CBD Might Be Able to Cure Your Hangover—And Everything That Comes With It
Is there anything CBD can’t do?
In This Article
Life offers many things worth indulging in. But when it comes to alcohol, having one too many drinks doesn’t necessarily feel all that nice once the party is over. Your head is pounding, your stomach is tied in knots, and your ability to get up and go is gone—all of which best describes the dreaded hangover.
The term can basically be defined as veisalgia, a cluster of symptoms that occur after drinking too much alcohol, but they don’t happen immediately after. Instead, they show themselves the next day, typically when your blood alcohol concentration levels drop near zero. Why do they suck so much? Because you don’t feel symptoms right away, this delayed response might cause you to drink more (which can cause your body even more issues).
Thankfully, nature offers a pretty awesome solution for helping with a hangover’s mentally and physically draining symptoms. No, it’s not burned toast or shrimp, remedies that have been rumored as hangover cure-alls in the past. It’s CBD, aka cannabidiol. Not that we need reminding, but the key signs of a hangover often include low blood sugar, nausea, dehydration, anxiety, fatigue, a lowered immunity, and many others. If you overdid it last night and are looking for a natural alternative, CBD may be able to help you rebound quickly. Up and at ’em, right?
The Morning-After Science of Hangovers
Ah yes, the hangover, a phenomenon experts still surprisingly know very little about. Some have theorized alcohol disrupts the flow of our biological functioning, while others believe alcohol withdrawal is to blame. Whatever the cause, one thing’s for certain, it’s a shitshow. And it starts with the liver. Once metabolized, alcohol’s ethanol converts into a hangover-inducing toxin called acetaldehyde, which causes liver detoxification. In a nutshell, this ethanol metabolic process is split into two main phases.
In phase one, alcohol travels through a series of (rather complex) enzymatic pathways, and will eventually get detoxified (or made less toxic) by cytochrome P450, an enigmatic enzyme largely present in the liver. During this process, free radicals are typically formed and quarried by antioxidants in a normally functioning body. However, the overindulgence of alcohol causes increased toxicity, which causes the liver to work a little harder. During phase two, chemicals like acetaldehyde produced in the first phase are mixed in with metabolites by liver cells and rendered into water-soluble or “low-weight” compounds. That way, they can be excreted safely from the body to prevent increased toxicity.
These symptoms oftentimes depend on the person. Some people are blessed with a life of little to no hangover symptoms, while others suffer without mercy. Water, sugary drinks, electrolytic drinks, medications, waiting it out, sweating it out, sleeping it off, eating healthy (or unhealthy) foods, and even having another alcoholic beverage are a few commonly used homespun remedies for curing a hangover. However, sometimes they aren’t efficient enough to get the job done (and can even do more harm than help for replenishing all that was lost overnight). Though we are in the beginning stages of research, many studies already confirm what the researchers suspected for a long time: Cannabis possesses great healing power. The plant offers the kind of natural relief that can reverse these metabolic consequences of ethanol and minimize your suffering without adding any negative side effects into the mix.
The Relief Without the High
Cannabis is a very complex plant, with a vast amount of bioactive chemicals that act in synergy. One of 113 cannabinoids abundantly found in cannabis is CBD (short for cannabidiol), which is mainly found in hemp plants. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t cause the mind-altering effects normally associated with marijuana. Instead of being consumed recreationally like THC, CBD is mainly used for medicinal purposes, all credit due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-anxiolytic, and antiepileptic properties.
The effectiveness of cannabis for hangovers is best explained by the existence of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), endo meaning “within.” Discovered back in the early ’90s, this extraordinary biological system exists in all living vertebrates and mainly consists of cannabinoid (CB) receptors known as CB1 and CB2. Researchers suggest they help regulate vital health functions in the body, such as sleep, appetite, pain, or the immune response. But the overconsumption of alcohol can greatly affect the functionality of these CB receptors (and several others), which puts your ECS off-balance. When you really think about it, most health problems are the result of an imbalance. But cannabis’ CBD has been shown to get ECS back on track by restoring homeostasis, or balance, through its indirect interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors—the root of its many health benefits.
#1 Brain Fog
A 2013 study found that large amounts of alcohol causes extreme neurodegeneration, however, the transdermal application of CBD was able to decrease neurodegeneration by nearly 50%.
#2 Dehydration and Related Symptoms
Your monster migraine comes from dehydration and an imbalanced endocannabinoid system (or Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED), as theorized by researcher Ethan Russo M.D of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute). Alcohol is a diuretic that causes your body to have an inflammatory response in your immune system. Like Tylenol, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have a positive effect on aches and pains after a night of partying. Even better is the fact that CBD doesn’t produce any negative effects when consumed with alcohol like some other medications.
#3 Nausea and Vomiting
Feeling nauseous after too many tequila shots? We’ve all been there. Alcohol is an irritant in your system and can increase acid in the stomach as well as an inflamed stomach lining, but studies show that CBD can help quell the queasy storm.
