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Does Cannabis Help Hangovers?
There has been little to no scientific research on the effects of weed on hangovers. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that weed can help with many hangover symptoms (weed will not cure a hangover directly). The best way to “cure” a hangover is to rehydrate your body, restore the nutrients it has lost, and rest.
Before looking at whether or not weed helps with a hangover, it is important to understand what causes a hangover. Here are some of the factors that contribute to a hangover, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- DEHYDRATION. Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes you to urinate more frequently and sweat more.
- DECREASED APPETITE, INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE, AND MEMORY ISSUES. Alcohol can trigger an inflammatory response from your immune system that triggers these symptoms.
- NAUSEA AND VOMITING. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, which can lead to nausea and vomiting.
- FATIGUE AND WEAKNESS caused by low blood sugar.
- HEADACHES caused by expanded blood vessels.
- TIREDNESS caused by low quality of sleep.
Here is how marijuana can affect each of these hangover symptoms:
DEHYDRATION: weed does not help with dehydration per say, but some hang over sufferers find it easier to drink water after smoking weed because they are less likely to throw up afterward.
DECREASED APPETITE, INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE, AND MEMORY ISSUES: studies such as this one from Future Medicinal Chemistry have found that cannabinoids (such as THC or CBD) can have anti-inflammatory properties. The research does not concern hangovers, but it is possible that marijuana’s anti-inflammatory potential might help with these symptoms. Weed is certainly well-known to stimulate the appetite.
NAUSEA AND VOMITING: marijuana is often prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in order to reduce the nausea associated with cancer treatments. The American Cancer Society reports that marijuana can be useful in treating nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. The same principle can apply to the nausea experienced during a hangover — though you are far less likely to obtain a prescription for medicinal marijuana to cure your hangover.
FATIGUE AND WEAKNESS: the American Journal of Medicine published evidence that cannabis helps regulate blood sugar, which could help with the fatigue, shakiness, and weakness associated with hangovers. The increase in appetite caused by smoking weed, combined with weed’s anti-nausea effects, can also help raise blood sugar up to normal levels.
HEADACHES: this study from Pharmacotherapy found that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for migraine headaches. The same principles might be applied to headaches caused by alcohol consumption.
TIREDNESS: many marijuana users report improved sleep after smoking, though there is no clinical evidence to support their claims.
In short, marijuana has been shown to help with many hangover symptoms, even though there are no scientific studies about the specific effects of marijuana on hangovers. That, combined with anecdotal evidence from many hung over weed smokers, gives cause to believe that weed may help with a hangover. Simply remember that marijuana itself will not cure a hangover — it can only help you rest, rehydrate, and refuel.