Smoking marijuana and headaches

Published Feb 20, 2019 01:58 p.m. ET

Can marijuana give headaches?

Getting a headache after smoking weed is, unfortunately, one of the most commonly reported side effects, but this isn’t true for just smoking. You can get a weed headache from eating edibles, dabbing, vaping, or any other method of ingesting marijuana. This is because most often weed headaches are caused by the body’s reaction to the THC. Some methods like eating and vaping have lower reports of these headaches when consuming, but they do still have a possibility of creating a headache. There are essentially three different times that marijuana can cause headaches.


  1. When initially ingesting
    Headaches that come on strong either during or immediately after smoking can often be avoided by using an alternative method of ingesting. For some, eating will always cause a headache while smoking or vaping is a breeze. For others, it’s the complete opposite

  2. Caused by The effects of THC
    Headaches brought on by the effects can usually be controlled with more careful dosing or choosing a strain with a lower THC content. Some people find CBD to benefit them in their overall ability to tolerate the buzz. If you do suffer from headaches brought on by the effects of cannabis products, then you may want to avoid tinctures and concentrates. This side effect is typically reported most by those who use occasionally.

  3. A headache as the effects wear off
    Headaches that are felt like the effects of a THC product wear off are generally caused by dehydration and lack of nutrition. Almost all users report feeling this sort of a headache at one point or another. When you get high, it's easy to forget things like water intake and eating. When alcohol is mixed with cannabis product consumption, it can exacerbate this problem as alcohol dehydrates your body.


How to avoid a headache after smoking weed

This list is full of various ways to help you manage headaches caused by consuming marijuana.

  1. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is the number one cause of pot-induced headaches. Ensuring you are well hydrated before, during, and after partaking should help to alleviate this symptom.

  2. Choose a different method. Since everyone reacts differently to the various methods of ingestion, it is essential to recognize that while your friend may enjoy three or four brownies without issue, you may respond poorly to any amount. Ensure you start your dosing small, and if you feel a negative reaction more than once, it may be best to avoid altogether. Smoking itself can cause headaches, especially in non- smokers.

  3. Begin on a full stomach. This allows your body to more slowly absorb the THC making it easier for your body process.

  4. Know your source. Sometimes commonly used fertilizer can cause terrible headaches. Ingesting a product full of chemicals is never good for anyone.

  5. Choose your strain carefully. Each strain will have its own effects, THC and CBD content. If you are suffering from headaches, then the solution may be as simple as choosing a product from a different strain.

  6. Start with the lowest content possible to gauge the effect. It is always recommended to start small and slowly work your way up. Your body will often react differently the first couple times you try it compared to those who are using consistently. It’s also recommended to use the same dosage three times in a row before adding more.

While a headache after smoking weed can be a huge downer, those headaches are essentially your body's way of alerting you to its need to change something. Listen to it. A headache rarely means that you can’t consume or ingest cannabis, it just means you must be a bit more attentive when partaking.

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