Weed Hangover: Causes, Symptoms, Solutions

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Weed hangover
October 27, 2021
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A weed hangover catches you by surprise. One of the main selling points of cannabis over alcohol is that it leaves much fewer residual chemicals in your system, letting you have fun and feel fresh and fly the next day. How can you not get annoyed when you instead wake up to a headache, dizziness, and brain fog?

Experienced stoners will tell you that these effects are more common than the misconceptions would have you believe. Cannabis is majestic, but its aftereffects can get nasty. 

Worry not. Help is on the way. Today, we’re exploring the science and common symptoms of the next-day effects of weed. We’ll discuss what to expect, why to expect it, and how to get rid of a weed hangover. 

What is a weed hangover?

In some respects, a weed hangover is no different from the aftereffects you might feel after indulging in other fun substances. In simple terms, it’s the negative influence residual cannabinoids have on your system after consumption. 

Most often, side effects follow overconsumption

Of course, overindulgence isn’t identical for any two people. Everything from the potency of the strain you’re smoking to your body composition and food in your belly determines your tolerance at any given moment.

The only way to make sure you’re staying within comfortable limits is through trial and error. Start low and go slow until you’ve found your ideal amount.

A THC hangover is similar to the aftereffects of alcohol in terms of symptoms. It can cause:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration issues and brain fog
  • Insomnia or sleepiness

We’ll discuss the research behind these symptoms in a second, but remember that what we know so far is limited. Alcohol affects the system differently than cannabis, which prevents the community from drawing parallels between the two. 

Most information on the residual effects of marijuana comes from individual consumers, not broad-scope studies. That’s especially the case with one strange phenomenon—an extended high.

Why do I still feel high the day after smoking?

Okay, you say. I know that I might feel bad the morning after, but why do I still feel high the day after smoking?

Weed hangover symptoms are many, and it’s not easy to explain all of them. Current evidence suggests headaches, dizziness, and the like, but some people end up with an extra layer. They still feel the effects of their high even after a full night of sleep.

This strange phenomenon occurs mostly with first-time users, and even then in only a small fraction.

Normally, a high subsides in four hours after ingestion. It’s unclear what causes subjective feelings of a high days after consumption, but it’s most likely internal processes to blame.

Some people’s livers break down THC much slower than normal. As a result, it circulates the bloodstream for longer, reaching the brain and causing psychoactive effects.

The ingestion method could also play a role. When you eat cannabis, it has to go through your digestive tract before entering the bloodstream. There’s a delayed occurrence of effects.

To avoid these effects, start with a moderate dose of low-THC cannabis. It reduces the risk of a marijuana hangover and makes it much less likely to experience prolonged positive and negative effects of your intoxication journey. 

Can you get a hangover from weed? What the studies say

Given the very recent acceptance of cannabis among the general public, it comes as no surprise that we have very little scientific information on topics such as residual high. Let’s use the data we do have, combined with anecdotal evidence, to discuss weed hangovers. 

The first relevant study on this topic comes from 1985. Researchers gave 13 men either placebo joints or actual cannabis with 2.9% THC. After smoking, the participants were asked to perform various tests, such as memory and sorting tasks.

They performed the same tests after a night of sleep. The scientists noticed weed effects only in those who smoked, concluding that they suffered a pot hangover. 

Another bout of research took place in 1998. It tested ten men and uncovered minimal day-after effects upon smoking a single joint.

More recently, a 2017 study explored medical marijuana use for people with chronic pain. Some patients reported undesirable side effects of cannabis use, such as feeling non-alert and foggy the following morning. The study didn’t disclose the number of participants who felt this way.

There are several issues with these studies on weed hangovers. For one, both had very limited sample sizes and lacked diversity. Moreover, the amount of cannabis used by the subjects was much lower than what your regular stoner smokes today. 

The takeaway is straightforward. We know that weed side effects the next day are a thing that happens. The extent, causes, and solutions are still vague. We can use anecdotal evidence until a reputable research facility performs a broad-scope study on the issue. 

What do we know, then? Let’s explore weed hangover causes and symptoms. 

Weed hangover: Causes

The causes behind that unpleasant feeling following your high have their purpose. We’re here to inform you how to get rid of a weed hangover before it happens

Let’s examine why some highs end in a blissful night of pure relaxation while others make you wake up feeling like you participated in a fight.

THC dosage

Many users who experience cannabis hangovers report higher consumption rates. A logical assumption is that overconsumption causes adverse effects the morning after. 