#4 Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression following a night of drinking can be due at least in part to increased cortisol levels in your brain and other alcohol-induced symptoms. The anxiolytic effect of CBD is similar in efficacy to anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants through its interaction with serotonin 5HT1-A receptors (they regulate anxiety and fear, specifically). The CBD helps you get past worrying about all the wrong things, by easing your brain’s response to stress and maintaining your cortisol levels.
#5 Alcohol Toxicity
When we are hungover, our bodies are in serious need of a boost. As mentioned, CBD is a powerful antioxidant—some suggest even more powerful than vitamin C and E—that when consumed after drinking could put vitamins back into your body and help reduce free radical damage by flushing out toxins (such as acetaldehyde).
Dosing with CBD
Let’s just face it, hangovers are kind of the worst and can make you vow to never to drink alcohol again. While there isn’t enough evidence to say with absolute certainty that CBD is a cure for a hangover, science seems to show that the cannabinoid can help the body in more ways than one—hangover or not. To find out if it’s worth adding to your self-care arsenal, between your snoozing and rehydrating, it may be worth the experimentation to help you stay on top of your cleansing and detoxification needs after a long night of drinking.
The cannabinoid can be vaporized, added to foods and beverages as a tincture, or used topically in creams, balms, and salves. Though it’s important to note that everyone metabolizes CBD differently, thus, it will affect everyone differently. CBD is a personal experience, which can make dosing a bit tricky to gauge, however, the standard is around 5 mg. A good rule of thumb: start low and slowly increase until you find your sweet spot.
CBD might be the hangover cure you've been searching for. Here, we're sharing how CBD can help with the physical and mental symptoms of a hangover.
Cannabis Use and Hangovers: Can It Help?
Ah, the hangover. Just about everyone has felt the unpleasant after effects of drinking too much alcohol, and it’s not something most people want to revisit. Of course, it still happens. But rather than trying (and often failing) with the traditional methods of black coffee and a hearty breakfast, consider using cannabis instead.
Yes, you read that right. While everyone experiences hangovers somewhat differently, marijuana has a variety of effects that can help ease a wide range of symptoms. From nausea to headaches, using marijuana can help you feel better within just minutes.
You’re Treating Hangover Symptoms, Not Using a Miracle Cure
While no studies have shown that cannabis actually CURES a hangover, it’s important to remember that there actually isn’t any “cure” for a hangover except time. So with this in mind, the key to feeling better is to treat the symptoms of a hangover so that they are more manageable. Just as marijuana hasn’t been proven to be a cure for any illness, it has been shown to make an extensive list of conditions less cumbersome.
Here are just some of the common hangover symptoms that cannabis use helps to ease:
- Stress / Anxiety
- Lack of Appetite
- Difficulty Sleeping
Again, while claims of marijuana actually curing hangovers appear to be anecdotal, most modern medical professionals agree that it can be a helpful treatment. In fact, marijuana use in Arizona is only currently legal for medical purposes, specifically when it comes to treating illnesses with similar symptoms to those listed above.
Does the Kind of Cannabis Matter?
Cannabis is a plant, and like other plants there are different varieties. Those who need to feel more alert while staving off nausea and pain would do well to try a sativa product, while an indica may help others feel more at ease and relaxed enough to sleep off their hangover. Many more will benefit greatly from a hybrid product, experiencing all-around relief and ease while not getting too sleepy. Others may nevertheless want to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC entirely, opting instead for the gentle full-body effect of CBD products.
Likewise, the way you consume marijuana can play a role in how it affects your hangover symptoms. While a rolled joint or bowl may do in a pinch for a lot of people, it might not be the best choice for others. People with nausea, for example, may prefer inhaling marijuana via a vape pen as opposed to edibles.
Others may prefer sipping it in a tea for fast, long-lasting relaxation. Tea is an especially great option for hangovers, as you can combine cannabis flower with just about any regular loose leaf tea that may be beneficial on its own. Those with nausea or an overall feeling of malaise, for example, would do well to try a marijuana-infused peppermint tea.
Using Marijuana Before Drinking Can Help Too
You don’t necessarily need to wait for a hangover to hit to start feeling the positive effects of marijuana. In fact, many people who use marijuana prior to drinking alcohol find that their hangover symptoms are lessened or non-existent. But if cannabis has not actually been proven to cure (or prevent) hangovers, then what gives?
Well, it turns out that there are a variety of factors at play. For example, many people who are already feeling the effects of marijuana are more likely to drink alcohol slower and in lesser quantities. Many people also tend to experience those famous “munchies” and eat more than they would otherwise. Having food in your stomach slows alcohol absorption and can help prevent more severe hangover symptoms.
Of course, you can always skip the risk of having a hangover entirely by not drinking. In fact, many people these days are switching over to marijuana use entirely for whenever they want to get a “buzz” going but don’t want the often-debilitating effects of alcohol. Again, only medical use is currently legal in Arizona. But if you have any questions, the pros at All Greens Dispensary are here to help!
Cannabis Use and Hangovers: Can It Help? Ah, the hangover. Just about everyone has felt the unpleasant after effects of drinking too much alcohol, and it’s not something most people want to