Here's What Marijuana Does to Your Hangover

October 16th 2015

There is no such thing as a hangover cure, but there are ways to treat the symptoms. First, drink a tall glass of water, of course. But before you reach for that bottle of Advil, consider cannabis.

Like over-the-counter painkillers, marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate pain after a night of overindulgence. Unlike Advil, however, pot doesn't carry the risk of damaging your stomach lining and it is significantly more effective at treating pain, as numerous studies have demonstrated.

RELATED: Here's What Marijuana Does to Pain

Headaches aside, having a hangover also usually involves feeling nauseous. If it's a particularly bad case, you'll have trouble keeping water—let alone food—in your stomach. Again, marijuana to the rescue: scientists have found that the substance is highly effective at treating nausea. Even the U.S. National Cancer Institute, a federal agency, has acknowledged as much.

"Different compounds in marijuana have different actions in the human body," the NIC wrote on its website. "For example, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to cause the 'high' reported by consumers of marijuana, and also can help relieve pain and nausea, reduce inflammation, and can act as an antioxidant."

Though studies that have looked at the effect of marijuana on nausea have focused on cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy, experts say there is no reason that the results would be limited to one form of nausea over another.

RELATED: What Does Marijuana Do To Your Sleep Patterns?

Part of what makes nausea so miserable is that it often prevents you from being able to eat or drink without feeling the need to vomit. Well, as pretty much any stoner (and a number of researchers) can tell you, marijuana increases appetite. And many users claim that smoking pot the morning after binge drinking helps them stabilize their stomachs.

One study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that "THC fits into receptors in the brain's olfactory bulb, significantly increasing the animals' ability to smell food and leading them to eat more of it," Smithsonian Magazine reported.

To be sure, moderating your alcohol consumption is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid a nasty hangover. But if you do find yourself struggling to get out of bad after a night on the town, anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests that marijuana is one of your best options for the quick, safe, and effective treatment of hangover symptoms.

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Again, it is no cure. Smoking pot won't make the excess ethanol in your bloodstream disappear. Still, there's good reason to believe that it can help get you through the day. It's certainly better than the "hair of the dog" approach, which involves drinking more alcohol and simply numbing yourself to the pain of a hangover. Let's be clear: alcohol is toxic and marijuana is not.

RELATED: Why More Potent Marijuana Isn't a Bad Thing

A side note: regularly consuming too much alcohol can cause neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment, contributing to a cycle of alcoholism, according to researchers at the University of Kentucky. A 2013 study showed that cannibidinoal (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, can reduce alcohol-induced neurodegeneration by almost 50 percent.

"Alcoholism is a cyclical disease consisting of periods of binge intake, acute physical withdrawal, protracted withdrawal and ultimately relapse, which all may be treated by extended release formulations of CBD," the researchers wrote. "For example, CBD has anti-convulsant effects (acute withdrawal), anxiolytic effects (protracted withdrawal/relapse), reduces drug seeking behavior in rodents (craving/relapse), and has neuroprotective properties (binge intoxication)."

RELATED: The Real Reason Why Marijuana Is Illegal in the U.S.

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Would you consider using marijuana to treat a hangover?

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