Weed Hangover Symptoms

Health

What does cannabis hangover feel like?

Before we look at the few scientific studies on the topic, it should be noted, most of the information we have on weed hangover comes from anecdotal reports.  Therefore, let’s try to find a description of weed hangover on social media so that we get a good picture of what it is we’re talking about.

“..next to impossible to get out of bed from sheer tiredness..”

This Reddit user and weed smoker apparently gets a very heavy form of weed hangover and symptoms to include severe fatigue and lack of alertness.  Most reports are not this serious.

“odd sleep patterns…”

This user finds his senses dulled.  He feels cloudiness of thought which we might call brain fog.  However, he likes the feeling of optimism that lingers.

Weed Hangover
Pros Cons
  • Optimism
  • Pain relief
  • Stress relief
  • Less sensory sensitivity
  • Less anxiety
  • Dulled senses
  • Fatigue
  • Less pep
  • Altered sleep architecture
  • Brain Fog
  • Forgetfulness
  • Less sharp
  • Lost productivity
  • Dry mouth
  • Vivid dreams
  • Weed withdrawal symptoms

Weed hangover is a constellation of symptoms that present after a session of smoking weed.  According to studies, these can occur after a light or heavy weed session.  The symptoms of weed hangover present during sleep or the next day.  Some research suggests a reduction in REM sleep may be a factor in weed hangover.  Reduction in REM sleep is also, however, a mechanism of antidepressant action, therefore reductions in REM sleep are not necessarily a problem in and of itself.  It’s when that reduction is severe and in concert with total overall sleep loss that it may pose a problem.

Weed hangover does not feel so much like alcohol hangover.  It feels more like if you usually drink coffee, then you stop, so more like caffeine withdrawal.  Your mouth may dry out and eyes may become dry and red.  The most commonly reported symptom seems to be dulling of the senses, lethargy, and brain fog.  You just feel like you’re in a swimming pool underwater basically.  There can be a depressed mood, but one can conversely get an antidepressant effect.  Also, lots of people reported that they had vivid dreams the night after smoking weed.  This can be caused by disruptions in REM sleep patterns.  Sometimes, when REM is either too immediate or too delayed, you can experience vivid dreams.

How long does a weed hangover last?

A weed hangover may last the first part of the day.  It is not likely to linger into the evening time; however, studies have not measured effects later in the day.

How to Cure Marijuana hangover

What causes a weed hangover?

It’s not clear what causes a weed hangover.  Some possible culprits include dehydration, anticholinergic-like side effects like dry mouth and dry eyes, other drugs, too much THC, recovery from cardiovascular stress, and lingering memory suppression.  There is also a possibility that you are suffering from marijuana withdrawal.

Dehydration and recovery from cardiovascular stimulation:

Often times, when you get weed hangover you have overheated, and your blood pressure and pulse have been up.  You’ve been over-stimulated.  You’ve had some hyperadrenergic stress from the acute effects of marijuana.  For some people, you may have sweated a lot and not consumed enough water as well.  Therefore, part of your weed hangover is caused by dehydration.  And another facet of the hangover is your body recovering from overstimulation of the nervous system and cardiovascular system.

Still high:

If you took too much marijuana, as often happens with edibles, you might have gone to sleep and woke up still high.  Therefore, your hangover symptoms are the result of some of the lingering effects of marijuana still acting on your system.  This can include memory loss, brain fog, perceptual disturbances, lethargy, couch lock, and sleepiness.

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Dry mouth and dry eyes:

Weed often gives you a cottonmouth and red eyes.  These are similar to anticholinergic side effects, however, it is not clear that marijuana actually suppresses acetylcholine neurotransmission.  The dryness of your eyes and mouth for an extended period in the morning can make you feel sleepy and lethargic.

Alcohol hangover:

Often when you smoke weed, you have done other drugs or drank alcohol.  Since weed hangover is usually mild or unnoticeable, there’s a good chance any hangover effects you are feeling have come from alcohol or one of the other drugs you’ve consumed.  Also, you might have gotten the munchies and overdosed on unhealthy food.  This might be the source of your tired, lethargic feeling the following morning.

Weed withdrawal:

If you smoke weed on a regular basis, you might be waking up already withdrawing from it.  Weed withdrawal is generally far milder than withdrawal from drugs of abuse but it is still unpleasant and if you decide to quit weed, it might take a few days for the depression to lift.

Scientific Studies

Marijuana studies had been notoriously hard to do until governments began to warm up to this miraculous plant.  There are therefore few studies on marijuana hangover and much of what is known is from anecdotal reports.  There have been a handful of studies to look at weed hangover and other side effects of marijuana.

