Weed Hangover: How Cannabis Can Be Bad For Your Health

It’s a weird time to talk about weed. It’s becoming legal in even more states, even if that is just for medical treatments or in very small amounts for personal use. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have dangers associated with it still.

RehabCenter Weed hangover, women group hug

Think about it like alcohol, which was illegal at one time, then became legal, and through all those changes there was one thing that never changed: alcohol can hurt you.

Same goes for weed. Yes, you can consume it safely, but some people can’t. Yes, it’s possible to casually ingest marijuana and not become addicted, but not for everyone.

Just like alcohol, marijuana (cannabis; weed; whatever name it’s going by) can affect your body, mind, and life in drastic ways whether it’s legal or not.

Whether considering using cannabis for the first time or already rolling a joint with experienced fingers, most people turn to pot because of the enjoyment it brings. That experience is different for everyone — they might feel happy, calm, sleepy, relaxed, or silly.

But, back to that alcohol comparison, is it possible to feel a weed hangover? It’s been debated for a while, probably since the first person smoked marijuana, so let’s figure it out.

Relaxation Becomes Hangover

Generally, a person is not looking to take something that makes them feel physically or mentally worse. But that sometimes does happen; in fact, it’s the definition of a weed hangover.

The person might wake up the next morning feeling tired, unfocused, and have a dry mouth and headache. They might be able to help those symptoms by drinking water, taking a pain reliever, or getting some extra sleep. This hangover feeling will usually be shaken off a few hours later and forgotten until the next time.

Repeated Weed Hangovers Are A Sign Of Possible Addiction

If this routine keeps occurring, the person should examine why they are continuing to use pot if they know they’ll have a weed hangover and be alert for the potential of addiction.

What Is Weed?

The proper name for weed is cannabis, as it is known botanically. More specifically, weed comes from the dried flowers and seeds of the female cannabis plant.

Originally native to India and other seemingly far-off places, weed can now be found almost everywhere. It has been spotted growing in the wild in the United States, but with legalization, it’s starting to be accessed through legal dispensaries too. The street market remains the source for many people to find weed, though.

What Causes A Weed Hangover?

There are several medical studies focused on weed hangover symptoms, some saying they exist and others saying they don’t. But either way, official confirmation from medical professionals and the American Medical Association is yet to be found.

But just because the medical community doesn’t have an official ruling doesn’t there is no such thing as weed hangovers. Online articles, social media forums, movies, mainstream music, and people in the local meeting of Narcotics Anonymous down the street have discussed them enough times to know where there’s smoke there’s probably fire, regarding the truth of a weed hangover’s existence.

What exactly causes a weed hangover? Is there a specific source explaining these effects? The truth is probably several things are at play in whether someone who smokes or consumes cannabis is going to wake the next day feeling great, awful, or somewhere in between, like with a weed hangover.

Cannabis Types

Strains of cannabis are believed to have different effects on a person. Some strains have more delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than cannabidiol (CBD).

Lists of popular strains can be found from professional publications like Business Insider to authoritative cannabis websites such as leafly.com. Names for strains include Girl Scout Cookie to Super Lemon Haze to Northern Lights.

Physical Condition

For a person who is generally fit, has a good diet, and is properly hydrated, they might be more likely to feel fewer effects of a weed hangover the next day.

For a person who is overweight or doesn’t sleep enough, they are already feeling those impacts by feeling low energy or unable to focus. Adding weed to the mix just heightens these uncomfortable feelings.

Amount Taken

The amount of THC in the strain a person takes will affect their experience. Similar to alcohol percentage in beverages, cannabis measurements are in percentages of THC. The lower the number, the less powerful the substance.

If a person uses cannabis with high THC levels frequently, they may begin to need more to feel the same effects. As the body’s tolerance grows, addiction begins to develop. A want becomes a need, and without cannabis to feed it, withdrawal cravings begin to occur.

