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Does CBD Oil Help With Hangovers?
CBD has a well-earned reputation for helping people manage everything from chronic pain to anxiety.
More recently, people have been discussing the possibility of using CBD to help with hangovers.
If you’re interested in getting rid of your hangovers quickly and painlessly, you’ll probably want to keep reading.
What You Need to Know About Hangovers
If you want to know how CBD can help with your hangover then it’s in your best interest to understand how a hangover actually happens. There are a lot of factors involved that lead to the symptoms we identify as a hangover.
In either case, the primary culprit of a hangover is alcohol. Alcohol is a known toxic compound that wreaks havoc on the body. However, the biological mechanisms behind this phenomenon are a bit more complex than simply saying “alcohol makes you feel like crap.”
One of the main things involved in the hangover process is a chemical called acetaldehyde.
If that sounds like a harsh chemical, that’s because it is. The name acetaldehyde comes from the combination of two more familiar, highly-toxic compounds: acetone and formaldehyde.
When you consume alcohol, it’s absorbed by your body and broken down into a number of different components, one of which is acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a member of a group of chemicals called aldehydes.
This particular compound is highly reactive and toxic to the body. Being highly reactive, a huge number of different reactions are required in order to effectively break it down so it can be excreted.
While this is happening, your body has to redirect energy and resources to this metabolism process. During this time the acetaldehyde will be exerting its toxic effects on your body. This is the cause of a number of unpleasant hangover effects.
What Causes A Hangover?
There are many different factors that can lead to a hangover.
One such factor is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it makes you pee a lot. If you’re not staying sufficiently hydrated while you’re drinking (which very few people tend to do) then it’s easy to become extremely dehydrated.
The symptoms of serious dehydration are quite similar to many symptoms of a hangover: headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
Some of the gastrointestinal symptoms of a hangover can also be a direct result of alcohol. Alcohol irritates the digestive lining and causes your digestive tract to produce more acid. This can contribute to issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Alcohol can also sap your body of electrolytes. These are important chemical messengers that allow your cells to communicate effectively. When you’re lacking in electrolytes you can experience issues like headaches, irritability, and physical weakness.
Using Cannabis as a Hangover Remedy
People have been using cannabis as a hangover treatment for many years. It’s not uncommon to hear of partygoers smoking a joint during the morning after in order to ease the symptoms.
This isn’t just a tall tale or a folk remedy. There is the real science behind cannabis being an effective treatment for hangovers.
One of the reasons for this is because of the way that cannabis affects the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is one of the widest networks in the body. This system influences everything from our digestion to our perception of pain and anxiety.
There are two main receptor sites in the ECS: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are activated by compounds called endocannabinoids and cannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are those produced by the body itself, whereas cannabinoids are those produced by other methods – such as those found within the cannabis plant. Endo literally means within.
There are many cannabinoids found in marijuana. However, for the purpose of this report, the two most important ones are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Up until recently, people thought that the main reason cannabis helped with hangovers was due to its THC content. THC influences the ECS in a very powerful way, leading to effects like relaxation and a reduction in nausea.
This happens because THC binds to the receptor sites in the ECS. However, in binding to these receptor sites, THC also causes a significant form of intoxication. Not everyone enjoys this intoxication and many people find that it makes them paranoid, anxious, or uncomfortable.
Why does this matter?
It matters because alcohol is known to cause undesirable effects in the ECS. Long-term alcohol use may cause serious imbalances in the endocannabinoid system. However, recent research suggests that even short-term alcohol use can have an adverse effect on the system.
When your endocannabinoid system is out of balance, a number of different issues can arise. ECS imbalances have been acknowledged in both physical and mental health issues ranging from anxiety to inflammation of the bowel walls known as irritable bowel syndrome.
Symptoms of a hangover are, indeed, quite similar. Hangovers are often associated with anxiety and digestive problems.
Restoring balance to the ECS may help to mitigate these symptoms as well as some of the other unwanted effects of a hangover.
Does CBD Work for Hangovers?
CBD may be useful for helping to overcome a hangover. In fact, some people may find that CBD is more useful than THC for managing hangovers.
The reason for this is because of the different ways that each of these compounds affects the ECS. THC is a direct agonist to the CB receptors. This means that it activates them. This direct activation leads to profound and obvious effects, including intoxication.
