He also said there hasn’t been much study on hangovers in general, which makes the question doubly tricky to answer. But looking at how alcohol leads to a hangover, he said, can help us theorize how smoking weed might help.
They couldn’t smoke in the dorm, so they went to his roommate’s car. “Almost immediately I wasn’t focused on feeling bad, just being high, and it felt like my headache and upset stomach were gone,” he says. It also gave him an appetite while recovering. Even today he turns to the green after a night of over-drinking.
Alcohol makes you urinate, which can lead to dehydration; produces an inflammatory response in your immune system; irritates the stomach lining, often provoking nausea or vomiting; lowers your blood sugar, which can make you feel fatigued or jittery; and expands your blood vessels, which can cause headaches.
Beyond street-level anecdotes, though, what does scientific research say about smoking dope to treat a hangover? Does it actually work? Is it any better than the myriad other dubious hangover cures out there?
Jack swears by smoking weed to treat a hangover. The first time he tried it was in college as a freshman. He’d been drunk before, and he’d been high before, but after one especially rough night, his world-wise roommate told him weed could blunt his aching hangover.
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However cannabis can help with your hangover, it’s important to note that it’s not curing anything so much as letting you live with the consequences of too much drinking while your body recovers. “Marijuana treats the symptoms,” said Elaine M. Burns, naturopathic medical doctor. She’s long advised patients and doctors about using weed therapeutically. The best ways to deal with a hangover, she said, are “A, avoid it begin with, then B, treat the symptoms.”
“There’s actually not a lot of study on this,” said Kent Hutchison, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He’s studied substance use and cannabis for years, including work on the National Academy of Sciences committee that produced a comprehensive study on the effects of cannabis.
When it comes time to spark up (or however you get your weed), remember that you’re trying to treat your specific symptoms—choose your strain and method of delivery wisely. Burns noted that THC and CBD both seem to help with pain relief, while CBD helps more with anxiety. Indica strains have more CBD, so take that into account.
Cannabis can quell nausea, alleviate anxiety, and dull pain—so we looked at the evidence for it as a hangover cure.
Again, it is no cure. Smoking pot won’t make the excess ethanol in your bloodstream disappear. Still, there’s good reason to believe that it can help get you through the day. It’s certainly better than the “hair of the dog” approach, which involves drinking more alcohol and simply numbing yourself to the pain of a hangover. Let’s be clear: alcohol is toxic and marijuana is not.
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One study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that “THC fits into receptors in the brain’s olfactory bulb, significantly increasing the animals’ ability to smell food and leading them to eat more of it,” Smithsonian Magazine reported.
To be sure, moderating your alcohol consumption is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid a nasty hangover. But if you do find yourself struggling to get out of bad after a night on the town, anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests that marijuana is one of your best options for the quick, safe, and effective treatment of hangover symptoms.
Headaches aside, having a hangover also usually involves feeling nauseous. If it’s a particularly bad case, you’ll have trouble keeping waterвЂ”let alone foodвЂ”in your stomach. Again, marijuana to the rescue: scientists have found that the substance is highly effective at treating nausea. Even the U.S. National Cancer Institute, a federal agency, has acknowledged as much.
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A side note: regularly consuming too much alcohol can cause neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment, contributing to a cycle of alcoholism, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky. A 2013 study showed that cannibidinoal (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, can reduce alcohol-induced neurodegeneration by almost 50 percent.
Like over-the-counter painkillers, marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate pain after a night of overindulgence. Unlike Advil, however, pot doesn’t carry the risk of damaging your stomach lining and it is significantly more effective at treating pain, as numerous studies have demonstrated.
Part of what makes nausea so miserable is that it often prevents you from being able to eat or drink without feeling the need to vomit. Well, as pretty much any stoner (and a number of researchers) can tell you, marijuana increases appetite. And many users claim that smoking pot the morning after binge drinking helps them stabilize their stomachs.
Here’s how marijuana affects alcohol hangovers.