One negative side of alcohol and other drugs is the hangover effect they produce the morning after consumption. What about cannabis? Can you get a weed hangover?
I personally never associated weed with hangovers. In fact, ‘lack of hangover’ was always something positive I attributed to weed. But, it does seem some people may experience hangover symptoms after smoking or otherwise ingesting THC. It got me curious. So, I did some research.
Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comment section at the end of the article.
Are Weed Hangovers Real?
I wanted to start by checking on any scholarly research papers. There is actually a surprising body of work on the topic. I thought with all this research I could easily find out if weed hangovers were legit.
Unfortunately, the various research papers don’t all agree with each another. I’ll quickly go over a few of the studies and their outcomes.
Studies Claiming Weed Hangovers Are Real
- Chait et al. (1985) – The is the earliest, and perhaps the most famous and cited, article about the subject. The article established much of the precedence for the ‘weed hangover’. This articles states, “The findings suggest that marijuana smoking can produce residual (hangover) effects the day after smoking.” Remember the name Chait (author of this article). This name is going to come up again shortly. For now, let’s move on.
- Heishman et al. (1990) – Five years later this study was published by the Nation Institute on Drug Abuse. They to found cannabis could produce a hangover effect. They state, “These preliminary results suggest that marijuana can adversely affect complex human performance up to 24 hours after smoking.”
- Wadsworth et al. (2005) – This study aimed to look specifically at how weed hangovers affect someone at work. They tested some unique variables (cognitive performance, mood and human error), and also found that cannabis can create a hangover. This study states cannabis can create “a ‘hangover’-type effect which may increase with frequency of use.” So, this article suggests the hangover effect increases among habitual smokers.
With all these papers you would think it’s an easy call. Well, I’ve only given you half the story.
Studies Claiming Weed Hangovers Are NOT Real
- Chait, L.D. (1990) – Remember I told you not to forget the name Chait? Here he is 5 years after publishing his now famous study, but this time he’s claiming cannabis does not give you a hangover. He performed the same basic study (with a few updates), and concluded, “No evidence of residual subjective intoxication was found, and most of the behavioral tasks and mood scales were unaffected the morning after.”
- Fant et al. (1998) – This study was very similar to the Chait 1990 study, and both studies drew the same conclusion. The articles states, “The residual effects of smoking a single marijuana cigarette are minimal.”
How do you decide who’s right when the researchers are divided? Chait can’t even agree with himself.
Screw the Studies?
Honestly, how reliable are these studies anyways? For instance, Chait’s first study involved only 13 participants. His second only had 12 subjects. Is this sample size really enough to get accurate results? Another limitation is the fact that the studies mostly used mild doses (or self-report – eww). Most of the studies are on shaky ground, but I’m not saying we should completely throw them out.
I personally know people who claim to get a hangover feeling after smoking weed so I believe it’s real. Let’s talk about the symptoms.
From now on I’ll be using research studies, as well as, more anecdotal evidence from personal experiences and reports around the web. If you’ve experienced a symptom that isn’t listed please let me know in the comment section.
Physical Symptoms of Weed Hangovers
Physical symptoms weren’t covered much in the studies. One reason could be because the amount of cannabis administered by the researchers was too low to really cause many physical symptoms. Again, I personally never get a hangover feeling, but different people are going to have unique experiences.
Here is a list of some symptoms that have been reported:
- Headache – This is perhaps the most experienced physical symptoms. The headache is typically very mild and goes away on its own.
- Nausea – Nausea from cannabis is almost never as debilitating as nausea from an alcohol hangover. Again, this symptom typically doesn’t last longer than a few hours.
- Lack of Energy / Fatigue – Some people experience a drained feeling and a lack of motivation. It’s kinda one of those things you gotta snap out of.
- Irritated Eyes – Red and itchy eyes are a common symptom for people who are stoned, but it may also happen to people the morning after smoking. Start with eye drops. If all else fails blame it on allergies like the rest of us.