CBD performs many similar functions as CBD. However, it tends to operate in a more indirect fashion. By influencing the production of hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzymes, CBD is able to bring balance to the ECS without causing any serious intoxication.
This is fantastic news for people who are hesitant to use cannabis as a hangover treatment.
How Exactly Does CBD Help? — List of CBD Benefits for Hangovers
In this section, we will outline some of the research and speculation regarding the use of CBD for hangovers.
CBD May Help Fight Dehydration-Related Symptoms
As mentioned earlier in the article, many of the symptoms of a hangover are believed to be the result of acute dehydration.
However, some researchers — including Ethan Russo, M.D. — believe these symptoms may actually be the result of a seriously imbalanced endocannabinoid system.
Alcohol acts as a diuretic. Not only can the related loss of fluid cause you to feel dehydrated, but it can also lead to inflammation in your body. CBD can help to reduce inflammation.
Researchers and study subjects report that CBD works very well as an anti-inflammatory compound. It can help to reduce the discomfort, aches, and pains that are associated with inflammation of all sorts including that caused by a hangover.
One of the best parts of this is the fact that CBD doesn’t adversely interact with alcohol. This is not the case with more traditional anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin and Ibuprofen which can cause an increase in liver toxicity.
CBD Helps Fight Nausea & Vomiting
Cannabis has long been used as an antiemetic to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
In fact, cannabis has proven so effective for this that marijuana is becoming one of the most popular medicines to prescribe alongside chemotherapy — a cancer treatment that often causes intense nausea and vomiting.
CBD proves to have many of the same benefits. While it may be in your best interest to consume cannabis in its whole form to reap the benefits of a variety of cannabinoids, people who are opposed to marijuana’s intoxicating effects can find relief by simply using CBD.
CBD Helps Balance Your Mood
Among the most common symptoms of a hangover are anxiety, irritability, and even depression.
One of the reasons for this may be an increase in cortisol production. Cortisol is an important hormone but elevated levels can lead to mood instability and high stress.
Regardless of the cause, CBD is understood to help fight anxiety of all types. It has been used to help prevent panic attacks, alleviate social anxiety, and to help people manage generalized anxiety.
One of the reasons for this is because of CBD’s ability to affect our serotonin system.
Serotonin is one of our chief neurotransmitters that regulate our moods and feelings. By bringing balance to our serotonin system, CBD can help to fight anxiety and depression.
CBD May Help Fight Alcohol-Related Health Problems
While there have not been any studies done specifically to prove this, speculation abounds. This is because of CBD’s nature as a powerful antioxidant.
Alcohol is a fairly potent toxin. When you’re hungover, part of what you’re feeling is the result of toxic chemicals accumulating in your body. As an antioxidant, CBD may help to mitigate some of this damage.
How Much CBD Do I Need to Help My Hangover?
This can be a bit of a tricky question to answer.
Not only is everyone designed differently, but the method that you use to consume CBD can have a profound influence on how much you consume.
A heavy-set person taking CBD orally is going to need a completely different dose than an underweight individual who is using a vaporizer.
Oral CBD (Capsules)
Oral CBD has the lowest bioavailability of any type. Bioavailability is a term that describes the amount of a substance that is effectively absorbed and utilized by the body.
This means that the CBD pill or capsule must be taken in a higher dose than any of its forms. It’s generally recommended to start at a smaller dose of around 5 mg. This way, you can prevent yourself from becoming accustomed to a higher dose right away.
However, this can change if you decide to break apart your capsule and take the substance sublingually. We’ll discuss why in the next section.
Most forms of CBD can be taken sublingually.
Sublingual absorption occurs when something absorbs directly in the bloodstream through the blood vessels in your mouth. To take CBD sublingually you just need to hold the material, whether it is an oil, tincture, or powder, under your tongue.
Sublingual absorption has a higher rate of bioavailability than oral dosing. It also affects the body faster. Sublingual absorption is preferred by many because you get more value for your purchase.
As sublingual absorption is much more potent than oral CBD, you may not need it very much. It’s worth starting with a dose as low as a few milligrams and working your way up.
CBD can also be smoked or vaporized. Many products are available that provide concentrated CBD which can be vaporized through a vape pen or a dab rig.
You can also purchase cannabis that is bred to contain a high concentration of CBD and a minimum concentration of THC. This cannabis can be smoked like normal marijuana and enjoyed for its medicinal benefits.
Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to calculate the amount of CBD that you’re using if you’re smoking it.
Topical CBD is generally not absorbed into the bloodstream. If it is, it is only in extremely small quantities. As such, topical CBD is generally not useful for managing any of the mental side effects of a hangover such as anxiety and depression.
However, if you are prone to feeling aches and pains during a hangover, topical CBD may be useful. Lotions, creams, salves, and balms can all be rubbed directly into the problem area where they will serve to decrease pain.
Final Word: CBD For Hangovers
CBD, as a component of cannabis, has been used for many years to help combat hangovers. However, it was only in recent years that scientists have isolated CBD. This allows people to enjoy the same medicinal benefits of cannabis without any of the intoxications.
CBD helps by reducing anxiety, managing pain and discomfort, fighting nausea, and helping to produce feelings of well-being. It is a useful tool for helping to manage hangovers.
If you have experience using CBD for hangovers, leave a comment below to let us know about your experience.
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
cbd and hangovers: the ultimate guide
is cbd good for hangovers? one thing is for sure, hangovers suck. we aren’t going to go into a whole spiel describing how they feel because, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been hungover before. you might also be hungover now, and if you are, no judgment here at all fam (getting older can suck sometimes). either way, you came here with questions about cbd and hangovers, so let’s get you some answers.
there is no medical proof that cbd oil can either cure or prevent a hangover, but it still may be able to provide relief and make your next hangover more bearable. proper hydration, sleep, and nutrition will always be the best ways to help your body recover as it attempts to detoxify.
the human body is always trying to maintain homeostasis. alcohol is a toxin, and its effects alter one’s state of being, which can directly or indirectly contribute to a hangover as the body works to process the substance and remove it from your system. cbd can help regulate the endocannabinoid system, which plays a vital role in homeostasis, and thus could also help reduce the symptoms associated with a hangover.
is cbd good for hangovers?
there are certain areas in which cbd may be able to help with hangovers, and others where it will not. in order to go into further detail, it is important to understand how various alcohol-related effects can be related to cbd and the human body.
you’re probably familiar with some or all of the headaches, nausea, aches and pains that are among the most common symptoms of a hangover, and these symptoms can range from being mildly intrusive to downright debilitating. the effects are delayed, often until the next morning, and could actually be stemming from one or more sources, with each bringing about its own set of contributing circumstances. some of the biggest causes of hangovers are as follows:
- alcohol, blood sugar, and cbd: at first, alcohol consumption causes a spike in your blood sugar, even more so when consuming mixed drinks due to their high sugar content. glucose, a simple sugar (or carbohydrate) that is the main form of energy for your body , circulates through our blood (hence the term, “blood sugar”), and it is regulated by two different hormones known as insulin and glucagon. when your blood sugar levels become too high under normal life circumstances, the pancreas can secrete insulin to lower glucose levels in the body. when you drink alcohol, however, it can inhibit glucose once the body begins to process and break down the alcohol you’ve consumed.
this could also be compounded in a couple of ways: one of the primary means of obtaining glucose is through the foods we eat, and it is common to either not eat while drinking, or eat foods that are lacking in actual sustenance. alcohol may also affect your body’s normal secretion of insulin, further impacting its relationship with (and its ability to regulate) glucose.
while cbd does not have direct properties that will regulate your blood sugar, it can help regulate your endocannabinoid system (ecs). in addition to its other effects, alcohol impacts your ecs, and that might also end up contributing to the symptoms you feel when a hangover is present. because the ecs is involved in homeostatic processes within the body, a better-regulated ecs could facilitate conditions that help the body recover, bringing with it the potential to help with those awful hangover symptoms.
alcohol, dehydration, and cbd : ever heard of the term, “breaking the seal?” alcohol is known as a diuretic, which literally means that it promotes the increased production of urine. once you start drinking, you’re going to have to start peeing; and while you might be able to hold it for a while at the start, you’re certain to have to use the bathroom consistently thereafter.
if you pay attention to the color of your urine to see how hydrated you are, it might be misleading to see clear urine while you have spent some time drinking, especially if you are consuming mixed drinks, beer, soda, or something of the like. you might think your body is well-hydrated when in reality, the simple truth is quite the opposite: you have consumed a substance that increases urine production, and you are thereby eliminating the most abundant liquid in your body – water.
