CBD Might Be Able to Cure Your Hangover—And Everything That Comes With It
Is there anything CBD can’t do?
In This Article
Life offers many things worth indulging in. But when it comes to alcohol, having one too many drinks doesn’t necessarily feel all that nice once the party is over. Your head is pounding, your stomach is tied in knots, and your ability to get up and go is gone—all of which best describes the dreaded hangover.
The term can basically be defined as veisalgia, a cluster of symptoms that occur after drinking too much alcohol, but they don’t happen immediately after. Instead, they show themselves the next day, typically when your blood alcohol concentration levels drop near zero. Why do they suck so much? Because you don’t feel symptoms right away, this delayed response might cause you to drink more (which can cause your body even more issues).
Thankfully, nature offers a pretty awesome solution for helping with a hangover’s mentally and physically draining symptoms. No, it’s not burned toast or shrimp, remedies that have been rumored as hangover cure-alls in the past. It’s CBD, aka cannabidiol. Not that we need reminding, but the key signs of a hangover often include low blood sugar, nausea, dehydration, anxiety, fatigue, a lowered immunity, and many others. If you overdid it last night and are looking for a natural alternative, CBD may be able to help you rebound quickly. Up and at ’em, right?
The Morning-After Science of Hangovers
Ah yes, the hangover, a phenomenon experts still surprisingly know very little about. Some have theorized alcohol disrupts the flow of our biological functioning, while others believe alcohol withdrawal is to blame. Whatever the cause, one thing’s for certain, it’s a shitshow. And it starts with the liver. Once metabolized, alcohol’s ethanol converts into a hangover-inducing toxin called acetaldehyde, which causes liver detoxification. In a nutshell, this ethanol metabolic process is split into two main phases.
In phase one, alcohol travels through a series of (rather complex) enzymatic pathways, and will eventually get detoxified (or made less toxic) by cytochrome P450, an enigmatic enzyme largely present in the liver. During this process, free radicals are typically formed and quarried by antioxidants in a normally functioning body. However, the overindulgence of alcohol causes increased toxicity, which causes the liver to work a little harder. During phase two, chemicals like acetaldehyde produced in the first phase are mixed in with metabolites by liver cells and rendered into water-soluble or “low-weight” compounds. That way, they can be excreted safely from the body to prevent increased toxicity.
These symptoms oftentimes depend on the person. Some people are blessed with a life of little to no hangover symptoms, while others suffer without mercy. Water, sugary drinks, electrolytic drinks, medications, waiting it out, sweating it out, sleeping it off, eating healthy (or unhealthy) foods, and even having another alcoholic beverage are a few commonly used homespun remedies for curing a hangover. However, sometimes they aren’t efficient enough to get the job done (and can even do more harm than help for replenishing all that was lost overnight). Though we are in the beginning stages of research, many studies already confirm what the researchers suspected for a long time: Cannabis possesses great healing power. The plant offers the kind of natural relief that can reverse these metabolic consequences of ethanol and minimize your suffering without adding any negative side effects into the mix.
The Relief Without the High
Cannabis is a very complex plant, with a vast amount of bioactive chemicals that act in synergy. One of 113 cannabinoids abundantly found in cannabis is CBD (short for cannabidiol), which is mainly found in hemp plants. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t cause the mind-altering effects normally associated with marijuana. Instead of being consumed recreationally like THC, CBD is mainly used for medicinal purposes, all credit due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-anxiolytic, and antiepileptic properties.
The effectiveness of cannabis for hangovers is best explained by the existence of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), endo meaning “within.” Discovered back in the early ’90s, this extraordinary biological system exists in all living vertebrates and mainly consists of cannabinoid (CB) receptors known as CB1 and CB2. Researchers suggest they help regulate vital health functions in the body, such as sleep, appetite, pain, or the immune response. But the overconsumption of alcohol can greatly affect the functionality of these CB receptors (and several others), which puts your ECS off-balance. When you really think about it, most health problems are the result of an imbalance. But cannabis’ CBD has been shown to get ECS back on track by restoring homeostasis, or balance, through its indirect interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors—the root of its many health benefits.
#1 Brain Fog
A 2013 study found that large amounts of alcohol causes extreme neurodegeneration, however, the transdermal application of CBD was able to decrease neurodegeneration by nearly 50%.
#2 Dehydration and Related Symptoms
Your monster migraine comes from dehydration and an imbalanced endocannabinoid system (or Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED), as theorized by researcher Ethan Russo M.D of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute). Alcohol is a diuretic that causes your body to have an inflammatory response in your immune system. Like Tylenol, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have a positive effect on aches and pains after a night of partying. Even better is the fact that CBD doesn’t produce any negative effects when consumed with alcohol like some other medications.
#3 Nausea and Vomiting
Feeling nauseous after too many tequila shots? We’ve all been there. Alcohol is an irritant in your system and can increase acid in the stomach as well as an inflamed stomach lining, but studies show that CBD can help quell the queasy storm.
