It's impossible to overstate the importance of cannabis as a life-saving medicine, useful in treating a host of serious ailments from epilepsy to Crohn's disease and cancer.
But it's also a panacea for an ailment that, while not life-threatening, certainly feels that way at the time: the dreaded booze hangover. Here are 5 ways cannabis helps you bounce back after a night of overindulgence.
Cannabis is a superlative anti-nausea medication, nixing dry-heaving stomach convulsions brought on by pounding back 8 straight bourbons the night before. The herb's analgesic and anti-emetic effects shouldn't come as any surprise: synthetic versions of THC have been used to combat nausea since the late 1980s. A 2011 British study found "considerable evidence [of] the anti-emetic effect of cannabinoids, shown across a wide variety of animals." Recently, animal experiments have found cannabinoids especially useful in treating the more difficult-to- control symptoms of nausea in chemo patients - which could mean it also beats Gravol when it comes to counteracting the effects of last night's revelry.
A hangover usually means a pounding headache that feels as though your head is trapped in a vice - a symptom cannabis has also been shown to combat. A study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy found consuming marijuana resulted in a significant reduction in the frequency of migraine headaches. "The researchers found that in migraine patients who used medical marijuana, the occurrence of migraines dropped from 10.4 to 4.6 percent a month, which is considered statistically and clinically significant," according to Tech Times. "They also discovered that inhaling marijuana appears to be the most ideal way to treat headaches because the effects occur sooner compared with using edibles."
Whether it's the horrible physical sensations you're experiencing, or dread regarding what you said and did the night before, many hungover people experience an overwhelming sense that their life is going down the tubes, making hiding in bed is the only option. Using cannabis to treat hangover-induced anxiety is a double-edged sword: as Leafly points out, "For some, a small puff of cannabis provides unrivaled relief of worry, panic, stress, and other anxiety-related symptoms. Unfortunately others experience heightened paranoia and exacerbated anxiety with marijuana [...]what many people don't realize is there are many strains now that have little to no THC. These low-THC, high-CBD strains are changing the game for anxiety sufferers, but that doesn't mean there aren't strains rich in THC that can't also help." For best results, try an indica like Granddaddy Purple, known for helping release stress and tension.
4. No appetite
If you're in the throes of a truly nuclear-grade hangover, the last thing you want is to attempt to eat anything other than dry crackers - unfortunate, since your poor, abused body could definitely use a re-up of nutrients. Here's where the munchies become a godsend. As Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of hematology-oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California tells Newsweek, "marijuana is the only anti-nausea medicine that increases appetite."
5. Can't sleep
Ever gasp awake at 6am after a heavy night of drinking, hungover as heck, but unable to go back to sleep? That's because your body jolts awake after it's finished processing the alcohol in your system. "As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from," explains Gizmodo's Robbie Gonzalez. As with anxiety, an indica strain is your friend when you want to get some shut-eye: try a tranquilizing Bubba Kush or Northern Lights, which will hopefully allow you to rest up and get on the road to recovery.