Why Does My Head Hurt When I Smoke Weed?
March 6, 2019

Why Does My Head Hurt When I Smoke Weed?

Isn't weed supposed to get RID of headaches?
Nicole Richter Nicole Richter / Updated on March 6, 2019

headache after smoking weed

We’ve likely all heard of some of the side effects that are possible when we smoke weed, but what is less talked about are the “milder” symptoms that can occur from periodic consumption of our favorite plant.

While there is little out-and-out evidence currently available on the matter, many cannabis users out there have reported getting headaches after smoking weed. But is it possible for the two to be connected?

In this article, we are going to take a look at the facts in order to try and answer the question, can cannabis cause headaches or are other factors at play? Here is all you need to know!

The Weed Hangover

Weed lovers will know what we are talking about here! If you have ever been guilty of smoking a little more than you should have, you will probably understand exactly what we mean by the term ‘weed hangover.’ For those who are less in the know, however, let us explain.

Most of us have been there; a quiet night in with a few drinks has turned into an over-indulgent party full of fun, pot, and far too much alcohol. You wake up the next day feeling like death rolled over, with a terrible headache after smoking weed, and an intense nausea that’s just about more than you can stand. Sound familiar? Well, there are many cannabis users out there that claim marijuana can do the same thing!

While not scientifically proven, many weed enthusiasts have reported that they experience many of the telltale symptoms of a hangover the day after a heavy smoking session. Along with fatigue, dry eyes, brain fog, and nausea, another common side effect is the severe headache that we experience after a heavy night.

weed headache

We now know from years of research that cannabis is a non-toxic, natural plant. Unlike alcohol, which can be extremely dangerous (and even lethal in high doses), there has never been a reported case of overdose or death by consuming cannabis.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that these infamous weed hangovers are no match for the well-known hangover we get from drinking too much alcohol. The symptoms of a weed hangover are often so diluted in comparison that they are easy to overlook.

So, is it possible that weed DOES, in fact, cause a headache? Can you get a headache after weed?

The Myth Behind Cannabis and Dehydration

weed headache

A quick Internet search into cannabis and headaches will bring up a long list of claims from cannabis users and those who disagree with the bud, stating it is a dehydrating substance.

It is indeed a well-known fact that one of the critical causes of headaches is dehydration. Along with a variety of harmful side effects, you can expect a whopping headache if you neglect to drink water.

While science has not disproved the claims that cannabis dehydrates the body, neither is there a single scientific study that supports such a claim. Many people attribute dry mouth, or ‘cotton mouth’ to dehydration, however this is not true. Studies have shown that actually, it is all to do with saliva and the way that cannabis interacts with the body – namely the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

So with the dehydration myth busted, what else is there to explore when it comes to marijuana and headaches, also known as a weed headache?

The Facts About Cannabis and Headaches

headache after weed

Among the misinformed claims that cannabis can bring about a killer headache, are the many studies done on marijuana as an effective treatment for headaches and migraines.

A study published as recently as 2016 showed that across 121 adult migraine sufferers, almost 40% reported positive effects from marijuana use. Here are some of the published statistics:

  • The average number of migraines reduced from 10.4 per month to 4.6
  • Approximately 85% of the participants reported having fewer migraines per month using weed.
  • Only 12% of the 12 participants stated they saw no change in the frequency of their migraines.

In an even more recent study published in 2017, researchers claimed that cannabinoids are just as suitable to treating migraines as prophylaxis, along with other potentially addictive and harmful pharmaceuticals.

What Can You Do To Combat A Headache Caused By Weed?

While there is no evidence for the argument that cannabis itself brings about headaches, it is possible that other factors related to smoking weed can contribute. Whether you are out in the sunshine enjoying a few smokes with your friends or having a heavy smoking session inside, there are a few aspects to consider if you suffer from these headaches.

headache after smoking weed

If you are going to be smoking outside enjoying the summer, remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after smoking. While there may not be evidence of cannabis causing headaches, there is plenty of scientific backup for the sun causing dehydration, which we know brings on headaches. Keeping on top of your fluid intake and giving yourself breaks in the shade should help combat those pesky brain pains.

The same rule is applicable if you are getting high indoors, as it can be so easy to forget to drink! It might sound stupid, but if you are enjoying your smoke, the last thing on your mind is likely to stay hydrated! Keeping water or fruit juice next to you will serve as a visual reminder for those occasions where you are too stoned to care!

There are of course a few other tips and trick, such as avoiding salty foods (but this may be easier said than done once the munchies kick in!), and ensuring that you don’t overdo it.

Smoking too much cannabis is the main reason for those ‘weed hangover’ symptoms, headaches included. While marijuana isn’t believed to cause any harm, it can be very unpleasant when over consumed, so be mindful of this.