How Weed Is Taken

Cannabis can be taken by smoking as a joint or in a pipe, vaped from a bong or via cartridge, or ingested in edible form as a gummy or incorporated in other foods or drinks. So-called “weed tea” is made by steeping a leaf in cold or hot water.

When weed is consumed and goes through the stomach lining, it can have longer-lasting effects on the physical side as it slowly makes its way through the human system. Cannabis can still be detected up to 90 days later through hair and blood samples, which demonstrates how long the overall body system takes to break it down.

Combining With Substances Other Than Weed

Many people use marijuana at the same time they use other substances. This interaction can increase negative side effects the day after, and the person can never be sure which drug caused their after-effects.  

Common Symptoms and Effects of A Weed Hangover

Medical News Today published an in-depth news article in 2020 that examined multiple studies trying to unravel the mystery behind weed hangovers. The article pointed out study inconsistencies with dosage levels and duration of the time used that explain differing results of participants’ experiences related to side effects.

But there is a vast number of people ready to describe weed hangovers themselves from personal experience, which supports their existence.

Some of the more common negative effects include:

  • foggy thinking
  • tiredness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • dry mouth and dry eyes from dehydration
  • dizziness
  • breathing problems
  • heart rate increase

Some of these can be concerning if they continue, and professional help should be pursued to treat these symptoms or check overall health.

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Marijuana Overdose Can Occur

When a person feels some of the more serious physical effects following weed use, they may have suffered more than some early-occurring cannabis hangover and instead have potentially overdosed on marijuana

Symptoms include:

  • extreme confusion
  • anxiety
  • paranoia (fear and distrust)
  • panic
  • fast heart rate
  • delusions or hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there)
  • increased blood pressure
  • severe nausea or vomiting

Fatal overdose is uncommon.

Long-Term Use Can Lead to Problems

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates 30% of people who use weed become addicted. That represents a large number when you take into account that weed is the most commonly used illegal substance in the United States.

Cannabis Use Disorder

Many people consider weed a harmless drug, but the fact remains it is a drug and it can be addictive and no one person fits a likely profile because it’s use is so widespread.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) treats weed addiction as an official diagnosis called cannabis use disorder (CUD). While an addiction to weed may not be as quick to develop as an addiction to heroin, the number of people being treated for CUD is rising due to increased availability.

For someone who consumes weed regularly, they can form a physical addiction. If they are relying on it as a way to self-soothe, it can become a pattern and they may find themselves emotionally addicted.

A true test to see if semi-regular weed use is turning into addiction can be evaluated by medical professionals. They ask questions from a list of 11 criteria developed from the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Analysis of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) on cannabis use disorder.

Questions related to addiction examine whether someone is:

  • Craving weed
  • Smoking or ingesting more than intended
  • Planning activities or canceling to be sure weed use can occur
  • Interfering with relationships and family
  • Interfering with a job or school obligations
  • Causing money struggles
  • Trying to cut back or stop but unable

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) occurs with regular weed use.

It consists of a repeated pattern of nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Some find they can help lessen the symptoms with hot showers.

CHS will not stop unless the person stops consuming weed. For this to occur, they may need time and support from professional resources.

Learn More About Cannabis Hangover Recovery From Addiction Treatment

For more information on the effects and dangers of cannabis use disorder, or to explore marijuana addiction treatment center options near you, contact us today at (888) 341-4325.


How long does it take to recover from weed use?

The brain typically recovers most of its functionality to full level within one month of stopping cannabis use. Memory and learning may take a little more time to recover. A weed hangover after minimal regular use is likely to last several hours.

Does weed permanently damage the brain?

There have been many studies done on this topic involving large and small groups, with mixed results. Data does show that age is a big factor, and effects are more pronounced when cannabis use begins during adolescence versus adulthood.

These effects include a several-point decrease in IQ and lower scores of verbal memory. Mental abilities for thinking and understanding do not appear to be affected in most studies.

What is known for sure is that genetics, family environment, age of first use, how often, how much, and for how long weed is used, having a cannabis use disorder, and the time length of each study can all affect data.


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