloodstream long after consumption, and habitual, regular smokers may have a near-constant level of THC in their system. And as long as pot’s active ingredient is present in a user, it stands to reason that this person is partly under the influence. В В В
MarijuanaВ hangover effects
For the hard science here, let’s turn to an early study on the matter, published in the journalВ Drug and Alcohol DependenceВ in 1985. Researchers recruited 13 male marijuanaВ smokers and had them smoke either a placebo joint or the real deal, afterward measuring physiological changes like increased heart rate, noting any reported subjective effects and testing the participants with the behavioral tasks of card sorting, free recall and time production (in which a subject attempts to accurately gauge the passage of seconds or minutes). В В
When these same tests and tasks were repeated the next morning, approximately nine hours after consumption, participants who had smoked marijuanaВ still felt subjective differences that the placebo group had not, and their performance on the time production task was still off.В
“These apparent ‘hangover’ effects were different from the acute effects of marijuana,” the authors wrote. “These apparent findings suggest that marijuana smoking can produce residual (hangover) effects the day after smoking.”
Even more telling: The marijuanaВ used in this study was 2.9% THC, markedly less potent than much of the legal weed sold today, which tends to hover between 10% and 30%. If that little THC can still affect your senses the morning after, then higher concentrations of it will almost definitely have more impact in the same time frame вЂ” there’s just more of it to process and metabolize.В
Still, a similar 1998 study conductedВ with 3.6% THC weed concluded that “the residual effects of smoking a single marijuana cigarette are minimal.” Which just goes to show that whatever a marijuanaВ hangover is, it’s rarely extreme. В В В
But what does a marijuanaВ hangover actually feel like?В
Beyond the establishment of residual “morning after” effects, there’s not much data about the marijuanaВ hangover experience. Instead, we’re stuck with anecdotal evidence, which is almost as varied as initial responses to the drug.В
Some describe it as “a general fog that hangs around the next morning, a sluggishness that sits deep in the bones.” Others report headaches, red eyes and waking in confusion вЂ” symptoms that seem more in line with alcohol hangovers. An Urban Dictionary contributor has given us this broad definition: “When your body experiences the negative side effects of being high without the pleasurable mental symptoms the morning after a smoke.” Oral dryness, or “cotton mouth,” is also associated with heavy marijuanaВ use. Unlike the ethanol in alcohol, however, weed doesn’t actually dehydrate the body (or cause the resulting electrolyte imbalances). Instead, it simply inhibits the secretion of saliva. Even so, the discomfort may be pronounced.
While the causes of alcohol hangovers are plentiful and not all well-understood, we have certain indications that some of its symptoms relate to the inflammation of the immune system. Cannabinoids, it seems, can also modulate or disrupt immune function вЂ” yet contrary to alcohol, which kicks this network into overdrive, marijuanaВ suppresses host resistance to infection. This means that while the drug itself doesn’t necessarily prompt physical aches or pains, it may leave the door open to a cold or flu your body could’ve otherwise fought off, which is arguably worse than your typical post-party nausea.
Among career potheads, though, the concept of the marijuanaВ hangover is perhaps better articulated by the term “stoned-over.” In this account of the morning after, the victim of a marijuanaВ hangover is not so much recovering from negative tail-end effects of the drug as much as they are “still high,” likely due to late-night consumptionВ orВ large doseВ вЂ” or because they have yet to fully metabolize a marijuanaВ edible. Combine that with cannabis’ sometimes unpredictable effects on sleep cycles, and it’s no wonder that people who use marijuanaВ may occasionally wake up lethargic or disoriented. В
How to avoid a marijuanaВ hangover
As with booze, the easiest way to avoid a hangover fromВ marijuanaВ is to abstain completely. Beyond that, weed veterans recommend you limit your intake, stay hydrated, eat healthy and stick to a normal sleep schedule. You know, the sort of things you do to (hopefully) avoid an alcohol hangover.
Worst case scenario, you’ll roll over in the morning with a sticky, sour taste in your mouth, plus a scattered mind and the sense that you’re moving in slow motion. It’s far from the best feeling in the world, but, as opposed to the aftermath of a whiskey bender, you won’t be running for the bathroom. В
I was rather surprised, not long ago, when a friend declined to smoke weed with me: It wasn’t because he doesn’t enjoy it, but because of its residual effects. "It’ll throw my whole morning off," he said, describing the foggy sort of hangovers he’dвЂ¦