if you are eliminating water and not replenishing it at an equal rate, what happens? obviously, you’re going to become more dehydrated. alcohol dehydrates you on its own, but neglecting to drink water while consuming alcohol can only increase the problem. (no, that guy that says he is “hydrating” with light beer in between his other beverages is not really hydrating. hopefully by now you know that, too).
cbd cannot counteract symptoms of dehydration. regardless, knowing that dehydration is one of the main causes of a hangover can enable you to take the steps necessary to either mitigate or downright prevent one by consuming as much, if not more, water than you do alcohol while drinking. and if you do end up with a hangover still, water is one of the best things you can consume to help your body recover, regardless of whether or not you are also taking cbd. just make sure you don’t drink too much, too fast.
loss of electrolytes also occurs as a byproduct of dehydration. electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are critical for maintaining proper blood ph levels and muscle contractions, including your heartbeat. the proper firing of nerve signals, blood clotting, and tissue development all depend on electrolytes to function correctly, and an electrolyte deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, respiratory and heart failure, headaches, confusion, seizures, and even death.
when you drink alcohol (or consume anything orally), it enters your gi tract, also known as your gut, where your body begins to break it down. everybody’s metabolism is different. some people have a faster metabolism than others, and others can process some foods and drinks better than others.
the alcohol inside the fermented beverages we enjoy is ethanol, a simple alcohol that your body processes into another chemical called acetaldehyde. according to the university of delaware, it is not known if long-term exposure to small amounts of acetaldehyde can cause harm . however, large amounts of it in your bloodstream can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels, and repeated exposure may contribute to cancer.
of all parts of your body, the brain is the most affected by acetaldehyde . it can contribute to amnesia, which is why you may not remember some (or all) of the details from a night of heavy drinking; and it is believed that the presence of acetaldehyde may be one of the biggest contributing factors to a hangover itself. it may also be related to producing some of the symptoms related to a hangover, including upset stomach, increased heart rate, and/or headache.
increased stomach acid production is another byproduct of alcohol consumption. this can delay digestion and cause nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting, and it can be even further compounded by the presence of the part of your brain known as the “vomiting center.” located within the medulla oblongata, the vomiting center can be activated once a person has drank enough, acting as a line of defense to prevent even more alcohol from entering the bloodstream.
while cbd cannot alter the production of stomach acid in your body, it may be able to help counteract feelings of nausea and vomiting by regulating the vomiting center in your brain. when you take cbd, it helps activate the cannabinoid receptors found all throughout your body, and research suggests that activation or suppression of cb1 receptors in the brain can play a role in the vomiting response.
more specifically, cb1 agonists can suppress vomiting, while the opposite promotes it. there is also a possibility that the activation of cb1 receptors can regulate the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to our happiness and well-being.
when our levels of serotonin become too high, nausea and vomiting are common responses. can you think of any other substances that raise your serotonin and might make you throw up? because of all these factors, it is believed that cbd may be an effective remedy for nausea and vomiting , and thus may also be of benefit to you should you find yourself hungover and experiencing these symptoms.
lastly, cbd plays a role in reducing the secretion of cortisol in the body. cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and you’ve probably experienced it when your fight-or-flight mechanism has been activated at some point in life. while that mechanism certainly has played a role in our evolution as a species, consistently-heightened cortisol levels in today’s world can compromise other functions necessary for a healthy life, such as your digestive, reproductive, and immune systems .
other symptoms from too much cortisol include headaches, anxiety and depression, memory and concentration problems, and weight gain. if you are hungover and not feeling mentally or emotionally present, cortisol could be a contributing factor and cbd may help your body produce less of it. this can help you feel less stressed and/or more relaxed, potentially easing hangover symptoms and promoting a more restful state in which your body can recover more thoroughly and efficiently.
can cbd prevent hangovers?
taking cbd as a one-off cannot directly prevent hangovers, but it’s a little more complicated than that. obviously, some people’s bodies process alcohol differently (read: better) than others. some people can drink all night and somehow avoid a hangover, while others can feel the effects from one beer or glass of wine the following morning. as a catchall, it’s probably safe to assume the only real way to not get a hangover is to abstain from drinking. we’re not here to preach, though. at the end of the day, you’re an adult and you know your body best. that decision is up to you.
just because taking cbd oil is not going to make you immune from a hangover, or make one go away, doesn’t mean cbd is completely useless in this instance. taking cbd regularly may contribute to a more-balanced ecs, which in turn can bring about a more stable internal bodily environment and potentially allow your body to better handle the adverse effects that alcohol can bring with it.
