Looking for a new hangover remedy that’s effective, quick, and no B.S.? Read on to learn more about using CBD as a hangover cure!
Using CBD after a night of drinking is a great way to curb those unpleasant hangover symptoms, since it relieves nausea, suppresses pain, and boosts mood. However, it is not a complete cure-all, so it’s still important to remain hydrated, and to take care of yourself the night before.
In this article, we’ll break down exactly what CBD can address during a hangover, what it can’t, and how the science of it all works.
The science behind CBD and hangovers
To understand how CBD works to help with hangover symptoms, we have to understand some of the root causes behind the many unpleasant sensations of the morning after a night of drinking.
Hangovers don’t have one single cause as far as scientists are concerned. Instead, hangovers are caused by a cluster of effects that alcohol can have on your body over time. Some of the major causes of hangover symptoms include:
- Alcohol irritates your stomach, causing nausea and stomach issues.
- Alcohol drops your blood sugar, contributing to general feelings of weakness.
- Alcohol is a vasodilator, which can contribute to migraines and headaches the morning after.
- Alcohol disrupts sleep, causing you to feel poorly rested the next day.
- Alcohol triggers your immune system, further creating symptoms of grogginess, fogginess, and confusion.
- Alcohol is addictive and toxic, and some symptoms of hangovers are currently thought to be the result of alcohol withdrawal, or the leftover effects of toxins in your body. This can mean experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression, jitteriness, and other negative mood changes.
Knowing that hangovers have multiple core causes may make them seem even more daunting and frustrating to resolve, and may explain why there are so many completely different folk remedies for them. You might have heard from friends, family, the Internet, etc. that you need to take a shot the morning after (colloquially known as “hair of the dog”), eat loads of greasy food, eat loads of healthy food, chug some pedialyte, chug pickle juice, or just throw in the towel, puke, and crawl back in bed. You might also find out that doing any one of these on their own is going to be ineffective, even if the remedy itself isn’t totally bogus (looking at you, raw egg shots).
Thankfully, studies on CBD have shown that it is an incredibly effective and multi-faceted solution to your hangover woes. When people do end up finding relief from their hangover at home, it’s usually because they went for multiple solutions at once. It makes sense, then, that CBD would be able to address a lot of different symptoms, too — it’s been demonstrated to be a pretty versatile cure for a variety of non-hangover ailments, from anxiety to acne to epilepsy to psychosis to nausea.
This is thanks to the many benefits of CBD’s interactions with the endocannabinoid system, as well as its ubiquity across the body in regulating vital processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, inflammation and its management, stress and how our bodies deal with it, and pain. The endocannabinoid system is a fundamentally homeostatic system, meaning that it keeps almost everything in your body in check.
How CBD cures hangovers
- CBD can help to quell nausea
One of CBD’s major claims-to-fame is its effectiveness as an antiemetic and an antinausea supplement, which has been indicated by its use alongside THC for millennia as a treatment for nausea and vomiting.
While many treatments exist to limit vomiting itself, there are a limited number of effective treatments for nausea, which makes research into CBD and THC as antinausea supplements especially important. In fact, cannabinoids are considered incredibly important for research into limiting the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy and other medications that can cause nausea.
CBD has also been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect of reducing vomiting when tested in animal models such as common house shrews, especially for nausea that has been induced by toxins. This is great news when it comes to the potential benefits of CBD for alcohol-induced nausea, as the nausea is caused by the body processing toxins from the alcohol.
Some studies seem to indicate, however, that CBD works best in combination with other cannabinoids — namely THC, which has been demonstrated to be an incredibly effective nausea treatment, and which has actually been the chemical base for some synthetic THC antinausea and antiemetic drugs such as nabilone and dronabinol.
If you’re looking to ease your nausea and vomiting after a night of hard drinking, opt for a CBD oil or supplement that is full-spectrum in order to get the best benefits. It might save you a few trips to the bathroom in the morning.
- CBD eases the inflammation that might be making your head pound (and your body ache)
CBD is also well-known for being an anti-inflammatory agent. While inflammation isn’t the only thing that may be contributing to headaches, it certainly does not help, and can further amplify pain. Luckily, CBD may be just what you need to address your inflammation.
Inflammation is caused by an immune response in your body, where your body’s natural defense system goes to attack a pathogen, infection, or toxin in your body — in this case, alcohol. While inflammation is ultimately the result of a beneficial process, it is still a major cause of pain in the body. Fortunately, CBD is an immune-modulating compound, which means that it helps to regulate your immune system’s response, and consequently significantly lower levels of inflammation in the body.
