Despite all the benefits of cannabis, consuming too much can be a challenging experience. If you’ve ever woken up feeling groggy, unfocused, and in a daze, you’re familiar with brain fog.
Brain fog is incredibly unpleasant and may seem hard to snap out of, but there are some things you can do to help re-spark your battery, so to speak.
Some cannabis users, first-timers and chronic users, experience brain fog after intake or the next morning. It doesn’t mean they are suffering from some serious medical condition, but it could be something to get your attention.
For one thing, these symptoms are warnings not to drive or enter any risky situation. For another, these people with these medical conditions have been known to benefit from cannabis, so there is a synergy here worth exploring.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog can be something more serious than that morning sluggishness. It may signal more serious conditions — or a “hangover.” Symptoms include:
- A sense you are unable to store and recall memory,
- Inability to process and understand language,
- Delay in recognizing shapes and difficulty moving through spaces, and/or
- Difficulty with calculations and problem-solving.
These signs may signal Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, hormonal changes, and more. Dr. Emily Huang, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, says, “There are numerous causes of brain fog, including sleep deprivation, poor nutritional habits, mental health issues, stress, depression, endocrine changes, lack of exercise and dehydration” (US News, 2019)
Does Your Memory Become Foggy After Consuming Cannabis?
The good news is these effects are temporary (and also avoidable). Below are some ways to settle your mind and get back on track.
What you do before and after consuming cannabis can help determine the severity of your marijuana foggines. Filling your body with healthy, nutritious food and lots of fruits and vegetables, which also have high water contents, can help your body snap out of its funk.
Take a Cool Shower
The refreshing water should wake up your senses.
Adjust Your Eating Habits
Make sure you eat healthy food and stay hydrated throughout the day to nourish your body.
Try a Stimulant
For those who need an extra boost, a stimulant such as caffeine can give a foggy brain the jumpstart it needs.
drinking water is a healthy thing to do anyway, and it can make a big difference when your brain is running a little behind schedule. As shown in a study published by Physiology & Behavior, even minor dehydration can impair cognitive functions. Since cannabis use has been shown to decrease saliva secretion (even without causing dehydration), drinking more water can help clear your mind while also satiating your tongue.
Time the Intake
Choosing when you consume cannabis can greatly improve the results. If you are prone to fogginess and understand its frequency or its connection to specific strains, you can plan your dose, timing, and strain. For example, you want to avoid those foggy strains when you have work requiring focus. Likewise, some strains might relieve fogginess in the morning — or make it worse.
Potency is Important
Especially for those with average to lower tolerances, potency can be one of the biggest contributors to a foggy high. The modern trend of high-THC flower, with buds testing in the 25-30% THC range might be more than many users need. Starting as slow and low as possible and working up is a good method to getting a clearer high.
Consider the Strain and Terpene Profiles
Terpenes are the scented oil secretions of plants. Though terpenes physically make up a small part of cannabis, they easily cross the blood-brain barrier and can generate entourage effects from trace amounts. Pinene is thought to aid in memory and focus, but is often present in high amounts in strains like Hazes, which can be too racy for many people to concentrate.
Always consider the terpene profile of the cannabis you are consuming.
Linalool, present in lavender and floral strains, imparts a calming, sedative effect, and might put some to sleep, but offer clarity to those suffering from anxiety. Myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis, and is thought to enhance the effects of THC while being sedative. Its presence may override or alter some standard terpene effects (most likely the case with Hazes). Limonene can be a great mood booster and impart energy, (many claim it can break up “sludge-brain” associated with depression), however some find the boost hard to steer, making it difficult to focus.
If you experience brain fog regularly, it may make sense to keep a log of the strains that you consume. Record things like time of day, strain, dosage amount, delivery format, and any other info you can along with how the experience made you feel. This will help you better dial in a cannabis regimen with maximum benefits and minimum side effects. Cannabis contains over 100 different terpenes and cannabinoids, all of which cause different effects in different people, depending on the strain. Knowing which strains and even which terpenes don’t agree with you can help prevent negative effects in the future.
Strains with a higher percentage of CBD defeat the psychoactive effects of THC. Finding high CBD ratios or even balanced ratios can be difficult in a market where customers seek higher potency.
Go For A Walk
Getting more oxygen into your brain is a great way to combat a sluggish mind. The brain uses 3 times as much oxygen as the muscles do and even a small decrease in oxygen can affect mental function. Going outside for some fresh air will fill your lungs with more oxygen than resting on a couch, and getting blood pumping can invigorate you, making you more alert. A change of scenery can also increase your mental stimulation, taking in different sights, smells, and sounds.
Take A Nap
Sometimes, no matter what you do, clearing out the cannabis cobwebs simply becomes a waiting game. Finding a quiet, dark place to lay down for a quick snooze can help speed time along. You’ll wake up more refreshed and with more of the cannabis processed through your system.
The chemical properties in cannabis have a powerful influence on the brain and body chemistry. The influence varies widely among individuals. It has a research-confirmed and strong anecdotal record of interacting positively with symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, fibromyalgia, spasticity, and more. There is also evidence it rejuvenates cell growth and reduces the buildup of plaque among brain cells. All these conditions cause, contribute to or signal the onset of brain fog.
At the same time, cannabis’ chemistry can contribute to brain fog in individuals without these conditions. But you can combat and avoid the negative effects by spending more time on your strain selection, tracking your usage and its results better, and taking a break for exercise and good nutrition.