Today you’re going to learn whether CBD or CBD products can cause or help with hangovers.
Generally, CBD doesn’t cause hangovers.
But in some cases, it’s possible to feel groggy or dazed the morning after taking CBD products when:
- You take very high doses of CBD, or;
- You ingest more than 10mg THC, knowingly or unknowingly.
The CBD to THC ratio of your product also has an important role here, because the higher this ratio, the more THC you can ingest without experiencing any hangover.
You’ll also learn how to calculate how much THC you’re ingesting with every dose you take from your CBD product.
On the other side, you'll also learn whether CBD can help with alcohol and weed hangovers.
Let’s get started.
Table of contents:
Why CBD Generally Doesn’t Cause Hangovers
To understand why CBD doesn’t really cause hangovers, we have to first understand what causes hangovers in general.
When thinking about hangovers, most people think about alcohol-related hangovers. But weed hangovers and other types of hangovers do exist as well, for example.
The thing that makes a substance cause hangover is related to one or more compounds that interfere with the regular functioning of one or more physiological processes in your body.
When it comes to alcoholic drinks, hangover symptoms are mainly associated with ethanol. Ethanol has a potent dehydrating effect on your body. But ethanol also is thought to cause hormonal alterations, dysregulated cytokine pathways, and other toxic effects (1).
When it comes to cannabis, what causes the hangover is the THC. THC has been associated with cognitive impairment (2). One study has found that the following effects of THC can linger 12 to 24 hours after last use (3):
- Impaired attention;
- Impaired performance on psychomotor tasks, and;
- Impaired short-term memory.
It’s unclear whether these impairing effects are caused by the actual effects of THC or whether it’s caused by a secondary toxic effect on the central nervous system.
In any case, if you use THC, you can still feel its negative side effects (like cognitive impairment) the next morning.
What’s the common denominator with these substances?
From certain dose sizes, one or more compounds inside these substances cause negative effects that can continue until the next day.
CBD has been found to be safe and nontoxic with doses up to 1500mg. CBD has no negative effects on the brain.
Multiple studies have looked at whether CBD is associated with any cognition-impairing effects. So far, none of these studies have found that CBD is associated with cognition-impairing effects (4, 5, 6). In fact, multiple studies have found that CBD can improve the cognitive-impairing effects associated with neurodegenerative diseases or THC use (7, 8).
Although both cannabinoids, CBD and THC have very different effects on your physiology.
Since CBD is non-toxic in doses up to 1500mg, and the average dose of CBD hovers between 20mg and 100mg, and CBD isn’t associated with any cognitively-impairing effects, CBD as a standalone can’t really cause a hangover.
But here’s the kicker:
A few common side effects of CBD taken in high doses are fatigue, sleepiness, and drowsiness.
While these side effects can help you sleep better and longer, they can also make you feel a bit groggy the next day if you took a very high dose of CBD just before going to sleep.
Although it may feel like one, this won’t really be a hangover, however; it will be a side effect of waking up while being in a deep sleep cycle. Deep sleep is very healthy and essential even, but an alarm clock waking you up while you’re in a deep sleep cycle will make you feel a bit dazed.
Now that you understand that it’s highly unlikely to experience hangovers when using pure CBD, let’s see why you can actually experience hangovers when taking CBD products.
Why CBD Products Can Cause Hangovers
To understand this, first, you have to understand the different types of CBD products.
When it comes to extract-types, CBD products can generally be divided into three categories:
- Full-spectrum CBD products;
- Broad-spectrum CBD products;
- CBD isolate products.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, but also a wide variety of other cannabinoids, including (legal) amounts of THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, plus some other cannabinoids, but are always free from THC.
CBD isolate products only contain CBD.
Why does this matter?
Full-spectrum CBD products contain THC, albeit in small concentrations (less than or equal to 0.3%).
But you just learned that THC can cause hangovers.
The question is are these small concentrations of THC inside CBD products enough to cause a hangover?
The complete answer, however, is a bit more nuanced.
Various studies and tests by regulatory agencies like the FDA have found that a large portion of CBD products is mislabeled (9, 10). Some of this mislabeling includes significantly higher concentrations of THC than advertised.
If you would take such a high-THC mislabeled CBD product, there’s a chance you will experience a hangover because you ingested so much THC.
Another important point is that CBD products come in different strengths and that can influence how much THC you ingest in total.
Let me explain.
Let’s compare two full-spectrum CBD oils: CBD oil A and CBD oil B.