Furthermore, CBD is thought to help maintain higher levels of naturally pain-relieving hormones, like anandamide, in your bloodstream. This can create a significant boost in your body’s ability to handle pain.
A headache when you wake up can be one of the first signs that your hangover is severe, and it can be one of the most debilitating symptoms the morning after. Not to worry: take a CBD product of your choice, whether it be oils, smokable flower, a softgel, or an edible, down some water to make sure your body’s hydration levels aren’t making it any worse, and just sit back until you feel better. CBD can help you to feel better quickly and easily, especially when taken alongside other proven hangover remedies.
- CBD can reduce the day-after anxiety and depression
While “hangxiety” may just sound like a cute buzzword, its effects are unfortunately very real. Many people feel depressed, anxious, guilty, or shameful the night after drinking. This can be for a variety of reasons, such remembering something embarrassing or regretful you did while drunk, because you’re feeling crummy, or because your blood sugar is low and your emotions are unstable. Some experts even point to the idea that this could be the result of your body withdrawing from the “depressive” effects of alcohol, with your jittery side jumping right back into action.
Regardless of the cause, CBD might be able to help. CBD has been shown to have a beneficial impact on mood when taken to address anxiety and depression, and it can cause a small euphoric boost in users. It can ease the jitters, soothe your woes, and make you stop obsessing over if you said something embarrassing at the bar (or at least make you feel a little less bad about it).
- CBD is an antioxidant, which means it can help to reduce stress on your body caused by alcohol
Every day, your body undergoes natural processes in order to create, consume, and transform materials for use within the body. Many of these processes create particles known as free radicals, which are safe in low volumes but quickly become harmful when there are too many. Because drinking alcohol requires a lot of processing by your liver, your body creates too many free radicals, causing you to feel physically bad, and also causing small but lasting harm to some of your cells.
In order to limit the number of free radicals in your body, you need antioxidants. You can get these through your diet and in your environment around you, and they keep free radical numbers in check. CBD happens to be a powerful antioxidant, which means it can prevent free radicals from doing damage and help you feel better much faster.
- Hangovers have a variety of causes, including inflammation from the alcohol, a drop in blood sugar after drinking, withdrawal from alcohol, leftover toxins, lowered blood pressure, stomach irritation, disrupted sleep, and triggered immune responses.
- CBD is able to address many of these issues because of its beneficial interactions with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a vital cell-signaling structure that has an effect on almost every single process in your body.
- CBD is effective as treating nausea and vomiting both alone and when taken in combination with THC or other cannabinoids.
- CBD is good at regulating inflammation in the body, making it very effective at treating headaches and general bodily pain that might be affecting you during a hangover.
- CBD can give you a mood boost, which can be very effective in treating the anxiety, guilt, or sadness that many people feel the morning after drinking.
- CBD is an antioxidant, which means that it can limit the number of free radicals in your body, mitigating damage caused by alcohol.
Can CBD alone get rid of a hangover?
While CBD can help with a ton of hangover symptoms, it can’t completely get rid of all of them, and you may still be left with lingering symptoms even after taking the right dosage and waiting it out. Here’s a few things that taking CBD just can’t fix on its own:
CBD doesn’t really have any effect at all on your body’s hydration, at least as far as we know. Some CBD users may believe that CBD actually dries them out, or anecdotally cite feeling a bit dehydrated after using CBD, but it doesn’t do that either. It may, however, cause dry mouth symptoms if you’re not hydrated enough — which can either be a nuisance when you already feel lousy enough or a friendly reminder to drink up, depending on how you see it.
Solution: Drink water and get your electrolytes back
It’s a common drinking mantra, but hydrating your body is vital before and after drinking alcohol! You lose a ton of liquid through the frequent urination that drinking causes, in addition to losing electrolytes, which also help with hydration in addition to many other vital functions. Consider drinking something like coconut water, Gatorade, or Pedialyte in order to get your electrolytes back.
- Low blood sugar
While your endocannabinoid system helps regulate metabolic functions, appetite, and other things that are connected with your food intake, it doesn’t seem to have much of a direct or immediate effect on your blood sugar — it’s just an oil, after all. Low blood sugar can make you feel faint, shaky, fatigued, and cranky/anxious/sad/irritable, which is certainly not a fun combo when you’re already on a rollercoaster of alcohol withdrawal.