An early study was done in 1985 and published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.  They took 13 men, all experienced in marijuana smoking, and had them smoke 2.9% THC cannabis cigarettes in the afternoon.  After smoking, they noticed the usual side effects, such as changes in subjective perception, elevated heart rate, changes in a recall, and decreased card sorting ability.  The next day they re-ran a battery of tests and noticed differences in time production abilities and subjective effects.  These are suggestive of mild hangover effects.  Though they are not as painful or worrisome as alcohol hangovers, they could slow down the productivity of someone who expects to be performing at a very high level.

Another study was done in 1990 and printed in the journal Psychopharmacology.  This study used 12 regular cannabis smokers and gave them 2.1% marijuana cigarettes.  You might note the dosage of THC in these cigarettes in both studies is far below the content of commercial preparations today, containing 6 to 10% for weak weed, and 10 to 30 % for strong bud.  In any case, they puffed exactly 40 times.  They measured heart rate to assure an effective dose was consumed.  They tested these subjects the morning after with questionnaires and a battery of tests.  They did not find any residual effects of marijuana smoking in these subjects.  However, they took only 40 puffs of a weak bud.  Though they did get high, they may not have consumed enough to get any hangover effects.

How to prevent cannabis hangover

Some tips on how to avoid weed hangovers:

Many people report weed hangover symptoms after really taking a larger dose of weed.  This can happen with weed edibles.  It can also happen with strains of weed with very high THC content.  Lastly, it can occur if your weed is bad, has mold, or disease.

Here are some weed strains with high THC which may be more liable to cause a weed hangover:

Weed strains with high THC
  1. Grease Monkey
  2. OG Kush
  3. Star Dawg
  4. Key Lime Pie
  5. Blue City Diesel
  6. Orange Crush
  7. Gorilla Cookies
  8. The White
  9. J1
  10. Platinum Cookies
  11. Red Dragon
  12. Purple Trainwreck
  13. Mimosa
  14. Black Jack
  15. Lemon Skunk
  16. Larry OG
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Low THC strains that may help you avoid Weed Hangover

Low THC strains that may help you avoid Weed Hangover

Edibles that may cause weed hangovers

Edibles that may cause weed hangovers

Signs of bad weed that may cause weed hangovers

Signs of bad weed that may cause weed hangovers
  1. Moldy look
  2. White Mold
  3. Black Mold
  4. Moldy smell
  5. Spider mites
  6. White blight
  7. Contaminated with butane (not to be confused with natural, piney ‘diesel’ weed smell)

Reddit user on edibles causing weed hangover:

“The only times I wake up high are when I do edibles. Unless I hit the vapor and get like 2-3 hours sleep… I’ll probably wake up buzzed. Otherwise, everything is flushed out of me by 2 hours. My metabolism is still at teenager levels and I’m 29, it’s kind of insane. Probably a health problem lmao.”

This comment from Reddit that echoes others, identifying those powerful edibles is often the culprit in weed hangovers, so a good rule of thumb to avoid weed hangovers is: avoid powerful edibles.

Avoiding weed hangovers
Avoid edibles

Avoid powerful weed strains

Use weaker, low THC, high CBD strains if you need to be super active the next day

Smell your weed to avoid mold

Smell your weed for butane if it is butane extracted glass, shatter, or another concentrate (butane is used in lighters)

Toss any bad smelling weed, there’s plenty more to go around

Take ibuprofen with your weed

Eat a clean diet before bed

This Reddit user also gives some choice words of wisdom for marijuana hangover.  If you keep your diet healthy and your body hydrated while indulging, you are more likely to avoid the complications of a weed hangover.

How to get sober from weed fast

If you have to sober up from weed really fast, the best bet is to pop some CBD.  CBD will antagonize the effects of THC.

The next step is to eat something and drink something.  Food will break your high for a lot of people.  It presses on the vagus nerve and tells the brain we need that blood and those neurotransmitters for digestion and immune defense right now and that is likely to bring your high to a halt.

Hangover headache cure

You can also antagonize the memory blunting effects of THC and any headaches you may have gotten by using ibuprofen, brand name Advil.  A study in the journal Cell was widely reported in 2013, showing that Cox-2 inhibitors like ibuprofen might blunt or eliminate the memory impairments caused by marijuana if taken concurrently.

If you’re still a bit foggy, anecdotal reports suggest having a coffee to improve alertness, and a little exercise to raise endorphins and dopamine.  These interventions will shake the chiggers out of your brain and get you functioning at your best, even after an evening of heavy marijuana indulgence.  Good luck and happy toking.

Last updated on June 11th, 2019 at 09:35 am
June 11th, 2019
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