What is a Weed Hangover?

If you’ve ever ingested more cannabinoids than you intended, you might find yourself dealing with a “weed hangover” the next morning. Overconsuming cannabis products can certainly have uncomfortable effects on the body, with some comparing the “morning after” to being hungover on alcohol.

The good news is, a weed hangover is far less serious than an alcohol-induced hangover, and in fact, weed hangovers might not even exist. Let’s explore what this side effect of cannabis consumption really is, and how to prevent one from happening.

Symptoms of a Weed Hangover

A weed hangover shares symptoms with an alcoholic hangover, though thankfully, cannabis has a much less intense effect on the body. The following are symptoms you may experience if you consume too much cannabis: 

  • Dry mouth 
  • Dehydration
  • Red, irritated eyes 
  • Fogginess
  • Drowsiness 
  • Lack of attention, focus, and/or memory 

Researchers debate how many of these symptoms are caused by cannabis, and how much are caused simply by sleep deprivation or a lack of water intake. The research on weed hangovers doesn’t examine patients who take medically prescribed cannabis, so it’s unclear how much of this is caused by THC, an active component of cannabis.

Causes of a Weed Hangover

If cannabis can have a hangover effect on the body, it’s because of THC. THC binds to certain receptors in the body that cause these hangover effects. For example, THC temporarily binds to the glands that produce saliva, which is why cannabis consumption can give you dry mouth. THC can also cause temporary cognitive impairment, especially in large doses, which explains the “foggy” hangover feeling.

Many researchers argue that a weed hangover is actually just a prolonged high. THC can remain in the body for a while, especially if you consume an edible. An alcoholic hangover occurs because your body has spent too many resources removing alcohol from your system; since the THC from cannabis is still in your system, “hangover” might not be the correct term.

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How to Cure a “Weed Hangover”

Whatever the cause of a hangover, you can minimize the effects of prolonged THC exposure in a few different ways.

Regularly drinking water will help with the dryness and dehydration, and it might help circulate the THC out of your body. Additionally, eye drops can help with red eye, and caffeine can counteract the fogginess and cognitive impairment. Finally, moving around and getting exercise can help wake your body up and move the THC out.

If you’re taking medically prescribed cannabis, you likely have too high of a dose, especially if you experience a high for longer than anticipated. Be sure to drink plenty of water before consuming medicinal cannabis, and talk with your doctor if your dose causes you any discomfort – “weed hangover” or otherwise.

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