CBD oil A has a CBD-percentage of 6% and a THC percentage of 0.3%, the ratio of CBD to THC is 20:1.
CBD oil B has a CBD-percentage of 1% and a THC-percentage of 0.3%, the ratio of CBD to THC is 3:1.
With both products, you want to ingest a dose that equals 100mg CBD.
A dose of 100mg CBD with CBD oil A will make you ingest 5mg of THC, which shouldn’t be high enough to cause any hangover.
A dose of 100mg CBD with CBD oil B will make you ingest 30mg of THC. That’s 6-times more THC than with CBD oil A. 30mg THC ingested will have a high likelihood of causing a hangover the next day.
Therefore, if you don’t want a CBD product to cause a hangover, you have to know the CBD to THC ratio of your product, and adjust your dose accordingly. There’s no real minimum agreed-upon dose at which THC may cause a hangover.
Also, CBD counteracts a lot of the negative side effects of THC. This means you can ingest relatively more THC, the more CBD you take.
That being said, our experience has been that THC can start causing psychoactive effects and hangovers from 10mg in a product that has a CBD to THC ratio of 10:1 or lower.
Therefore, if you don’t want to experience psychoactive effects or hangovers when taking CBD products, you have to take the following into account:
- Only buy products from brands that regularly publicize third-party lab-test reports that clearly show THC-levels of the product, and;
- Make sure you know the CBD to THC ratio of the product and know exactly how much THC you’re ingesting with a single dose of CBD. Your total THC ingested must stay below 10mg.
Keep in mind that any THC-containing CBD product taken over longer periods of time can cause you to fail a drug test.
Can CBD Help with Alcohol Hangovers?
There’s some preliminary evidence that suggests CBD can help counteract some of the toxic effects caused by alcohol.
One study found that CBD can reduce alcohol blood levels, without reducing the pharmacological effects of alcohol (11). The more alcohol is in your blood the higher the likelihood of you experiencing a hangover. Therefore, if CBD reduces alcohol blood levels, CBD may be able to reduce the severity of your hangover. This is pure speculation, however. It’s unclear currently whether this is truly the case, and if so, how much CBD would be needed for this effect.
A different review study found that CBD can attenuate alcohol consumption and potentially protect against certain harmful effects of alcohol, such as liver and brain damage (12). Whether these protective effects may result in a less severe hangover is currently unknown.
One secondary effect associated with alcohol hangovers is nausea.
Since I or any of our other reviewers don’t use alcohol, we can’t give you anecdotal reports on whether CBD may be able to help with your hangover.
Can CBD Help with Cannabis Hangovers?
Dozens of studies showed that CBD can counteract some of the negative side effects associated with THC.
One 2010 study found that pretreatment with CBD could block the psychotic symptoms induced by THC (15). What’s more, the study found that CBD had opposite effects to THC in certain brain areas during verbal recall, during the response inhibition task, when subjects viewed fearful faces, when subjects listened to speech, and during visual processing.
A different 2010 study found that CBD can protect against THC-induced memory impairment (16).
A more recent 2018 study found that CBD has a restorative effect on the subicular and right cornu ammonis subfields in cannabis users (17). This was especially true in those cannabis users with greater lifetime exposure to cannabis. These findings suggest that CBD can normalize irregularities in brain areas caused by chronic THC use.
There’s currently no scientific evidence that CBD can help with ‘cannabis hangovers’. Keep in mind there’s no such term as ‘cannabis hangover’ in cannabis-related research.
We have some anecdotal evidence that CBD will help with cannabis hangovers.
Based on our experience, reviewing hundreds of CBD products and vaping cannabis regularly, we can say with certainty that CBD will reduce any THC-induced cognitive impairment the next day.
Years ago, one reason why I stopped vaping cannabis before bedtime was because I felt much less clear-headed the next morning. If I combine my cannabis vaping with CBD oil, I feel perfectly clear-headed the next morning, as if I didn’t vape any cannabis the evening before.
This experience is consistent amongst all of our reviewers.
CBD can’t really cause hangovers. But the THC inside CBD products can cause hangovers.
Therefore, you have to make sure how much THC you’re exactly ingesting and stay below 10mg of total ingested THC.
CBD may be helpful in reducing the symptoms of an alcohol-induced-hangover, and will definitely be helpful in reducing the symptoms of a cannabis-induced hangover.
Go to our CBD Hub to learn more about CBD-related topics.
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