Ever woken up the morning after a smoking session only to feel groggy, slow and well, a little hungover? Surprisingly enough this is what we call a weed hangover and is actually more common than you might think.
Despite the use of the word “hangover”, weed hangovers aren’t the same as an alcohol-induced ones. So rather than keep you waiting, let’s discuss what the best way to recover from one.
Why do I feel hungover on weed?
Research has been done on the effects of cannabis but very little is known about why it causes a hangover-like effect the following day.
When consumed THC is absorbed into the bloodstream, this is transported to our brains where it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors throughout our brain and body that regulate and control many of the body’s vital functions such as sleep, memory, emotion, pain, appetite and cognitive abilities. Cannabinoids such as THC interfere with the receptors that make up the ECS by slowing down the processing of signals.
The high from consuming cannabis typically only last 2–4 hours, however after smoking particularly high THC strains the effects can last longer. It is thought that the “weed hangover” you feel is the residual effects of cannabis still in your system. In layman’s terms, this means that although the feeling of being high has worn off, THC can remain in our system for up to three days after use and is detectable for up to 30 days.
What does a weed hangover feel like?
Fortunately, weed hangovers are rarely as bad as a hangover from a heavy night of drinking alcohol. Most of the time you will wake up feeling lazy, hungry and with a foggy-headed feeling, the type that prevents you from thinking clearly or focusing on anything for long periods.
Typical effects felt the following day from smoking too much weed are:
- Brain fogginess
- Trouble thinking or focusing
- Slower reactions
- Feeling lethargic
So how do you get rid of a weed hangover?
There are various ways you can reduce the effects of a weed hangover, however, like with alcohol the best cure is to let the effects wear off over time. Usually, within 4–12 hours the worst of the effects will have subsided.
To speed up your weed hangover recovery you can try one of these methods.
- Eat. THC messes with your appetite and makes you feel hungry, eating a big breakfast and drinking a strong coffee in the morning is the best way to start the day if you are feeling a little groggy from your weed hangover.
- Take a shower. Sometimes all you need is a shower to help clear your mind and make you feel refreshed. If you feel brave enough to have a cold shower, this works wonders for making you feel alert, however, it is a nasty shock to the system first thing in the morning.
- Drink plenty of water. Smoking marijuana before bed causes you to wake up dehydrated, this is often why a weed hangover causes a headache. Drink plenty of water first thing in the morning and the headache will soon disappear.
- Drink caffeine. THC affects cognitive functions and causes us to think and react slower, drinking a strong cup of green tea or coffee first thing in the morning will kick start your day and help you to wake up faster.
- Take paracetamol. If you have a severe headache take a pain reliever such as paracetamol, along with a glass of water will help to reduce any head pain.
- Take a walk outside. Sometimes a brisk walk outside in the fresh air is all that you need to clear your head and get your blood pumping again. According to the NCBI, walking first thing in the morning is a great way to boost your mood and make you feel alert for the rest of the day.
How to prevent a weed hangover
Fortunately, weed hangovers are mostly preventable, we’re not saying you won’t have any grogginess at all but follow these rules and it should help to prevent the majority of the negative effects.
- Avoid smoking right before bed. Smoking weed before bed usually means you are dehydrated during the night which is what causes a headache.
- Smoke lower THC strains. If weed hangovers are a regular occurrence for you, try smoking a milder strain such as Thai Stick. Lower levels of THC in a strain will reduce the potency of the high and any residual effects you feel the following day.
- Keep hydrated while you smoke. Smoking dries out the throat, drink plenty of water while you are smoking to avoid a headache and a sore throat.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while smoking. Drinking alcohol will only intensify the high and the handover. Avoid drinking if you want to avoid a headache the following morning.
- Eat while you smoke. Smoking weed affects our appetite, have some munchies to hand when you next smoke. Similar to alcohol the more you eat the quicker your body will recover from the effects.
We’ve all been there before but following these steps in the future will help you to avoid the dreaded weed hangover. If weed hangovers are a regular occurrence for you, you may be hitting the bong too often so try taking a break from smoking.
Cannabis can be addictive so if you are finding it difficult to curb your use seek medical advice or at the very least try to wean yourself off with the odd weed-free day.
Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.