#4 Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression following a night of drinking can be due at least in part to increased cortisol levels in your brain and other alcohol-induced symptoms. The anxiolytic effect of CBD is similar in efficacy to anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants through its interaction with serotonin 5HT1-A receptors (they regulate anxiety and fear, specifically). The CBD helps you get past worrying about all the wrong things, by easing your brain’s response to stress and maintaining your cortisol levels.
#5 Alcohol Toxicity
When we are hungover, our bodies are in serious need of a boost. As mentioned, CBD is a powerful antioxidant—some suggest even more powerful than vitamin C and E—that when consumed after drinking could put vitamins back into your body and help reduce free radical damage by flushing out toxins (such as acetaldehyde).
Dosing with CBD
Let’s just face it, hangovers are kind of the worst and can make you vow to never to drink alcohol again. While there isn’t enough evidence to say with absolute certainty that CBD is a cure for a hangover, science seems to show that the cannabinoid can help the body in more ways than one—hangover or not. To find out if it’s worth adding to your self-care arsenal, between your snoozing and rehydrating, it may be worth the experimentation to help you stay on top of your cleansing and detoxification needs after a long night of drinking.
The cannabinoid can be vaporized, added to foods and beverages as a tincture, or used topically in creams, balms, and salves. Though it’s important to note that everyone metabolizes CBD differently, thus, it will affect everyone differently. CBD is a personal experience, which can make dosing a bit tricky to gauge, however, the standard is around 5 mg. A good rule of thumb: start low and slowly increase until you find your sweet spot.
CBD might be the hangover cure you've been searching for. Here, we're sharing how CBD can help with the physical and mental symptoms of a hangover.
How CBD Can Treat Your Next Hangover
The physical and psychological pain caused by a hangover can be enough to ruin your entire day. Thankfully, CBD can help to get you out of bed and moving again. Its myriad of health benefits can treat both nausea and migraine, the two most common symptoms of hangovers. Its wide range of beneficial effects should earn it a spot on your nightstand.
Most people don’t think too far ahead when drinking alcohol. However, a really bad hangover can cause enough damage to derail your entire day. Hangovers can be a real downer, but thankfully, CBD can help to get you back up in no time. CBD’s multitude of therapeutic health benefits provide a comprehensive solution to eliminating hangovers. Moreover, the myriad of convenient forms that CBD comes in, such as oils and capsules, make it super easy to consume. With all of its benefits, CBD definitely deserves a spot on your nightstand in preparation for your next hangover.
WHAT ARE HANGOVERS ALL ABOUT?
Hangovers occur as a result of drinking too much alcohol. They can begin to set in just hours after last consuming alcohol. As the pain-relieving properties of booze wear off, pain and sickness begin to creep in and worsen over time. The typical symptoms of a hangover include headache, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, drowsiness, and body pains like muscle aches and joint pain.
Hangovers happen for two primary reasons: dehydration, and toxicity. Alcohol actively dehydrates the body during consumption and metabolisation. The effects of a hangover can be significantly reduced by regularly drinking water while consuming alcoholic beverages. Also, since alcohol is a diuretic, you don’t retain as much water or electrolytes while drinking. The inevitable result of this dehydration is a splitting headache the following morning.
When it comes to toxicity, it is important to remember that alcohol is effectively poison. As it is metabolised, the stomach and liver work ceaselessly to process the toxins that have been consumed. After some time, the liver’s enzymes run out, and it needs to rest. This process of digestion and metabolisation can cause both physical and psychological pain.
Nausea, vomiting, and inflammation may be induced as the body’s immune system attempts to deal with these threats. Stomach aches and nausea are simply unavoidable for some people, whereas others may be particularly susceptible to the muscle and joint pains that are triggered by the body’s inflammatory response.
The intensity of a hangover differs from person to person depending on their liver’s ability to process alcohol, and their hydration level. People who are already dehydrated (like from regularly drinking alcohol) are more susceptible to nasty headaches and muscle soreness.
HOW CAN CBD TREAT HANGOVERS?
CBD’s wide range of therapeutic benefits allow it to effectively fight the long list of symptoms that accompany a hangover. Regardless of what your symptoms are, or how intense they are, cannabidiol can probably help.
CBD’s most significant contribution to fighting hangovers is its antiemetic (anti-nausea and vomiting) effect. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, cannabidiol is able to reduce sensations of nausea or vomiting. Cannabidiol can put your stomach at ease, allowing you to relax and get on with your day.
CBD’s second-most-important contribution is its ability to relieve headache and migraine. Cannabidiol has been clinically proven to reduce inflammation throughout the body. This in turn causes a lessening of headache and migraine-related pain. It is important to remember to consume water in order to fully rid yourself of hangover-related migraine symptoms. While CBD may numb the pain, it cannot solve the root of the problem, dehydration.
The role of CBD’s anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant effects should not be discounted. Cannabidiol’s calming properties can be a godsend during the stress and discomfort of a hangover. Regardless of how bad your hangover is, cannabidiol can motivate you to get out of bed and get on with your life.
CBD's wide range of benefits make it perfect for treating hangovers. Whether you are suffering from headaches or nausea, CBD can help you feel right again!