BY MARIA DEL RUSSO
We’ve all been there—you wake up from a night out with a screaming hangover, cursing yourself for taking that last tequila shot. So, you chug some water, pop an Advil, and order a greasy breakfast sandwich. And, if you’re anything like me, you reach for your vape pen. Since I’ve become a casual cannabis smoker, I’ve found that a few inhales from my vape pen can set me on the path to curing my hangover. It also has the added benefit of cutting down my nausea, which helps me ingest the copious amounts of water (and the greasy sandwich) all that much easier.
It turns out, however, that, beyond anecdotal evidence, there doesn’t seem to be much proof that cannabis can actually cure a hangover. “There is absolutely no medical proof that cannabis is a good hangover cure,” says Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, founder of Inhale MD.
That said, Dr. Tishler does yield that there are cannabis receptors in both the gut and the areas of the brain that are involved with appetite, nausea, and vomiting, so cannabis might help out in those respects. “But to be more specific about the mechanism, we simply don’t know yet,” he says. Considering the fact that medical marijuana is administered to individuals going through chemotherapy in order to boost their appetites and settle their stomachs, it’s clear that there is a connection of some sort. The problem is that the “why” isn’t necessarily explained, so experts in the space, like Dr. Tishler, are wary about recommending cannabis as a hangover cure.
There are, however, people in the cannabis industry who do look to their products as ways to help customers cope with dreadful hangovers. Amanda Jones, co-founder of Kikoko, is one of them. “Cannabis helps with nausea and headaches,” Jones explains. “It also increases appetite, and eating helps you to metabolize alcohol faster.” She explains that, since cannabis is a natural vasodilator, meaning it expands the blood vessels, it can help clear up headaches that much faster. And from my own experience, I can tell you this is true—when I get awful migraines, a few hits off of my vape pen are the only thing that provides relief. Jones says that CBD is a great option for hangovers, too, since it’s anti-inflammatory. So, even if you’re not someone who is looking for a full-on, psychoactive THC high, you can experience the benefits of cannabis while trying to quell a painful hangover.
As for the ideal format, smoking is the easiest way to get the cannabis into your system post-hangover. But if the idea of taking a massive hit when you’re feeling nauseous makes your stomach churn, teas and edibles can also help. Jones points to Kikoko’s Sympa-Tea, which, aside from the cannabinoid content, has turmeric and ginger, which settles the stomach. The brand’s Positivi-Tea has caffeine, which can help reduce headaches. “In fact, both teas will help with headaches, nausea, and will also help you sleep after all that sugary booze,” Jones says. From my own experience, an edible can often work better than a vape pen, because it delivers a full-body high instead of just a head high, which I find to be more effective for a hangover. Both Jones and Dr. Tishler say that there isn’t a specific strain that would work better or worse for a hangover; it’s more about personal preference.
So, the next time that you’re feeling utterly sluggish and sick from a hangover, why not reach for some cannabis? Hey, at the very least, it might help you sleep off the sickness, which is merciful when you’re seriously struggling.