I’ve heard it emphatically debated amongst smoke circles and bandied between veteran stoners and casual tokers alike, argued about in hushed tones in teenage years and cautioned and refuted by young professionals enjoying one more rip on a Sunday night. It’s an urban legend among the 420 community pegged as a made-up monster of federal propaganda or as a very real pitfall for the unfortunate few: the legend of the weed hangover.
Does the Marijuana Hangover Really Exist?
Whether it be physical or psychological, there seems to be a lingering effect to smoking marijuana that influences a small percentage of those who partake. Of course, the DEA has marijuana research locked up so tight that we don’t have a lot of science to trust on the issue. Way back in ’85, the government sponsored a study
using a ridiculously small sample group of 13 men, some of whom received a legitimate joint with the rest of the group receiving a placebo. The men were asked to complete a series of exercises, then sleep for 9 hours, and finally run through the same exercises upon waking. Those who had the placebo were largely unaffected while those who puffed the legit joint showed marked changes in pattern. It really doesn’t tell us much and is pretty much the definition of “more research needed.”
A more recent though still quite distant study was conducted
in ’98, this time with an even smaller group of 10 test subjects. The test concluded that one joint is not enough to leave any lingering effects akin to a hangover.
None of this is enough science on which to build much of a case, especially considering the massive amount of factors that go into smoking weed; strain, amount consumed, method of consumption, and that undefinable twilight zone: how your own body chemistry reacts to the weed. So while the DEA leaves us in perpetual limbo regarding the massive amount of testing marijuana deserves, no one can really give a definitive answer whether the weed hangover exists. With that said, the rest of this article will speak from the perspective that the marijuana hangover is a real, yet greatly under-researched phenomenon.
What Causes a Weed Hangover?
All signs point to the fact that going for that one toke over the line brings on the marijuana hangover. While drinkers often wind up puking when they’ve surpassed their limits, we don’t really have strong signals telling us we’ve hit our smoking limit. And it may even feel like we don’t have a limit. Of course, knock back a half a tray of pot brownies and that boundary line becomes a lot clearer (though it may be the only thing that’s clear). It’s believed that edibles carry a greater risk of resulting marijuana hangovers than smoking or vaping. Again, this is a direct result of weed gluttony. Some have also theorized that strain quality plays into the potential for a weed hangover.
How Do You Know if You’re Experiencing the Legendary Cannabis Hangover?
The weed hangover doesn’t knock you on your ass with even a fraction of the severity of an alcohol-induced hangover but it isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience. In most cases, this is a direct result of dehydration. If you’re burning through joints late into the night and not staying properly hydrated, you’re going to suffer the distinctively hangover-like symptoms of dehydration. This is compounded if you’re at a party enjoying other dehydrating products like salty potato chips, soft drinks, or alcohol. You may also wake the next day into a semi-zombified state, owing to a lack of sleep (yes, some people have trouble sleeping when they smoke too much) or oversleeping. This can result in a general haze that permeates much of your day.
So You Think You Have a Marijuana Hangover – How Do You Stop It?
I’ve never heard of a weed hangover being too out of control so a lot of people just power through it. But if you really need to snap out of it, there are a few simple solutions. If you’re suffering the classic signs of dehydration, chug some water. Make sure that you lay off the chips and junk food to focus on hydrating fruits and veggies until you alleviate your headache. Suffering from haze? Force yourself into activity; especially exercise. Go for a jog, do some yoga, do some cardio; anything that gets you moving. Your body will naturally raise its alertness. It can be a painful path out of your head haze but just soldier through it if you really want clarity. Again, the alleged marijuana hangover is nothing compared to an alcohol-induced hangover so either way, the ride won’t be too brutal.
Chances are you’ll never even have to consider whether a weed hangover exists. However, if you’re one of the few who actually thinks they’ve experienced one, keep the water flowing during your next smoke session and make sure to allow yourself plenty of sleep afterward. Possibly even consider a different strain or pace yourself with the edibles. And if you do find yourself aching from dehydration or spaced out in a general haze, you now know how to fix it.