Why Does My Head Hurt When I Smoke Weed?
May 25, 2018

Why Does My Head Hurt When I Smoke Weed?

Isn't weed supposed to get RID of headaches?
Nicole Richter Nicole Richter / Updated on May 25, 2018

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, 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.

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?

The Myth Behind Cannabis and Dehydration

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?

The Facts About Cannabis and Headaches

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.

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 it can cause headaches. So for those who are concerned about headaches after smoking a joint, perhaps consider what other factors might be at play!

Article Srouces:
  1. Lita King
    Immediate Headache/Dizziness-Indica Strains Only

    When I smoke indica strains, especially the really strong, sleepy, strains, I get pounding migraines 30 minutes to an hour later. They last a really long time and I usually get the spins/dizziness as well. Drinking water does not help. I do not get the same headaches with sativas. I won’t even buy indicas because I’ll just get sick. I should note that my body chemistry is quite different than most people I know and it took me a while to be able to smoke weed at all comfortably.

  2. Pam
    Vaping won’t cause headaches but smoking does.

    It’s smoking that causes the headache. Vaping doesn’t. Whether smoking weed or nicotine, the smoke irritates a person’s nasal passages and nasal lining. This in turn, causes inflammation in the sinuses and a “sinus headache” that you’ll feel in your temples and sometimes in the sinuses. It happens to me all the time if I smoke too much versus using my Volano to vape or an oil cartridge. Vaping cannabis doesn’t usually give me a headache. It’s the smoking that’s is the problem – too harsh on the sinuses.

    1. Lita King

      My headaches are caused by indica strains. This is the case even when I vape. Edibles of a low dosage seem to have less of an effect on my head.

  3. Artis

    After an LSD bad trip , every time i smoke weed, i feel good at max 10min, and then it turns to hell, my head starts hurtting , i begin to have trouble breathing and my heart starts to beat very fast , sometimes it seems like i’m going to die , ive been smoking weed for 4 years and i’ve been fine until this , i’d smoke 5 grams a day and i would enjoy it , now i take a couple of puffs and i regret it every time.

  4. canna headache

    George GM, Beer (alcohol) dehydrates you. Makes sense that drinking it in the sun will give you a headache.

    I get cannabis headaches from time to time (every few months). It’s when I smoke too much in a day. If I smoke cigs it dose not make it worse. If I smoke cannabis it gets unbearable. I take a day or two break and I can go back to my usual smoke all day long and don’t get it for another few months.

    What stoners forget to drink? Cotton mouth does not allow me to not stay hydrated.

  5. George GM
    Look for other causes

    If I smoke too much it gives me headaches. If I smoke a joint or a pipe thats it, it doesn’t.

    Also if you’re stressed, if you have a big worry, the muscles on the neck are tight, can cause headaches

    If you have a gastric problem, not related to weed, lets say a gastritis or colon infection, it bloates and gives nausea and headaches

    If you drank too much alcohol mixed w weed. For instance I can’t drink beer in the sun, it gives me headache

    If you’re overweight high blood pressure

    If you’re too weak/skinny, or never make exercise. Exercise eliminates toxins

  6. sandra

    I smoke some weed with a friend for 4 days I woke up with the top of my head hurting and I stop the weed smoking no more for me how can I get rid of the pain it is at the top of my head,

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