- Congestion – This is typically your body’s reaction to the smoke. It will usually decrease with continued use.
- Dehydration – This often comes in the form of dry mouth. Make sure to drink some water. I mean, it’s good advice for life in general – not just for getting stoned.
I’ll get to the causes and cures in a moment, but first I want to talk about the cognitive symptoms.
Cognitive Symptoms of Weed Hangovers
Cognitive symptoms primarily affect mental processes. These types of symptoms were the primary interest of the researchers. Below are some of the symptoms outlined in the research. I added links to studies that haven’t been previously mentioned in this article.
- Shortened Attention Span – Pope et al. (1995)
- Difficulty with Psychomotor Tasks (motor skills that involve high levels of cognitive thinking) – Pope et al. (1995)
- Short-Term Memory Loss – Block & Ghoneim (1993), Heishman et al. (1990), Pope et al. (1995)
- Difficulty Performing Math – Block & Ghoneim (1993), Heishman et al. (1990)
- Difficulty with Verbal Expression – Block & Ghoneim (1993)
All of these symptoms were considered mild and only experienced by a small percentage of participants.
That covers most of the cognitive symptoms. One symptom not mentioned in the studies would simply be the feeling of still being high in the morning. Kind of a foggy mind type of thing. This is commonly a feeling described by those who have weed hangovers.
What Causes a Weed Hangover?
The same smoke session may leave 4 people just fine, but 1 person ends up feeling a bit blah the next morning. The cause can vary greatly, and it could be more than one factor working against you. Here are some of the common causes:
- First Timers – If you’re trying cannabis for the first time, or even trying a new method (e.g. first time taking dabs or edibles) you may experience some residual effects in the morning. These effects should die down if used more frequently. Make sure to take it easy.
- Smoked / Ingested Too Much – This can happen to a beginner smoker or even veteran tokers. Consuming too much cannabis is probably the #1 reason why people report to get weed hangovers. Again, take it easy.
- How You Consume – Depending on if you smoke, vape, or eat an edible may have different effects on you the morning after. Also, if you smoke then how you smoke matters as well. For example, joints, blunts, bongs, and hand pipes may all affect you differently. Switch up your method of consumption the next time
- Cannabis Quality – The quality can certainly have massive effects on your high which I wouldn’t doubt could follow some people until the next morning. If possible, try switching up your source to see if a different batch of cannabis helps mitigate any hangover feeling. Here are a few common quality issues that may cause a weed hangover:
- Curing – The is the process of drying the cannabis. It has to be done in a proper way over the necessary amount of time. Most often you’ll see under-cured buds when someone is trying to push the product out too soon.
- Residual Nutrients – Most growers are using some sort of nutrients. The common practice is to flush these nutrients out using lots of water a few weeks before harvesting. If not flushed properly, then the chemicals from the nutrients could cause some side effects.
- Pesticides,Fungicides, etc. – This is similar to the nutrients. If the grower is using pesticides and fungicides that are toxic then you could be smoking some chemicals in addition to your herb.
If you are experiencing weed hangovers then these items are the things you should be changing up to make them stop.
This is a decent list, but I’m sure there are more out there. If you know of any additional causes let me and everyone else know in the comment section.
How to Cure a Weed Hangover
There really is no magic. Most of the physical symptoms can be taken care of the same way you would normally take care of it. That is, treat a headache the same as you always would. Drink plenty of water, and take it easy if possible.
The good news is, it’s unlikely that your weed hangover is going to last very long. It’s mostly a matter of making yourself comfortable while you wait it out. I wish I had a better answer for a cure, but that’s all I’ve got. Let me know in the comments if you have any good cures or remedies for weed hangovers.
Everyone is different so everyone is going to experience different effects. In the end, I think there are some people who experience weed hangovers, but they tend to be mild. They also seem to affect a rather small portion of smokers.
Weed hangovers are seemingly nothing in comparison to the hangovers you get from alcohol and other drugs.
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to drop me a comment below.