Solution: Eat something with carbs, protein, and healthy fats
The fastest method for raising your blood sugar is eating something with sugars in it for your body to break down, but don’t reach for that candy bar just yet — this can also be a foolproof method for creating blood sugar peaks and valleys, since simple sugars will just cause a crash later on in the day. Instead, you should opt for a good breakfast or lunch with all three macronutrients. Consider trying something like a bacon-egg-and-cheese, or even a healthy smoothie with a wide variety of vegetables.
- Vasodilation, or low blood pressure
Unfortunately, this is one big place where CBD does not shine: while alcohol is a vasodilator, which can contribute to headaches alongside the inflammation you’ll be feeling in your body, CBD is also a vasodilator, which means that it may also lower blood pressure. While CBD might help with the inflammation causing the headache, your blood pressure might still be low.
Solution: Drink caffeine (in very mild amounts)
Caffeine, on the other hand, is a vasoconstrictor, which means that blood vessels get tightened, raising blood pressure. You may be able to mitigate some of the negative effects of a hangover headache by taking small amounts of caffeine, such as through a migraine medication with caffeine in it, a small soda, or in coffee (if you’re already a coffee drinker, of course — otherwise, you may be risking a stomachache).
- No precautions taken the night before
While CBD can help with a lot of hangover symptoms, it ultimately is not a cure-all, and a lot of the work involved in limiting how badly a hangover hits you is actually done the night before, either before, while, or shortly after you’ve been drinking. While a combination of CBD, ibuprofen, and water can all help you immensely, one of the best ways to help yourself feel better is to take care of yourself early on in the game.
Solution: Take care of yourself before the hangover
Always remember to do your due diligence and try to take care of yourself while drinking. Alternate your alcoholic beverages with hydrating drinks of water, coconut water, or Gatorade. Avoid drinking super dark drinks like whiskey or rum, and try to opt for a clear alcohol or an alcohol with a low ABV. Avoid sugary drinks and foods while drinking, too. All of these steps can help you avoid getting such a horrible hangover in the first place, without taking away too much of the fun.
Taking some of these precautions in combination with CBD might be able to mostly or completely rid you of those crummy post-drinking feelings. If not, the oldest remedy in the book will have to take over — some good-old-fashioned closing the blinds, pulling up the covers, and waiting it out.
- CBD can help with a variety of hangover symptoms, but it’s not a cure-all. It may not be able to treat symptoms like dehydration, low blood sugar, and low blood pressure the morning after. Thankfully, however, there are ways to fix this.
- If you’re dehydrated, make sure you drink water, or another hydrating drink. Ideally, try consuming an electrolytic beverage that will help you replenish nutrients and feel better faster.
- If your blood sugar is low, make sure to eat something that is healthy and well-balanced to bring your body back to normal without risking a crash.
- If your blood pressure is low, consider drinking something that is lightly caffeinated to get it back to normal.
- Always make sure to take care of yourself, both before and after drinking.
Current research on CBD for hangovers
Currently, there is not much specific and pointed research on CBD’s effect on treating hangovers — hangovers and their subjective horribleness are, pretty understandably, not huge topics for research in the medical community, especially when it comes to a compound that’s only come on the market quite recently, like CBD. However, there is individual research on CBD’s general benefits to the body, for which the findings can be extrapolated out to be applied to hangovers. Additionally, there is research on the effects of CBD for treating alcohol addiction, as well as its effects on long-term toxicity in the body.
In one 2019 study, CBD was demonstrated to be very effective in reducing toxic effects on the liver, body, and brain when used to treat alcohol use disorder, in addition to helping animal models to kick their addictions. In this study, CBD protected the brain cells of the body with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics, preventing neuron loss after heavy drinking. Additionally, CBD was shown to protect the liver by reducing inflammation, destroying damaged cells, and by also reducing oxidation. While this study only studied effects on behavior, brain, and the liver, it’s very promising that CBD seems to have helpful preventative characteristics in two parts of the body that are greatly impacted by alcohol use. It doesn’t necessarily point to subjective relief in the short-term for individuals using it when hungover, but it does show that there are mechanisms that could help with hangovers.
A similar study demonstrates that CBD was also able to protect neuron function from damage due to alcohol abuse when delivered transdermally. Again, this does not necessarily point to it being a hangover cure-all; however, it does point to it being able to treat parts of our body for damage from alcohol use. This 2005 study also demonstrated similar findings when examining alcohol use in rats.