for most people, there are plenty of things in their control with regards to preventing a more severe hangover, and possibly preventing one outright. we’ve already touched on how alcohol is a diuretic and that it dehydrates you: the number one thing you can do while drinking alcohol to prevent a hangover is stay hydrated. this may seem obvious, but it’s also important to be mindful of. alcohol lowers your inhibitions and can impair memory, making it easy to forget while you’re enjoying your adult beverage(s) of choice.
it is also better to drink alcohol with some food already in your stomach. sure, drinking on an empty stomach may get you there faster, but it is also setting you up for failure on the other side. even further, you should look to eat complex carbohydrates and protein-rich foods, as these nutrient-dense foods will give your body the best chance at counteracting alcohol’s detrimental effects. other obvious ways to prevent a hangover are to drink less, and to refrain from mixing different types of alcohol.
sleep can also play a role in the bigger picture regarding hangovers. when you get enough sleep, your body is better able to handle everything that life throws its way. alcohol is no exception, and a well-rested body may be better equipped to handle the symptoms that come with a hangover. the converse also may be true: a lack of sleep can contribute to symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and headaches, and all of these may be magnified when hangover symptoms are present.
so, does cbd cure hangovers?
there are countless remedies of lore regarding how to cure a hangover. are any of them worthwhile? if you find yourself in a hungover state, you are certainly going to need water. beyond that, what else is good? should cbd be a part of the regimen?
just like with hangover prevention, cbd should not be relied upon as a spot treatment for hangovers; but taking cbd regularly may help maintain the balancing properties of the ecs when its receptors are activated. this may allow the body to better counteract the effects of a hangover, though there is no direct scientific proof to back this holistic approach to date.
regardless of whether or not you choose to incorporate cbd into your hangover routine (or better yet, your daily life), you might also be curious about the efficacy of other so-called hangover cures. so let’s look into those a bit.
- electrolyte-focused replenishment : it’s no secret that we lose electrolytes as we become dehydrated through a drinking session. many people out there reach for pedialyte or gatorade in order to replenish those supplies, but drinks like this may do just as much harm as they do good, thanks to their sugar contents. one potential all-natural alternative is coconut water.
- food to soak up the alcohol: there are plenty of times we don’t eat much, or at all when drinking alcohol. there is the thought that heavy, greasy, carbohydrate-rich foods can help soak up the alcohol and make you feel better; but in reality, the opposite is true: these foods are extremely hard to digest, and they can add further stress to your body, only making your hangover symptoms worse.
- reaching for a bottle of some sort: whether this involves drinking more to make the hangover go away (only perpetuating the problem, of course), or grabbing some ibuprofen in the hopes of making your headache dissipate, neither of these remedies will actually solve your problems. worse, ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding , and alcohol can increase the likelihood of that happening, especially if the two are consumed in conjunction and/or excess.
the best things you can do for a hangover are the same best practices to prevent one. proper hydration, sleep, and nutrition will ultimately give your body what it needs to recover, even if the process takes time. cbd oil can also have a place in this, as it can exhibit calming and relaxing effects that may lead to an increased capacity for some combination of those three key components.
it is also worth mentioning that the only real cure for your hangover may be time. if you are hungover, your body is going to need time in order to detoxify and return to a state of normalcy. it sucks to have to ride that out, but all hangovers do eventually go away on their own. hopefully your next one does sooner, rather than later.
can i mix cbd with alcohol? yes, cbd is safe to mix with alcohol. however, it is possible for the effects of one or both substances to become amplified when taken together. cbd is nontoxic, but alcohol is a toxin that could become fatal if consumed in too large of quantities, and you should never take cbd in an attempt to consume more alcohol.
cbd may also be harmful to your liver , meaning you should talk to your doctor if you consume alcohol regularly, as alcohol can also be damaging to the liver.
one last thing to mention: if you are looking into taking cbd for hangovers, or literally any other reason, make sure you are buying organic, third-party lab tested cbd oil. the cbd market is unregulated, and a lot of products may not contain their advertised amount of cbd. even worse, these products may contain harmful toxins that could actually cause headaches, when you’re trying to potentially get rid of yours. always make sure your cbd company can provide lab results from an independent source so that you can give your body what you intend to.