The Weed Hangover: Is It a Real Thing?

If you are a regular cannabis user or know someone who is, you may have heard of what some people refer to as the ‘weed hangover’. A weed hangover is similar to an alcohol hangover in the sense that it can make a person feel a bit uncomfortable in the hours after a THC wears off. But is the weed hangover real or just imagined?

This question exists because people react to THC differently. There are long-term cannabis users who claim to have never experienced a hangover. But there are also users who say just the opposite. Some have experienced hangovers in the past while others experience them on an ongoing basis.

Limited Small-Scale Studies

Science has produced a number of limited small-scale studies looking at the weed hang over. One of them, conducted in the 1980s, documented a hangover effect among subjects who used marijuana compared to those who did not. Researchers observed a noticeable decline in cognitive performance among the marijuana users.

Unfortunately, the study included just 13 participants. Despite its iron-clad conclusions, the sample size was much too small to be statistically important. You cannot build hard-and-fast science on the experiences of just 13 people.

Another study conducted in 1998 reached similar conclusions. The big difference with this study is that the cognitive impairment observed in the hours after coming down from a THC high was not as profound. Although participants still demonstrated symptoms that would constitute a weed high, the symptoms were not as severe.

It’s an Individual Thing

For the time being, we are left to conclude that the existence of the weed hangover is an individual thing. Until science proves otherwise, we just need to accept the fact that some cannabis users will experience it and others will not. But that’s really no different from alcohol. There are plenty of people who say they have never experienced an alcohol hangover despite so many others saying they have.

None of this matters much to recreational users who might accept a hangover as just one of the consequences of using marijuana. But it could be an issue from medical cannabis users. As a potential side effect, a weed hangover might be enough to discourage a patient from using medical cannabis.

Doctors and Pharmacists Can Help

This is one area in which doctors and pharmacists can be a big help. In Utah, the state’s medical cannabis program is designed in such a way as to encourage doctors and pharmacists to collaborate with patients to find the best use of medical cannabis. A patient visiting us at one of our cannabis pharmacies is able to get expert advice from our on-staff pharmacist. 

A pharmacist is probably the most qualified medical professional to help patients understand the cannabis hangover. Pharmacists are trained in the human endocannabinoid system, so they are familiar with marijuana’s effects on the body. They know what the hangover is all about.

Of course, patients who have never experienced a weed hangover cannot personally relate to any of this. The fact that so many don’t report hangovers is why plenty of marijuana users question whether or not the weed hangover is even real.