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.
“Different compounds in marijuana have different actions in the human body,” the NIC wrote on its website. “For example, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to cause the ‘high’ reported by consumers of marijuana, and also can help relieve pain and nausea, reduce inflammation, and can act as an antioxidant.”
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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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.
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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.
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.
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.
Here’s how marijuana affects alcohol hangovers.
There’s some evidence it works best as a headache treatment when you get the combination of THC and CBD, rather than using them separately. Without more study, though, researchers can’t be certain under what circumstances it’s helpful, including for hangovers. “We don’t really know the underlying mechanisms by which marijuana might relieve pain,” Hutchison said. “It’s better to know the real underlying mechanism.”
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.”
Hutchison pointed to another potentially helpful effect of weed: pain relief. Right now, there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest it can help with headache disorders, as well, but not enough clinical study to prove it, according to a 2017 review article in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
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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.
Jack’s roommate wasn’t a medical pioneer. Weed has been prescribed—and debated—as a hangover treatment going back generations. Nowadays, plenty of weed smokers testify it’s helped them recover from a hangover, with multiple threads on Reddit filled with users praising the technique. “They don’t call it THC for nothing,” says one, “because it’s The Hangover Cure.” Others are more skeptical, saying marijuana might just exacerbate a hangover headache, even if it’s worked before, and worrying that it might cause anxiety or paranoia, or lead to vomiting.
There’s also a healthy debate over whether it’s better to smoke or take an edible, and theories about the right choice between sativa and indica, depending on your symptoms. Some warned of the dreaded crossfade that happens when you combine weed and alcohol (“If you are still drunk, don’t smoke”), while others wondered why anyone would drink at all when they could be smoking weed instead.
Cannabis can quell nausea, alleviate anxiety, and dull pain—so we looked at the evidence for it as a hangover cure.