CBD is turning into everyone’s favorite acronym and for good reason. Both from an anecdotal standpoint and a scientific one, this cannabinoid appears to be helpful for quite a number of things, from anxiety to preventing cancer. Recently, it’s been touted as a hangover cure. But is this all hype or should we raise our glasses in a toast?
What is CBD, exactly?
Before we talk about what it can do, let’s discuss what it is. For those who aren’t completely clear on CBD versus THC, a quick refresher course…..
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It’s not psychoactive, which makes it different than THC (THC, on the other hand, is always ready to party). CBD won’t get you high unless it’s combined with THC (but, even then, the high is not coming from CBD).
CBD is derived from either marijuana or hemp, two plant members of the cannabis family that maintain very important discrepancies. Marijuana is high in THC and low in CBD. This has changed as the demand for CBD has grown and breeders have manipulated genetics to include it. Yet, from an innate standpoint, marijuana is not known for CBD.
Hemp, however, is. Hemp is naturally high in CBD and contains virtually no THC. By law, hemp can’t contain more than .03% THC or else it’s deemed illegal (on the national level).
Much of the CBD products available today come from hemp though you can also find them sourced from marijuana. When CBD is in the latter group, it’s federally illegal and can only be purchased in dispensaries inside states that have approved its sale. When CBD is derived from hemp, it’s completely legal and can be purchased anywhere and sold over the internet.
For this reason, all the CBD oil sold online comes from hemp. This doesn’t appear to make much of a difference from a medical standpoint (only a legal one).
What causes a hangover?
You could probably argue that the biggest cause of a hangover is going to college. However, the true causes of these pain-in-the-forehead occurrences are much more complex.
Hangovers come about from drinking alcohol (duh!) and, for some, they’re not tied to overindulgence: You can get a hangover from a single beer.
One of the biggest things contributing to hangovers is dehydration. Alcohol acts like a diuretic and increases how much you need to go to the bathroom, dehydrating you in the process. Alcohol can cause an immune response too; this results in a decrease in memory and concentration. It irritates the stomach as well, delaying emptying and increasing the odds of feeling nauseous.
It also causes blood sugar to plummet, which is why it makes you shaky. In cases of alcohol poisoning, some people may even seize. It causes blood vessels to expand, resulting in headaches (though dehydration also contributes to this) and it makes it harder to sleep soundly. You might pass out, but you’re unlikely to wake up well rested.
Even with the above, there are plenty of people who drink like a fish and feel completely fine the next morning (assholes!). Part of this has to do with genetics, as your genes can influence how you react to alcohol, your propensity for addiction, and whether or not it makes you flush or sweat.
Other factors include your choice in beverage, as darker alcohol is more likely to cause a hangover than clear liquid (See? There’s a reason you love vodka!). You’ll also set yourself up for a hangover if you drink on an empty stomach, combine alcohol with other drugs (including nicotine), get too little sleep after a night of imbibing, or if you engage in drinking games (as this makes it harder to track just how much you’ve consumed). Being sedentary while drinking can play a role too as many people find that they’re less prone to hangovers if they’re drinking while doing something active (like dancing or playing volleyball).
Can CBD cure a hangover?
In a perfect world, CBD would cure a hangover, giving the 1980s beer slogan, “This bud’s for you!” a whole new meaning. But, in reality, the jury’s still out.
For one thing, little research has gone into CBD’s ability to beat the brown bottle blues. There’s a good reason for this: Scientists are focused on whether or not CBD can treat cancer so hangovers appropriately take a backseat.
Still, there’s some, including a 2013 study that appears to show that CBD had positive effects on rats who partied a little too hardy. Yet we’re not sure if this will translate to people.
Of course, there are personal reports that appear to give some credence to the idea that CBD is the TLC for your OMG morning after. Some people swear by it as the magical elixir; others swear by hash browns or White Castle.
What we do know, and what has been proven, is that CBD helps reduce nausea and helps control pain, two things that hangovers are well known for. It can also reduce inflammation, another factor in that “I’ll never drink again” feeling. And it can help with anxiety, which is a prominent feature in those who fear they’ll never be able to smell beer without dry heaving.
All and all, CBD most likely can’t hurt. But the only way to know if it’ll cure your hangover is to try it yourself.