Weed Hangovers: Fact or Fiction?

Marijuana has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more states have legalized its use for medical and recreational purposes. While most people are aware of the immediate effects of marijuana, such as increased appetite, altered perception, and relaxation, there is a growing debate around the existence of a "weed hangover."

Some people claim that they experience symptoms such as grogginess, fatigue, and headaches after using marijuana, while others dismiss the idea as pure fiction. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the evidence behind weed hangovers to determine whether they are fact or fiction.

“Real” Hangovers

what is a weed hangover?

Before we dive into weed hangovers, let’s first discuss what causes a “real” hangover. A hangover is a collection of symptoms that can occur after consuming an excessive amount of alcohol. The exact causes of a hangover are not fully understood, but several factors contribute to its development. One of the primary causes of a hangover is dehydration, which occurs when alcohol causes your body to produce more urine. This leads to a loss of fluids and electrolytes, which can cause symptoms such as headaches, dry mouth, and fatigue. 

Alcohol is also known to irritate the lining of the stomach, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Additionally, alcohol can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to headaches, muscle aches, and other symptoms.

Hangovers can also affect cognitive function, including memory and concentration, making it difficult to perform tasks or make decisions. In severe cases, a hangover can also cause tremors, sweating, and an elevated heart rate. 

The severity and duration of hangover symptoms depend on several factors, including the amount and type of alcohol consumed, the age, weight, and sex of the person, and the individual's overall health. While there is no single cure for a hangover, drinking plenty of fluids, getting rest, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate symptoms.

So What About “Weed Hangovers”?

how does a weed hangover happen?

As marijuana has become more mainstream and research into its effects has expanded, the term "weed hangover" has become more widely recognized and discussed. However, it's important to note that the concept of a "weed hangover" is not universally accepted in the scientific community, and more research is needed to fully understand the effects of marijuana use on the body and brain.

1985 Study: 'Hangover' Effects the Morning After Marijuana Smoking

The idea of a "weed hangover" has been discussed anecdotally in cannabis culture for many years, but the first scientific study to examine the phenomenon was published in 1985. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), aimed to investigate the residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive and behavioral performance.

The study involved 13 participants who were regular marijuana users, and it found that some of the participants reported experiencing mild hangover-like symptoms the day after using marijuana, including fatigue, headache, and decreased appetite. However, the study was limited by its small sample size and the fact that it only examined the residual effects of marijuana use for 24 hours after consumption.

While the study did not definitively prove the existence of a "weed hangover," it provided some evidence to support the idea that marijuana use may have residual effects on cognitive and behavioral performance, which could potentially contribute to feelings of grogginess or fatigue the next day.

1998 Study: Acute and Residual Effects of Marijuana in Humans

The idea of the “weed hangover” came up again in a 1998 study done by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine that aimed to investigate the residual effects of smoking a single marijuana joint on cognitive and behavioral performance.

The study involved 10 participants who were regular marijuana users, and they were asked to abstain from using marijuana for 24 hours before the study. On the day of the study, the participants smoked a single joint containing either 1.8% or 3.6% THC, and their cognitive and behavioral performance was assessed at various intervals over the next 24 hours.

The study found that the participants experienced residual effects of marijuana use for up to 24 hours after smoking the joint, including decreased cognitive and motor performance, increased fatigue, and changes in mood. However, the effects were generally mild and were more pronounced in participants who had smoked the joint containing the higher THC concentration.

While the results from both of the studies suggest that residual effects of marijuana use may be more widespread and long-lasting than previously thought, they are both limited by their small sample sizes and the fact that they only examined the residual effects of smoking a small amount of cannabis, which may not be representative of typical patterns of use.

2023 Study: The “Next Day” Effects of Cannabis Use: A Systematic Review

A recent systematic review has found that there is little evidence to support the concept of a "next day" hangover caused by cannabis use. The study, led by Dr. Danielle McCartney and colleagues at the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, evaluated 20 published studies investigating the impact of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating component of cannabis, on users more than eight hours after consumption. 

Out of the 345 performance tests conducted in the studies analyzed, only 12 tests (3.5% of the total) across five papers showed significant deterioration in performance the day after THC use. However, none of these studies used randomized double-blind placebo-controlled designs, and all were conducted over 18 years ago.

Furthermore, there was no clear association found between THC dose, administration route, or type of assessment. Dr. McCartney highlighted the insufficient reporting of these effects by saying, “We can't really comment on the magnitude of these effects because they weren't all that well reported.”

Overall the review found that most studies did not detect any "next day" effects of cannabis use, and those that did had significant limitations. While the findings suggest limited scientific evidence to support the idea of a cannabis hangover, further research is needed to fully understand the potential residual effects of cannabis use.

Fact or Fiction?

do weed hangovers really exist?

In conclusion, the idea of a weed hangover remains a controversial topic with mixed evidence from various studies. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential residual effects of cannabis use, taking into account factors such as body composition and metabolism of the individual consumer. While some users may experience negative effects the day after cannabis use, others may not. 

As cannabis legalization continues to expand worldwide, further research is essential to help users make informed decisions and to fully understand the potential impact of cannabis on their health and well-being.

Consumers who are looking for the benefits of THC without the high should check out E1011 Labs’ CBD-rich stelo™. Each stelo™ is predosed and prefilled with premium hemp flower to give users the full spectrum of benefits, without the worry of a ”weed hangover”.