Question: How can I avoid a headache from taking edibles? I want to take edibles at a festival, but the last time I did, I woke up with a headache. I’ve gotten the hang of taking edibles a few hours before I want them to actually kick in. That part is going fine, but the problem is the next morning…I almost always wake up with a headache the next day.
The last time I took edibles, I woke up with a dull headache in the back of my head and behind my eyes, and I just felt a bit slower overall the next day at the festival. Any tips for me? I wanna take an edible at another festival soon, but if I’m going to always have a headache the next day, I might have to give up on edibles.
Cannabis Coach Haley’s Answer: I love that you asked this question, and I’d be glad to offer some pointers. I’m also glad you brought this up now, at the start of summer, because many people try edibles for the first time in the summer when they’re on vacation or get a few days off from work.
Once you get the hang of it, edibles can be such a great summer alternative to drinking alcohol, and many people like the sociable aspect of showing up to a barbecue or summer party with a cannabis-infused snack or beverage. But we definitely don’t want you to be waking up with a headache, especially if you’re at a music festival! I’ve got some ideas for you:
Learn From the Past
When we’re talking about “edibles”, it’s important to remember that this term covers a wide variety of products. For many people, the word “edible” will evoke an image of classic edibles, like a cannabis-infused cookie or brownie. But now in 2022, the options for an “edible” can be far-reaching – anything from a bag of cannabis-infused chips to a THC iced latte can be considered an edible! You might be surprised at all the options you’ll find at the dispensary.
Any time I hear of a client having a bad experience with cannabis, it can be helpful to get into the nitty-gritty details of the experience, and then make an adjustment for next time. Think back to the last festival where you woke up with a headache:
- What kind of edible did you take?
- How many milligrams of THC were in it?
- What time of evening did you take it?
- Do you remember if you had anything to eat that evening? Anything to drink?
- Did you consume any alcoholic beverages alongside the edible?
Personally, I like to keep a quick record of this in my phone’s Notes section or in a cannabis journal. It can really help to jot down quick notes like this as you’re getting started in your cannabis journey.
By writing down some quick notes, you can discover patterns over time and hopefully create a better experience for next time. In many cases, a sign of a headache the next day is simply a sign of over-doing it, and you may have better success with a lower dose of THC next time.
Pre-game With Water
This is a secret tip that really works wonders for me: if you know you’re going to consume an edible, drink lots of water beforehand – especially if you’re taking edibles on a hot summer day. Make sure you’ve had at least one real glass of water before taking an edible (and no, an iced latte doesn’t count in this scenario).
When people report getting a headache with edibles, in many cases it’s a sign of slight dehydration. When you think about it, taking an edible is like taking a very concentrated form of cannabis, and in order for it to kick in and work properly, your body needs to be properly hydrated.
When clients report a headache the next day after taking edibles, it’s often because they didn’t have much water with their edibles and/or they were outside in the hot summer sun—all of this adds up into a big headache the next morning. Hydrate before and after taking edibles! I also recommend skipping the alcohol if you’re going to be taking edibles, especially if you’re taking edibles in a new and busy environment like a music festival.
PRO TIP: Consider drinking an electrolyte-rich drink like Gatorade or Liquid IV alongside your edibles instead. When I take edibles and I know I’m going to be outside in the summer heat, I treat it like I’m running a race. I always add in some beverage with electrolytes, which help our cells maintain proper water balance. Coconut water is also a great option.
One last thing to consider, especially if you’re going to a festival, is to come prepared with regular, non-medicated snacks to eat alongside your edible. There’s nothing worse than being at a festival and the only food in your tent or backpack is a bag of cannabis-infused gummies! Make sure you pack lots of protein-rich snacks, and if you can include a snack with omega-3 fatty acids, that’s even better.
THC binds to fat, and personally, I find that when I eat a snack with healthy fats alongside my edible, the whole edible experience feels gentler, lasts longer, and the next day I can get up comfortably with no headache.
PRO TIP: my go-to snack to pair with edibles? always a handful of almonds. It’s substantial enough that I can have a quick burst of protein and fat. It’s shelf-stable, won’t melt in my backpack, and it doesn’t upset my stomach if I’m walking around in the heat all day. You really can’t go wrong with almonds and protein bars.
Hope these tips help to give you a happy edibles experience! Enjoy your festival and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
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