Final Thoughts on Marijuana and Headaches

In order to answer the question, “Why does my head hurt when I smoke weed?” – well, the answer isn’t entirely down to cannabis. Headaches can occur as a result of a variety of things, and too much weed can undoubtedly be one of them. However, it is not the sole reason behind headaches.

Using common sense when enjoying weed will usually be enough to see off any headaches; perhaps a particular strain doesn’t agree with you, or maybe you haven’t drank enough that day and you’re now making your way through a big bag of salty chips!

What we categorically know is that weed does not cause dehydration, nor is there any scientific proof that you can get a headache after weed. So for those who are concerned about headaches after smoking a joint, perhaps consider what other factors might be at play!

Article Srouces:
  1. Guillermo Farinas

    I do believe that cannabis use may cause headaches. Please remember that you are allowing a chemical substance, THC, to pass through the Brain/Blood barrier. THC may upset the chemical balance of the brain and result in unwanted headaches. I do believe that I have experienced mild to moderate headaches from cannabis consumption. Also, memory is definitely affected, negatively and positively, by cannabis. I have recalled things from my early childhood after cannabis use. My short term memory has been affected badly from cannabis use on a few occasions.

  2. Lars-Wictor Abrahamsson
    Among the misinformed claims that cannabis can bring about a killer headache, are the many studies done on marijuana as an effective treatment for headaches and migraines.

    THIS IS ANECDOTAL: I have tried THC 4 times and every single time it ended up with my vision rubberbanding, feeling ill and the hardest migraine I have EVER experienced at around 15-30 minutes after intake.

    Now I don’t dispute the fact that it’s used as a pain reliever. But for me, It gives me pain.

  3. Jeff Snell
    Please reply!!

    Oh Gosh! I have just tried weed once, for the first time, and the headache I got after waking up is torturing! I am not going to touch this product again, my friends are telling me that I will get used to it slowly….is it true? will the headaches disappear after a few times of smoking?

  4. Eric
    It’s not because of dehydration

    I have been smoking for over 10 years and never had issues until recently. This article does not help. Dehydration? No! This past week right when I take a hit, I have an instant headache even if it’s a small hit and I blow it out. This is disappointing. Has anyone else had similar experiences? I mean right after I take a hit it is throbbing like a migraine. I took a few days off to see if it was weed and it’s not. Still have a headache. I’m healthy, I recently went to the doctor, they did blood tests and a normal physical. Everything looks good. So why the heck did I all of a sudden get a headache? I’m hydrated, not stressed. I even got a massage thinking it was my neck. Nope, still throbbing headaches at the top of my head. Sigh

  5. Tony Gilson
    Interesting read

    This is really interesting – I have never suffered headaches during smoking, but often have the morning after hangover feeling. I will try to drink more water during the day before!

  6. Helen T

    I found this article interesting, and I liked how it acknowledged how Cannabis can, in fact, help with headaches as well! It was actually the other way around for me: as stated in the article, smoking helped with my migraine.
    I still get the occasional headache, but I struggle with drinking enough water, so I think that’s the reason.So, as the article suggests, I’ll try my best to stay hydrated 🙂

  7. Roger
    Possible Explanation

    I heavily smoke weed very often. The reason I believe it gives me headaches is that weed uses/burns up the fat cells in your brain to make you “stoned”. If you are low on those fat cells I think it burns other cells (brain cells) thus causing my headaches.

    Sound reasonable to anyone else?

  8. Harmony
    Edible headches

    I get a headache from vaping and edibles. I don’t do much because I’m super lightweight and have crazy experiences. My eyes also get very dry! I feel awesome for awhile and then the headache comes. It’s more of a neck ache that transforms to a migraine if I don’t treat it. I’m pretty sure it’s from dehydration though because it gets better if I drink gatorades and water.

  9. j to the izzo
    build up and ocular presure

    smoking too much in a day….when u smoke all day I’m no dr but it seems to have an affect on the pressure of the eyes ( why it’s good for glaucoma ). pressurize depresureize may be. but me too the only thing that helps is keeping ur eyes closed , sleep if possible. hot shower , hot water on top of head ..lol b4 I smoke another one I’ll shake my head a lil and if i got pain I’ll skip the blizzy

  10. John Flaherty
    Try this..

    I smoke weed every night and at the start it used to give me an awful morning headache ‘hangover’. The only thing i changed was to drink 3 pints of water over the course of the evening. Warning – you will wake up several times to pee at the start, but no headache!

  11. Ian
    Raging headache

    I’m 52, and the last time I smoked pot was 1987. I went to a cannabis place yesterday to get a vape pen and some indica oil (?) to help with insomnia. The lady told me to go slow. At 1:00am I was still awake so I broke out the goods. I didn’t think the vape thing was working because it didn’t burn when I inhaled, so my first hit turned into a long, deep hit. Then I blew out a massive cloud of smoke. I was feeling fine in about five minutes, and the last time I saw the clock was 1:20am. Woke up at 9:30am with a raging headache.

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