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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.
Can You Really Use CBD to Cure a Hangover?
You’ve likely tried dozens of different remedies after drinking too much the night before, all with varying success. Coffee, hair of the dog, a greasy breakfast.
But can CBD really work to cure a hangover? This wonder compound is promoted as a natural remedy for almost everything else these days, from healing body aches to relaxing your mind.
Here’s what you need to know before turning to cannabis after an evening of overindulging on Captain Morgan.
What Causes Hangovers?
When you drink alcohol, the liver can break down approximately 90-98% of it at the rate of ten grams (one standard drink) per hour. This process transforms the alcohol into a harmless blend of carbon dioxide and water that your system expels naturally.
Hangovers occur when you drink faster than your system can process it, so toxins like acetaldehyde start to build up in your system. You’ll begin to feel the effects of the hangover several hours after drinking as your blood alcohol level starts to go back down.
Everyone’s hangover symptoms differ, though common ones include fatigue, nausea and stomach pain, muscle aches, sensitivity to light and sound, sweating, painful thirst, and a pounding headache.
Most people start recovering from hangovers within a few hours of developing symptoms and will feel back to normal within a day. But in the meantime, you may find yourself practically bedridden and canceling the day’s plans until you feel like yourself again.
It’s hard to predict where your limit is for ending an evening unscathed. Some people develop hangovers after one drink, while others can take shots all night without any ill effects. Your genetics play a role in how sensitive you are to alcohol, as does whether you drink on an empty stomach, pair alcohol with other drugs, or whether you get enough sleep afterward to give your body time to process out the toxins.
There’s also evidence that you’re more likely to develop a hangover from drinking darker-colored spirits like brandy and bourbon. That’s because they contain a higher concentration of flavor compounds known as congeners that can increase the severity of your hangover.
Compounding things, alcohol is a diuretic. If you aren’t sipping water throughout the night, you’ll end up dealing with dehydration symptoms that can make even mild hangovers more punishing.
How Can CBD Help Hangovers?
Everyone swears by their own hangover cure, from taking electrolytes to eating fatty foods or even drinking more alcohol. CBD is starting to gain attention as a natural hangover remedy, and the evidence shows it could work better for you than conventional choices. Here’s what you need to know.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping you in a general state of equilibrium. It regulates body processes ranging from sleep to appetite and even your pain response, and drinking too much alcohol can throw it off.
CBD is the second-most common cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. This chemical compound interacts with the CB2 receptors within your endocannabinoid system. Unlike THC (the most common cannabinoid), CBD won’t get you high. Rather, it is used as a natural remedy for health problems like chronic pain, insomnia, and more.
Giving your body a dose of CBD can counteract alcohol’s effects in five key ways.
1. Reduces Effects of Headaches and Brain Fog
CBD may help you avoid the infamous post-binge drinking headache. As headache pain comes from inflammation, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help you get fast relief. Some people also find that CBD dries out their mouth and encourages them to drink more water. Symptoms of a hangover are exacerbated by dehydration, so any reminder to sip water will lessen your symptoms later.
Likewise, research shows that while alcohol leads to neurodegeneration, applying CBD to your skin may reduce this brain fog by up to 50%. Further studies reveal that the compound can also improve your concentration after drinking by interacting with the dopamine receptors that impact memory and focus.
2. Quells Nausea
CBD acts as an antiemetic, which means that it helps reduce the physical sensations of nausea and vomiting. Take some after a long night out, and you’re less likely to feel queasy the next day.
3. Prevents Anxiety and Depression
A night out drinking can increase your brain’s cortisol levels. CBD acts with your serotonin receptors to slow down your cortisol response and restore a feeling of emotional balance.
If you’re stressed during a hangover, CBD can relax your mind so you recover faster.
4. Fights Free Radical Damage
The body is in rough shape after an evening out, and it needs a serious nutrition boost. As CBD is a powerful antioxidant, it can help put vitamins back into your system and flush out toxins like acetaldehyde to reduce free radical damage from the alcohol.
5. Counteracts Fatigue
It’s natural to feel sluggish after heavy drinking. CBD may give you a boost of energy to get back on track. Cannabidiol interacts with your system on a cellular level to bring it back into equilibrium so that you start to recover and get back to baseline faster.
The Best Types of CBD Products for Hangovers
While CBD can help with hangovers, the way you take it will make a significant difference in how well it addresses your symptoms. The three best methods for taking CBD for hangovers include oils, nasal inhalers, and ingesting it through gummies or other edibles.
CBD oil can come in vials or as roll-ons for applying it directly to your skin. Roll-ons work well if you have localized pain in one part of your body, such as a sore lower back. You can administer the oil directly where you need it for targeted relief, but it might take a long time for the oil to absorb into your bloodstream to the point you notice the effects.
Consider CBD oils if: You want portable CBD treatments that can target specific parts of the body.
One of the most common ways to take CBD today is by ingesting it within gummies or other edible products. Some people take it as tinctures that they add to drinks or apply directly under their tongue. It usually takes 45 minutes or longer for the effects to kick in, but you’re likely to experience them for several hours after.
While these treats make medicating yourself feel like indulging in candy, they offer the lowest bioavailability of all CBD delivery forms. CBD is fat-soluble, which makes it challenging for your body to absorb. The bioavailability averages between 6-19%, which means that most of the CBD leaves your system as waste.
Consider CBD edibles if: you want a mild, long-lasting effect (and the idea of eating something doesn’t make you feel nauseous).
CBD Nasal Inhalers
Nasal inhalers offer one of the fastest ways to get cannabinoids into your system, as they can achieve maximum concentration of CBD in your blood within ten minutes or less.
Unlike vaping, which relies on heat, nasal inhalers use propellants to get the CBD into your system. This means there’s zero risk of harmful side effects like scorched lungs or other heat-induced irritation.
CBD nasal inhaler brands vary in quality and concentration. Many require you to purchase an inhaler separately to use the canisters. If you want an all-in-one system, the BoomBoom CBD nasal inhaler contains all-natural ingredients like a proprietary blend of organic peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and spearmint oil with organically-grown broad-spectrum CBD from Colorado.
These discrete inhalers give you a convenient way to use CBD on demand. You can pull one out whenever your hangover symptoms start to feel overwhelming and experience almost immediate relief without anyone knowing what you are doing.
Consider CBD nasal inhalers if: you want a portable, discrete way to administer CBD for quick results.
How to Determine the Right Dosage
The best way to get hangover relief through CBD is to make sure you take the correct dose. Fail to take in enough, and you may not notice any improvements in your symptoms. But, take too much, and you could exacerbate your hangover by triggering lethargy, irritability, and even headaches.
Now here’s the tricky part—everyone reacts differently to CBD. Five mg for one user might have the effect of 25mg for another. It’s best to track your personal usage so you get a sense of your most effective dose. If you’re new to CBD, seek out products with relatively low potency from brands that are transparent about precisely how much of the active ingredient comes in each dose. Err on the side of using too little at first and slowly increase your usage over time.
Will taking CBD after drinking alcohol prevent a hangover? Sadly, this compound (or anything else) isn’t likely to completely eliminate your hangover symptoms, no matter how much you take. The only way to avoid hangovers altogether is to not drink alcohol in the first place. The best strategy is drinking smart and treating yourself soon after. This means pacing yourself, staying hydrated, and avoiding drinking on an empty stomach.
If you follow these common-sense measures with CBD, then there’s a strong probability that you can avoid the worst hangover symptoms and recover faster so you can move forward with your day. That’s good news we all can drink to.