It doesn’t take cannabis to leave you with brain fog. I start every day in a fog lasting pretty much until I’ve had a long shower.
Thoughts about work, wardrobe, and chores run through my head waiting for some neurological signal to calm down and sort themselves out. My favorite solution is a rich Colombian coffee on the deck.
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)
What has this to do with cannabis?
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.
10 Ways to manage cannabis brain fog:
- Choose CBD! 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.
- Time the intake! When you use can have a direct effect on brain fog. 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.
- Know what’s good for you! You should work harder at learning more about what you use. The cannabis chemistry varies sharply from strain to strain. The terpenes producing floral aromas tend to be calming supporting focus and creativity. Lemony and citrus tastes and scents may energize your spirit and mindset. But in all cases, high potency can aggravate confusion.
- Put it on paper! There are many good reasons to keep a journal. It is a healthy emotional and psychological exercise to put your thought processes and memories into writing. But you should also record your cannabis experience, taking notes on the strain, timing, and results.
- Keep things wet! Low hydration will contribute to a cannabis brain fog hangover just as it does with alcohol consumption. Experience recommends drinking water before, after, and while using cannabis. Water consumption will replace water lost and flush the system to prevent or reduce the typical dry mouth and the red-eye morning after.
- 6. Watch the delivery! Inhaling cannabis contributes to some of the drying properties of smoking tobacco. But edibles tend to stay in the system longer stretching out the foggy hangover. The sugars in edibles can also exacerbate the results like sugary alcohol cocktails will.
- Make it healthy! People can live normal physical lives and still enjoy their weed with moderate discipline. It should be part of a larger strategy including a regular nutritious diet and exercise.
- Take a break! Chronic and heavy use will surely produce morning fog, but it is likely to take longer to fix or remedy. If you feel brain fog is altering your life and work, it may be a sign you need a break. If you have built a tolerance for the strain and its effects, it may be time to take a break. It just may mean it’s time to give it a rest.
- Give it a rest! Brain fog needs some rest, a good night’s sleep without interruption or additional intake. Then, try waking to a detoxifying therapy with fruit and veggie smoothies, full body massage, invigorating swim, and dog walk.
- Supplement your future! It’s a fact that things we enjoy deplete our systems. As a lipid, cannabis is water and fat-soluble, so you’ll want to replenish some losses with supplements like Vitamins B-12 and D and Omega-3, elements that repair systems and aid mental health.
What you can learn in a fog!
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.