There’s a reason I don’t love to drink: I get really, really bad hangovers. I’m talking lasts-til-six-the-next-night style. Hangovers where I’ve spent the entire day, with my head in the toilet, bemoaning that I imbibed at all. (Some of us are lucky enough to have a tolerance for alcohol—to even go so far as to pair their cannabis with rose wine! I wish.) This, of course, is part of the reason why I’m so pro-cannabis in the first place. But, there’s a camp of users who swear to suffer from cannabis hangovers, which can include symptoms like morning-after brain fog, exhaustion, and headaches.
According to Jordan Tishler, a medical cannabis physician in Massachusetts, a cannabis hangover is a bit of a misnomer. “A cannabis hangover is really just residual intoxication,” Dr. Tishler says. “So that fuzzy-headedness is just the tail end of the intoxication we would expect to derive from the use of cannabis in the first place.”
Inhalation methods—vaporization and smoking flower—are useful for their quick onset and moderation duration, he explains, meaning it wears off in about three or four hours. “So if you take that inhalation at bedtime, it’s well and truly worn off by the time morning comes, assuming a normal sleep duration.”
Edibles, alternatively, take longer to kick in. “Because the cannabinoids in edibles transform chemically in the liver, the ‘high’ lasts much longer, more like eight to 12 hours. And if you’re going to get six to eight hours of sleep in a night and have an edible before bed, there’s a high likelihood that when you wake up, you’re still gonna have some of that medicine floating around, making you feel funny.”
So basically, if you have a firm grasp on the ‘high window’ that goes with the different modes of cannabis ingestion, you can mitigate the hangover—or rather, you can reframe the ‘hangover’ as simply the remnants of a high that just haven’t fully run their course.
If you’re looking to avoid feeling bad the day after, be mindful of your cannabis dosage, too, recommends Tishler. “Even with conventional medications, there’s no one-size-fits-all cannabis dosage. What there are, though, are some gradations. We need to think in terms of milligrams [regarding the proper cannabis dose], just like we would for any other medication.”
Starting small with cannabis is your best bet—you can always try more, if you’re not feeling the effects—but going back in time is never an option. Creating a cannabis ritual around your consumption to help keep you mindful as you consume is a great practice. And if you ever feel like you’ve over done it, there’s always a wonderful antidote in CBD. In the end, sounds like the whole business of the cannabis hangover is just a misunderstood and long-lasting high.