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Many of you will have been here before! After revelling in the frivolities of the previous night and having a few too many drinks, you wake up the next morning with a pounding headache, a dangerously fragile stomach and a foul mood to boot.
With New Year’s Eve upon us, no doubt many will be experiencing these symptoms and a few more the following day. Everyone has their own particular hangover cure that they swear by, including greasy breakfasts, sugar-riddled energy drinks or the old hair of the dog. However, there are alternatives!
While CBD is still in its nascency and requires far more research to be carried out, we can examine existing studies to ascertain ways in which CBD can help you to recover from your next hangover.
This article will highlight how hangovers come to take hold and exactly what symptoms CBD may be useful in combatting.
What causes hangovers?
While dehydration is oft quoted as the common reason for hangovers (and that cannot be denied), there are actually multiple ways in which your body reacts to excessive alcohol consumption.
Firstly, it is important to note that alcohol is a toxic compound. As a default response, your body will try to eliminate this harmful compound as quickly as possible. Hangovers will then occur when you consume alcohol at are faster rate than your body is able to process it and expel it.
Your recovery from a hangover is dependent on a plethora of individual differences, such as how much alcohol you consumed, how much food you ate, how much sleep you got and even genetics!
Most will recover in a matter of hours, but for some it can even take up to 24 hours until they’re feeling recovered.
What are the symptoms of a hangover?
As your blood alcohol level begins to slide back down towards normality, this is when the symptoms will kick in. The symptoms each person can experience during a hangover vary wildly, but the most common include:
- Light sensitivity
- Sound sensitivity
- Muscle aches
- Red eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Disturbed sleep
- Reduced cognitive functioning
- Lack of concentration
- Mood change
That’s quite the list! Let us now move forward and ascertain exactly how CBD can be used to combat a few of the symptoms mentioned above.
How can CBD help to combat hangover symptoms?
Firstly, it is important to note that the only way to truly avoid a hangover is to not drink alcohol in the first place! While CBD is not a cure for hangovers, it may be able to help address some of the symptoms below:
CBD can help nausea and vomiting
Vomiting and nausea are two incredibly common symptoms of a hangover and are your body’s way of protecting itself from toxic substances such as alcohol. The region of the brainstem responsible for controlling this is appropriately named the vomiting centre.
Furthermore, alcohol also increases production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which not only delays digestion but also exacerbates nausea and causes abdominal pain.
CBD is a powerful antiemetic and is commonly used to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients for example.
In a nutshell, CBD works against nausea and vomiting due to its interaction with serotonin receptors. These receptors (5HT-1A receptors) are activated by CBD, which blocks the sensation of nausea and urge to vomit.
Additionally, there are studies that suggest your endocannabinoid system is partly responsible for the regulation of nausea and vomiting. Consequently, CBD’s boosting effect on your endocannabinoid system will likely contribute to combatting these symptoms.
CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory
The body’s various inflammatory responses to excessive alcohol intake are responsible for a number of the hangover symptoms outlined in the section above.
The prime example of this would be headaches caused by alcohol consumption. Numerous CBD studies into inflammation highlight the powerful anti-inflammatory nature of the cannabinoid.
CBD can improve concentration
If you were unfortunate (or stupid!) enough to have one too many on a work night, then you will know the foggy feeling that accompanies the next day’s activities and how difficult it can be to focus.
There are studies that highlight the impact of CBD in improving concentration by interacting with the dopamine receptors in our brain that control both memory and focus.
More specific studies also exist in relation to CBD and its impact on combatting alcohol-related brain fog. For example, Liput et al (2013) found that CBD can combat alcohol-induced neurodegeneration and next day brain fog by up to 50%!
CBD can support the fight against dehydration
Alcohol causes your body to produce urine at a faster rate than usual. This is what is known as a diuretic.
While the rate of excretion is faster than that of your intake (that’s WATER not alcohol!) you will feel dehydrated very quickly – often in a matter of hours. This is the primary cause of the dry-mouthed dizziness often experienced the following day.
Whilst losing these fluids, we are also losing vital electrolytes such as magnesium and sodium, which often leads to symptoms such as headaches and brain fog.
While the optimal method for reducing such symptoms is to continue drinking water after every alcoholic drink, research has also suggested that dehydration can be exacerbated by an imbalance of the endocannabinoid system. As is well known, boosting your endocannabinoid system is one of the primary attributes of CBD.
CBD can help stabilise our mood
Symptoms of a hangover over come to light or are exacerbated when cortisol production is increased, also leading to heightened anxiety and stress. In fact, there is even a name for this – “hangxiety”.
CBD has terrific potential when it comes to stabilising moods and combatting stress and anxiety. Furthermore, it also has antidepressant effects.
Blessing et al’s 2015 study revealed CBD was actually more effective in treating generalised anxiety disorders than most anti-anxiety medications. The reason cited for this is CBD’s regulatory effect on our serotonin production, which controls our mood and feelings.
