Updated: Aug 3, 2019
We all know hangovers happen when we’ve had too many drinks. The end result being some combination of a headache, nausea and the inability to eat (sometimes accompanied by vomiting), a dry mouth and the dreaded “hangxiety”.
CBD provides a lot of relief for some of the most common issues you’ll experience while your body recovers. While drinking within your limits and in moderation is the best way to go, some days those two after work glasses of wine just hit differently and you need to be up and at it the morning after for a big meeting.
But, what causes a hangover?
To understand how CBD is a potential cure for the hangover that ails you, you have to understand what exactly a hangover is. The problem is that despite how common they are there is not a scientific consensus on the underlying cause of hangover symptoms. While the obvious correlation is the body purging itself of alcohol in the system, it is not as easy to find the physiological cause of hangover symptoms. Some factors include dehydration and chemical imbalances related to the metabolization of alcohol. This state can be characterized by rapid enzyme conversation and excess production of the chemical cytokine, which may result in the inflammation, headache, or nausea commonly associated with a hangover. Another culprit may be a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolization called acetaldehyde. However, these are not conditions that can be “cured” because these are vital processes that the body goes through in order to cleanse the system of foreign intoxicants.
Why does CBD work for hangovers?
CBD works with a system in your body that helps regulate things like pain, anxiety and nausea. Aka all the things that happen when you had too many drinks the night before. This is called the “endocannabinoid system” and basically, when you drink, this system gets thrown out of kilter - resulting in the sore head and upset stomach.
By adding more CBD back into your system, you help normalize it again. If you’re one of those people who gets the “stomach hangovers,” you’ll be pleased to know there’s even scientific evidence backing up its efficacy. Like when you drink water to help your body rehydrate, taking CBD helps replenish the cannabinoid receptors in your body.
Effects of CBD on the brain during a hangover
When you’re considering how to treat your hangover, it is important to understand that alcohol is essentially a poison and that your stomach and liver are working overtime to resolve the issue. With this in mind, it is surprising how much of a hangover is actually a product of the mind and how this mind-over-matter is working to make you feel awful. The worst stretches of a hangover are actually when the liver has finished its job and the rest of your body reacts to its hogging the enzymes used to combat the alcohol poisoning. It is surprising that the physical discomfort this causes can often be outpaced by the psychological distress. The calming feeling that CBD provides can take the edge off this distress even as its anti-inflammatory properties treat some of the issues that are causing the distress in the first place. For those who may be worried that they are trading one intoxicant for another, in reality, it isn’t a feeling of being intoxicated as much as the amount of pleasure you might experience taking a warm bath. Unlike THC or other cannabinoids, it does not affect neuroreceptors associated with memory or cognition and therefore does not induce a mind-altering state. It does, however, function as an analgesic and inhibits the movement of receptors that are associated with pain, discomfort, anxiety, and distress.
How to use CBD to treat your hangover
Taking CBD oil for a hangover may be a little confusing if you have never used it before. One note of caution that most practitioners recommend is that you do not take the dose directly before you start drinking alcohol. It has been known to suppress the effects of alcohol, which may sound like a good thing but may, in fact, induce you to drink more than you normally would and in fact make your hangover even more intense the next morning. It is more advisable to take it when you are finished drinking or about to go to bed. This will give the oil time to be absorbed into your body and be ready to combat the symptoms by the time you wake up. If you are regularly taking doses for another condition, this may be something to keep in mind when you are planning your evening and adjust your dosing schedule accordingly. CBD oils may also be taken mixed with non-alcoholic beverages in the morning to add a double-dose of treatment and much-needed hydration. Cold-brewed coffees and teas infused with CBD are popular for this purpose and may be refreshing as well as providing a new flavor profile to wash that cottony taste out of your mouth. If you are able to summon an appetite, there may be some CBD edibles that would make for a good breakfast. A CBD cookie, muffin, or other baked goods may be useful if you are experiencing low blood sugar in addition to your other hangover symptoms. If you are experiencing morning nausea, however, it may be better to hold this off until lunchtime.
CBD’s long-term health benefits may lead to lighter hangovers
If you use CBD oil as a supplement for a long period of time, it could have many health benefits that may be useful in combating hangovers on the occasions when you do experience them. CBD oils help to build your constitution by easing the dilation of blood vessels, improving the body’s ability to regulate blood circulation and reduce symptoms such as headaches and fatigue that are associated with poor circulation. It also builds up your body’s immunity to toxins including alcohol and permits you to drink moderately without experiencing acute intoxication. These oils are naturally good for digestion and may help the body to move alcohol through the system more efficiently so that the circulatory and endocrine systems are not so heavily taxed in purging the toxins that are associated with hangover symptoms. Antibacterial properties of the CBD oil may also combat certain types of stomach bacteria that make nausea and vomiting worse when the body is fighting off a hangover. These long term effects may be so subtle that you don’t even notice them, but the best hangover is the one that you don’t notice.
While it is clear that more studies need to be done into the effects of CBD oils on those who are suffering from a hangover, for those that are in the throes of a really bad one this alternative treatment could be just what they are looking for. What can be said for sure is that it is a healthier alternative to eating a big greasy breakfast or doing another shot the morning after, both of which have the possibility of prolonging symptoms even as they damage your health. The success of CBD in the treatment of inflammation, anxiety, and depression all speak to its efficacy in making a patient feel better even as more serious physical and mental afflictions are being experienced. So the next time you are dreading getting out of bed after a big party, consider the potential treatment that CBD oil provides.