Marijuana may cause some hangover-like effects the next day.
Most people are aware that drinking alcohol can cause hangover effects the next morning. But can marijuana cause a hangover, too?
Some studies suggest that marijuana may have residual effects the next day. However, these effects appear to be dose-dependent, meaning they increase with a higher dose.
Symptoms of a marijuana hangover include headaches, nausea, dry eyes, grogginess and fatigue.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms of a marijuana hangover tend to be mild, especially compared to an alcohol hangover. Very little research has been done on the symptoms of marijuana hangovers, so most reports are anecdotal.
The most commonly reported symptoms of a marijuana hangover include:
- Dry Eyes
- Cognitive problems
- Shorter attention span
- Short term memory problems
- Problems doing math
- Problems with verbal self expression
- Impaired time perception
If you believe you are experiencing a marijuana hangover, there are a few simple things you can do to help yourself feel better.
Make sure to get a good night’s sleep, drink lots of water, and eat healthy foods. It can be helpful to do some light exercise like going for a walk. You can also take some over the counter medication to treat your symptoms.
What Causes A Marijuana Hangover?
A marijuana hangover refers to the residual effects that occur after marijuana’s “high” has subsided.
When you use marijuana, THC and other active compounds have to be processed by the liver. All chemicals that are processed by the body have what is known as a “half-life”. The half-life is the time it takes for the concentration of the substance to decrease to half.
THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, has quite a long half-life. A 2012 review estimates the half-life for infrequent users at 1.3 days, and for regular users, it can be between 5-13 days.
This means that for an infrequent user, half the level of THC will still be detectable in the blood 1.3 days after smoking, and can still cause you to experience some effects. THC’s psychoactive effects generally subside after 4 hours, while residual effects tend to last longer.
What Do Studies Say?
A number of studies support the idea that marijuana can have hangover effects. However, some studies report a minimal effect. The extent of the impairment may be dose-related.
Marijuana hangovers are common.
In a 1985 study, researchers gave 13 participants either marijuana or a placebo. They found that those who smoked cannabis showed a significant residual effect the next day.
The marijuana users reported feeling “dopey and hungover”, and showed impaired time perception. They also had slightly elevated levels of THC in their blood. The researchers concluded that marijuana can cause a hangover effect.
Higher doses may be more likely to cause a hangover.
Another study, conducted in 1998, found only a minimal hangover effect involving eye movements. For most of the measures they took 24h after ingestion, they found no significant difference between marijuana users and the placebo control group.
However, the researchers gave a relatively small dose of marijuana (one joint). They note that other studies using a higher dose of marijuana have found evidence of residual effects.
This means that the more you smoke, the more likely you may be to experience a hangover.
Hangovers usually happen after smoking at night.
THC is also known to cause hangover effects when used as a sleep aid. In a 2004 study of marijuana as a sleep aid, users reported increased sleepiness, memory problems, and mood disturbances the next morning.
A 2013 study found that nighttime marijuana use led to increased daytime sleep the next day.
While a marijuana hangover is mild compared to an alcohol hangover, you may experience effects after a night of smoking up. These include grogginess and fatigue, cognitive problems, and headaches.