That also might be the reason why you’re more likely to feel the symptoms after edibles. Your body takes its time processing THC, which makes the head hit a lot more powerful. Plus, the waiting period between consumption and intoxication makes it much easier to overdo it.

Note: Overindulgence is very individual. Work up to your ideal dose—don’t measure how much you should smoke by somebody else’s standards. 

Dehydration before smoking

Unlike with alcohol, a pot hangover doesn’t dehydrate your system. 

If you lack fluids in the body before consuming weed, it’s much easier for the symptoms to occur the next day. Your tissues are regenerating at a slower rate, flushing out toxins at half the effectiveness.

THC half-life

The half-life of a chemical is how long it takes to degrade in your body. When it comes to THC, it has a long half-life, remaining in your fatty cells and releasing into your system.

Lingering THC could trigger unpleasant symptoms a day after consumption. The half-life is also why it’s harder to recover from an edible hangover

Weed hangover: Symptoms 

Before learning how to cure a weed hangover, you need to know what you’re up against. What can you expect after a puff too many?

Weed headache

It’s normal to feel a headache after smoking weed. It usually follows a joint, blunt, or bong. Although cannabis is not nearly as harmful as tobacco, its smoke can also cause head pain

The headache might also result from poor sleep or improper hydration during intoxication. Keep your body well-nourished and hydrated to avoid these effects.

Fatigue

Cannabis induces a dopamine release, uplifting, bringing pleasure, reducing stress, and boosting motivation. It all changes as the intoxication fades away. 

A smoking weed hangover includes a drop in dopamine levels. You might feel tired and lethargic the day after your high. Restless sleep post-intoxication is another potential culprit for lingering fatigue.

Brain fog

Brain fog is a dreaded cannabis hangover symptom. Cannabis influences your cognitive functions. Residual THC might induce a distorted perception of time, general confusion, issues with coordination, and memory problems. 

Brain fog can be scary, but it should go away as you put in the effort to regain clearheadedness with food, caffeine, sleep, and exercise.

Red eyes

Eye redness is yet another universal symptom of being high, but it doesn’t always disappear when you sleep it off. THC dilates your blood vessels and capillaries. Your body responds by sending more blood to your head, including the eyes, which get bloodshot.

Note: You might also experience dry eyes, although we don’t have clear evidence of why that happens. Eye drops should do the trick.

Cottonmouth

‘Cottonmouth,’ as the community calls it, is the sensation of dryness inside your mouth upon toking. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a result of dehydration.

Instead, THC inhibits your salivary glands, reducing the inflow of saliva to your mouth. This symptom might stick around for weed hangover, but water should trigger production in no time.

Chest soreness

This symptom of a marijuana high happens to weed smokers, especially bong users. Your lungs take a hit when you inhale smoke, resulting in soreness the day after. 

How long does a weed hangover last?

Now you’re aware of the symptoms and causes, let’s go on to the meat of this guide. Weed hangover: how long does it last and how to prevent it? We’ll start with the duration.

The immediate effects of cannabis can last for an hour to four hours, depending on the dose, potency, delivery method, your tolerance, and metabolism. 

You feel the lingering effects of your high for several hours after you’re clearheaded again. Around this time, you might also develop weed hangover symptoms, such as a headache and brain fog. If you’re going to sleep, they appear the next morning.

The adverse effects should resolve within 24 hours of your high. You might still feel some in the afternoon after intoxication day. Get enough rest, and no more than a Monday has to go to waste due to a weed headache. 

How to cure a weed hangover? 

No matter how much you’d like to stay in bed and avoid any contact the day after your high, it’s not the best weed hangover cure. It’ll work after a bit, sure, but there are much more efficient ways to go back to feeling your best. 

You don’t need anything in particular, either. These tips revolve around regular healthy living practices, treating your body right, and helping it recover slowly and surely.

Note: Apart from these natural methods, more severe symptoms of marijuana hangovers could get better after some over-the-counter medicine. Take ibuprofen for your headache, anti-nausea medication if your stomach is particularly upset, and use eye drops for your dry eyes.

Perform light exercise

Nobody expects you to head to the gym with a headache from weed, but light activity fends off those nasty symptoms of overdoing it. 

Taking a casual stroll around the neighborhood is the way to go. Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that gets the blood flowing to your limbs. It’s also a cardiovascular activity that opens your lungs to a supply of fresh oxygen, clearing away brain fog.

Yoga and other kinds of stretching activities are excellent if it’s too cold to go outside. Focus on deep breaths and open your chest to send fresh blood to your lungs, throat, and brain. A quick round of meditation can get you out of a bad mood, too.

