A night out with friends at the bar can, and often does, lead to a few too many drinks. As the night goes on and the alcohol continues to flow, the happier you get. And then, there’s the next morning, when you pay the price in the form of headache, nausea and fatigue. With its anti-inflammatory properties and influence on hormone levels, many are starting to look at CBD as a natural solution to stop that hangover dead in its tracks.
The Good and The Bad of Drinking Alcohol
From the minute liquor is poured into your system, you begin to feel happy. This euphoria is caused by large amounts of reward chemicals, like dopamine, all being released at once. As your body oxidizes and metabolizes the alcohol you’ve consumed, acetaldehyde — a toxin more dangerous than alcohol itself — is then released. Your liver breaks down this poison with glutathione, an antioxidant that prevents damage to important cellular components. However, if alcohol is being consumed faster than the liver can produce glutathione, then acetaldehyde lingers in your body creating fatigue, stomach irritation and a headache in the morning. Thank acetaldehyde for your hangover.
CBD Regulates Hormone Levels
Cannabidiol or CBD comes from the cannabis plant, but does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound that gets you high. CBD influences the receptors inside your brain, specifically the hypothalamus. By influencing receptors, CBD may affect the production and secretion of hormones such as cortisol, melatonin and insulin. Regulating hormones that stimulate specific cells or tissues into action can balance the natural processes of your body, like sleep, hunger, temperature or blood pressure. CBD regulates these hormones by indirectly influencing CB1 and CB2 receptors. Then, the levels of your body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids can increase because CBD may inhibit the enzymes that break them down. Therefore, CBD could be a solution to alleviate the hangover symptoms — migraine, nausea or vomiting and fatigue.
So, How Can CBD Help Your Hangover Headache?
One of the first symptoms of a hangover, and may be to blame for most of the others, is a migraine or headache. As an inflammatory response, a migraine is caused by vasodilation which is the expansion of your blood vessels. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD could relax the blood vessels and ease the severity and duration of headaches and migraines. Alcohol, also, affects chemicals and hormones in your brain, such as histamine and serotonin, which contribute to the development of a headache. CBD may be able to block these chemicals and hormones that send a pain signal to the nervous system, which could reduce the pain that a headache causes.
What About Nausea or Vomiting?
Vomiting is your body’s reaction to a poison or toxin that needs to be flushed out. As a diuretic, alcohol irritates the stomach, pancreas and intestines which stimulates the pancreatic enzyme. This enzyme makes the pancreas secrete more than usual creating the nauseous feeling and dehydration. Recently, scientists conducted a study on chemotherapy patients to see if CBD can help reduce the nausea and vomiting after a treatment. It worked. The scientists found that CBD reduces the availability of the hormone serotonin, known to cause nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients.
Okay, But Can CBD Lift Your Spirits?
As soon as you wake up, you immediately want to lie your pounding head back down on that comfy pillow and sleep. On top of all the other hangover symptoms — headache, nausea and even, dehydration — you experience fatigue and the overall sense of illness. That’s because alcohol is a diuretic that causes lightheadedness and dizziness. Alcohol, then, affects your mood and sleep which does not help you feel better at all. When you drink alcohol, it releases a high amount of reward chemicals. Those hormones then crash afterward, creating emotional vulnerability or the overreaction to small triggers.
CBD is known to help relieve anxiety by easing your mind and boosting your mood, but how? CBD interacts with dopamine receptors, playing a crucial role in regulating aspects of behavior and cognition. This includes motivation and reward seeking behavior, similar to when you were drinking the night before. CBD could slow down the crash of these happy hormones and/ or boost these hormones to help you feel motivated and happy.
Yes, CBD May Help Alleviate Your Hangover.
CBD may be a natural alternative to relieve the symptoms of the inflicted mini alcohol withdrawal, or a hangover. With one stone, CBD could kill all three hangover symptoms — headache, vomiting and fatigue. As previously mentioned, CBD interacts with serotonin and dopamine, plus has anti-inflammatory properties. CBD may be able to help reduce the pain from a headache, calm nausea and vomiting, and boost your mood.