On another note, there is also research to suggest that CBD may prevent your body from secreting cortisol, which is a steroid hormone closely associated with stress.
CBD can regulate blood sugar levels
Alcohol has the potential to reduce blood sugar levels, which can lead to hypoglycemia – insufficient sugar in the blood for the current demands of the body. This can lead to fatigue, shakiness and irritability the following day.
This is also exacerbated by consuming high sugar food and drinks, such as beer, wine and cocktails. The reason being, that insulin is released by the pancreas as blood sugar levels rise in order to transfer sugar to cells that can convert it into usable energy.
Insulin will be released at a higher rate as we consume high sugar food and drink in order to remove the sugar from the bloodstream quicker. Once we stop consuming these sugars abruptly, this leads to a severe drop in blood sugar levels.
Typically this happens overnight, hence why the symptoms crop up the following day. Furthermore, these blood sugar issues are even more severe in chronic alcohol users, who can develop insulin sensitivities through prolonged abuse.
Initial research into the effects of cannabis on insulin resistance have shown promising signs. A 2013 study by Penner, Buettner and Mittleman reported that cannabis users had a 17% reduction in insulin resistance compared to the control group.
That said, CBD must be used long term in order to benefit from its protective effects on insulin resistance – it has little benefit in the short term.
Side Effects of CBD
There are a handful of side effects related to CBD, but these are typically very mild, low in prevalence and fleeting in nature. These symptoms can include:
- Dry Mouth
The side effects of CBD specifically when combined with alcohol are hard to ascertain due to a lack of useful research.
While a handful of studies note that CBD may decrease the side effects of alcohol, the evidence is inadequate.
The vast bulk of research into the relationship between CBD and alcohol have been investigating long term chronic abusers of alcohol, rather than occasional drinkers. More research is required that is catered towards the latter.
Best CBD products for hangovers
There are, of course, a seemingly constantly diversifying plethora of delivery methods on offer. It can be a mindboggling experience picking the right one for you. Ultimately, there is no right answer, and it is down to your own personal preference. Below, we will pick out a few of our favourites for blasting your hangover away.
CBD patches are a great option because you don’t have to swallow or consume anything via your mouth - the aforementioned nausea may well make that an uncomfortable experience!
Furthermore, our CBD patches also last for 24 hours and utilise a consistent, steady release system. Why not put on one of our patches before you next start drinking? It will provide a steady dose right through the night as you sleep to the following day – and you won’t even notice it’s there!
Again, like CBD patches, CBD capsules mean that you are avoiding any unwelcome strong tastes the following day.
Although they take a while for our body to process, CBD capsules also release CBD into our body at a slower rate than other delivery methods, meaning the effects are longer-lasting.
Try taking one of our own 30mg vegan CBD capsules before you go to sleep and one in the morning for the best effects.
CBD Vape Oil
While the two aforementioned delivery methods are great for gradual relief, some pesky hangovers can be far more pressing in the need to alleviate symptoms!
Step forward CBD vape oil! While CBD patches and CBD capsules take around an hour to take effect, CBD vape oil gets to work in minutes.
Why not combine either a capsule or CBD patch for overnight, longer term use and then combine this with our medically approved, highly effective CBD vape oil for instant relief?
Alternative hangover cures
As we now know, hangovers are a collection of interconnected symptoms that occur as a result of excessive alcohol intake. There is a great deal of overlap between the causes, so it can be difficult to nail down a definitive one. For example, both dehydration and magnesium deficiency can lead to headaches.
This is why CBD is a great option, as it is an incredibly versatile cannabinoid that benefits the body in myriad ways.
That said, there are always additional steps you can take in order to reduce the impact of a hangover.
Drink more water
Dehydration is by far and away the primary cause of a hangover – it is essential to keep drinking water as you drink alcohol. Try to take a drink of water between each alcoholic drink that you consume. You will be grateful the following day!
Ensure you get a good sleep
The majority of metabolic processes occur while we’re asleep. As a result, a good 8 hour night of sleep will ensure that you are limiting the damage the next day.
Eat high protein and complex carb-rich foods
This will help to battle against the fluctuation in blood sugar level that can lead to the shaky, irritable feeling often experienced the day after drinking.
Eating foods that are high in protein and rich in complex carbohydrates will help to safeguard you against this.
Take magnesium supplements
Did you know that magnesium is involved in over 300 different enzymatic processes in our body? Perhaps even more importantly in the interest of this article is that one of those processes is the metabolism of alcohol.
A lack of magnesium after a night of drinking will typically lead to headaches and brain fog the next day.
As mentioned throughout this article, CBD is a wonderfully versatile cannabinoid that can enhance the performance of our bodies in many different ways.
It can even provide relief from a number of hangover symptoms, but it should not be regarded as a cure per se.
Unfortunately, the only way to definitively avoid a hangover is by not drinking alcohol!
If you do happen to have one too many this New Year’s Eve, make sure you keep a bottle of water next to your bed – right next to the CBD!
Happy New Year – here’s to 2021!