Have a carb-rich meal

Getting a nutrient-rich meal to your belly helps you metabolize the THC in your system faster and flush out toxins from your body. 

A cannabis hangover likely won’t leave you feeling very eager to head to the kitchen, especially if you had yourself a munchie-fueled snack the night before.  It’s good to nourish your body regardless. 

Don’t overeat if you’re not hungry, but even a snack can energize and leave you feeling ten times better.

Choose clean foods, preferably high in carbs and low in refined sugars and fat. That way, you’ll provide optimal sources of vitamins and minerals to your recovering system and give it a push in the right direction.

Keep your body hydrated

How to get over a weed hangover? Just like you would any other type of hangover in your system. It all revolves around helping your body get rid of the bad stuff and replenish its natural resources until it feels good again. 

If regular water isn’t doing the trick, you could have caffeinated tea (skip the sugar, ideally) for an extra boost of clear-headed energy. Lemon water, preferably warm, also helps relieve congestion and soothes the belly, bringing you tasty, aromatic relief.

Have a brisk shower

If your weed hangover is too strong to get you out and moving, a cold shower can help. Water and aromatic soap open your pores, letting you release the toxins accumulated in your skin

The pressure can massage and ease tightness and soreness in your head and body. Jumping underneath a stream of cool water rejuvenates, getting you ready to try other, more demanding tricks. 

Take it slow and rest

Activity and healthy meals are excellent, but remember that your body may have undergone some stress during that residual high. 

Practice healthy habits but keep things on the lighter end, respecting your boundaries and listening to your body. Skip the night out, tuck yourself in bed early, and don’t partake again until you feel good.

How to avoid a marijuana hangover?

Knowing how to recover from a weed hangover is excellent, but prevention is better than cure. Instead of suffering through a headache after weed, here’s what you can do to wake up as fresh as a daisy. 

Know your limits

The only reliable way to avoid a cannabis hangover is knowing and respecting your limits

Remember that these symptoms mostly occur when you overdo it with potent pot and keep more marijuana residue in your system than what your body can process.

Start low and increase your dosage only when you no longer feel the effects until you’ve uncovered your ideal dose. Once you do, stick to it.

Skip the pot brownies

Smoking is the most popular way of consuming weed, but edibles follow as a close second. A hangover from weed is much more likely when THC has to go through your gut first, though.

An edible high is delayed and prolonged, as well as much more powerful. If you find yourself struggling with the aftereffects, stick to the inhalation method of cannabis consumption.

Combine THC and CBD

A weed hangover is the product of THC, while its non-psychoactive counterpart of CBD keeps you fresh and healthy.

You do want to go on a wild ride, so we’re not suggesting that you stick to pure CBD. Combining the two can be your ticket to a more pleasant day-after experience. Pick a 1:1 ratio for the best of both worlds. 

Avoid other substances

Combining pot with alcohol and tobacco is never a good idea. These other substances can compound the side effects of weed the next day and lead to more toxins accumulating in your system. 

FAQs about weed hangovers

Let’s finish by answering some common questions about weed hangovers we hear in the community.

Does weed make you more tired the next day?

Ideally, no. A high from quality weed should leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day. That’s not always the case, though. Residual effects of marijuana can cause daytime fatigue. To combat it, get plenty of sleep after smoking, stay hydrated, and engage in light, energizing activity. 

How long does it take to recover from weed?

Normally, the effects of weed subside two to four hours upon ingestion. Lingering effects disappear after a good night of sleep. The hangover and its symptoms, such as headaches after smoking weed, could follow you for a day. Everything should resolve within 24 hours if you’re gentle with your body. 

Does weed make you angry the next day?

A cannabis hangover could leave you irritable. The combination of physical discomfort and mental effects of cannabinoids in your system might boost anger and displeasure. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and avoid situations that generally make you angry. That grocery store line and rush hour driving can wait.

Prepare well and avoid a weed hangover

Having read this overview, we hope that you no longer believe you’re alone in that nasty weed hangover feeling that leaves you regretting your blunt. It’s normal, and we’ve all been there. 

A careful stoner is a happy stoner. The best you can do for yourself is take it slow and keep marijuana hangover cures in mind. You can minimize both the risk and the discomfort by taking proper precautions

Stay tuned to our blog for more guides on all things cannabis. Our educational resources are here for rookie and veteran stoners, helping everybody experience the best of the weed world and stay safe and healthy while enjoying the ride. 
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