Research into the applications of CBD often have far wider-reaching and more noble topics of study than alleviating pain after a night of drinking, which means that there are functionally no studies regarding the benefits of CBD for treating a hangover. However, that doesn’t mean that the benefits of CBD are not scientifically demonstrated to some degree, and especially the benefits of CBD in the face of damage from alcohol; it’s worth remembering, too, that hangovers are (mostly) just our bodies processing the damage left behind from alcohol without all of the feel-good chemicals of intoxication to mask the pain.
Additionally, CBD and alcohol were administered concurrently in some of these studies, while hangover treatments happen after the fact. Some of these findings may point to the idea that CBD is a good preventative supplement, but not so great at actually treating damage after the fact.
- Research on CBD’s benefits for hangover sufferers isn’t really extensive. However, it’s possible to make some assumptions based on the research that does exist, which points to CBD being a helpful compound in protecting our bodies from alcohol-based damage.
- Several studies indicate that CBD can protect the liver and brain from alcohol-based damage.
- These studies point to potential mechanisms for treating hangovers, but don’t really provide definitive evidence in themselves.
How to use CBD for hangover nausea
Using CBD to treat hangover nausea is a great choice, especially given the fact that it has been used in the same role in clinical studies. If you’re reaching for CBD after a night out, however, there are a few things to know in order to have the best experience you can:
Choosing the best CBD for hangover nausea
When looking for CBD for hangover nausea, not every product is the same. It’s important to keep in mind the role that CBD and THC play together in regulating vomiting and nausea in response to toxicity, and while CBD is good at it, THC is even better. For this reason, it may be important to choose a CBD product that is full-spectrum, so you can get all of the goodness from THC, other cannabinoids, and the various terpenes found in CBD oil.
Additionally, since you’re treating nausea, it may be important to pick a product that does not have a strong or offensive taste or smell. You may want to stick with an unflavored oil or softgel, or potentially opt for a mild, herby flavor (think things you might drink in a tea while sick!). Avoid bombastic flavors of CBD if you’re sensitive to taste, like crazy synthetic fruits, foods, or strong smells.
Delivery method for hangover nausea
If you’re using CBD in order to quell nausea and vomiting, you’re probably looking for something fast-acting. For this, you might want to opt for sublingual absorption, in which you place CBD oil under your tongue and hold it there for a minute. It works quickly, but it may be slightly inconvenient.
However, if you just want to eat, get back into bed, and not have to work about medications and timing, you may want to take a CBD edible or softgel. These may take a little longer to work since they have to be processed and metabolized through the gut, but they will get the job done just as well.
Smoking and vaping can also be a great method of delivering CBD to your system, since it begins working very quickly after administration and is highly potent. Consider using a vaporizer or, better yet, smokable hemp flower in order to ease your nausea with little downtime. However, avoid smoking or vaping if you are finding yourself especially sensitive to smells the morning after, since some vapes can have strong artificial scents.
- Try to choose full-spectrum CBD, since CBD is less effective at treating nausea than THC.
- Avoid strong scents and tastes in your CBD product if you’re nauseous, since you may be more sensitive to smells and tastes while hungover.
- Choose a delivery method that works for you. Opt for sublingual if you’re in a hurry to feel better, or opt for an edible or softgel if you want convenience.
- Avoid smoking or vaping while nauseated if sensitive to taste and smell.
Takeaway: Is CBD Good for Hangovers?
The short answer is, yes, CBD treats many of the symptoms commonly associated with hangovers. While there isn’t much science testing CBD specifically for hangovers, we know that it treats certain things like inflammation, nausea, and anxiety, which can take the edge off your hangover. CBD is able treat many of the unpleasant symptoms of hangover, since it has a wide variety of complicated interactions with your endocannabinoid system, including reducing inflammation and fighting mood issues.
However, just like any hangover cure, CBD is best used in conjunction with other methods, so just because you’re taking CBD, don’t forget to also hydrate and get something in your stomach. Additionally, THC is also quite effective for treating hangovers, so opt for full-spectrum CBD products to guarantee the best results. This is especially true if you’re suffering from hangover-related nausea, as the two cannabinoids have been demonstrated to work best in conjunction with one another.
If you’d like some CBD to treat your hangover, check out our directory where we’ve compiled all the greatest brands in the CBD world right now. You can access it for free here.