Does cannabis cause a hangover?

Does cannabis cause hangovers?
Does cannabis use spell a rough start to the morning? SOURCE: Fotolia

Groggy mind, scratchy throat, headache, and slight sense of nausea; if you’ve ever woken up with these symptoms after a night of using cannabis, you’ve probably experienced a weed hangover.

While usually milder than an alcohol hangover, weed hangovers can leave users feeling lethargic, foggy-minded and slightly sick the day after use. Luckily, there are a few ways to avoid or at least lessen this hangover effect.

Scientists haven’t spent much time studying this phenomena, but there have been two studies on cannabis hangovers. In a 1985 study, researchers tested participants with subjective and performance measures before, immediately after, and the next morning after smoking cannabis. They found there was a mild hangover effect the next day.

In a 1998 study, researchers performed a similar experiment, testing cannabis users with subjective, physiologic, and performance measures before, during and the morning after smoking cannabis. In this study they were unable to find any noticeable hangover effects the following morning, and concluded that the hangover from smoking one cannabis cigarette is minimal.

So while some evidence points to the existence of the cannabis hangover, it doesn’t always affect everyone the same way. Still some cannabis users regularly report feeling hungover the day after cannabis use, with symptoms like headache, lethargy, dryness, nausea, brain fog, and congested sinuses. These hangovers tend to pale in comparison to alcohol hangovers, which can get much more severe in intensity. While an alcohol hangover can escalate to a splitting headache with intense nausea and vomiting, a cannabis hangover is likely to result in only mild headache and nausea.

Still for those prone to weed hangovers, there are a few things you can do to lessen their impact, or maybe even avoid them all-together.

Cannabis Hangover Tip #1 — Hydrate

Hangover rule number one is the same whether you are dealing with cannabis or alcohol; stay hydrated. Cannabis, like alcohol, can dehydrate, which can lead to many of the hangover symptoms. So keeping hydrated during and after cannabis use, can help avoid or diminish these symptoms.

Cannabis Hangover Tip #2 — Avoid Edibles


Levels of THC in the blood rapidly decline in an hour.

Your cannabis hangover might also be different depending on whether you smoked your cannabis or ate it. Cannabis takes a lot longer to be processed through your system when it is eaten. In clinical trials, people who smoke marijuana are back to baseline levels of THC in under two hours.


When you eat pot, levels of Delta-11-THC stay elevated for 15 hours.

With eating pot, that can be six to 15 hours. If you feel strange the day after trying a cannabis edible, you may not be hungover, you might still be high. Avoid edibles in favor of smoking or vaping if you have someplace to be the next day.

Cannabis Hangover Tip #3 — Limit Use

Research suggests that increasing your cannabis use may increase your hangover symptoms, so avoid using more than you need. Hell, too big a dab can cause a headache and nausea while you’re still high. That’s no fun. Cannabis is a classic ‘bi-phasic’ drug. A little but has one type of effect, but a lot can have the opposite effect.

Cannabis Hangover Tip #4 — Munch Healthily

When people use cannabis, their cravings for sweet and fatty foods can get out of control. This can lead to eating a whole lot of foods we might not usually eat, and maybe even to eating too quickly or stuffing ourselves. This habit itself can lead to feeling sick the next day. To avoid the day after upset stomach, stock up on healthy snacks to eat when the munchies hit.