I don’t believe in hangover cures. After all, if a hangover cure existed, then nobody would be hungover, right? However, I’m always open to hangover prevention techniques, and after hearing my friend rave about her magical activated charcoal pills, I decided to try them out for myself (less than $7 for 100 pills on Amazon, people)!
Activated charcoal pills absorb toxins and other impurities in drinks, which is why college kids may find them especially effective. I mean, the liquid inside a bottle of Burnett’s can only really be described as toxic, making charcoal pills seem like a promising solution.
The first night, I came back to my room feeling not so hot. I had left the pill bottle on my pillow to remind myself to take them, and I swallowed two, thinking to myself, There’s no way this will do anything. It’s too late. Tomorrow morning is going to be ROUGH.
I was wrong.
I usually don’t get unbearable hangovers, but I almost always feel sluggish and stupid the next morning—my body feels drained and my brain can’t fully process anything. I also occasionally get headaches. When I woke up in the morning after taking the pills, I felt sharp and alert. Instead of lying in bed for hours watching Netflix or catching up on my reality tv, I did work and went to Yates.
The other three nights that I took the pills, I had similar results. During my two week experiment, I forgot to take the pills one night and woke up the next morning non-functional and mad at myself for forgetting. I always took the pills after going out because my friend had told me that taking them before would reduce the effects of alcohol throughout the night (which was not what I wanted to test).
The following Saturday, I gave the pills to my friends to try and told them to update me in the morning. Here are some texts I received…
“Also not hungover at all due to charcoal pills. GENIUS!”
“The next day I felt clear headed, like I had gotten a good night’s sleep and energized. I woke up at 10 AM, I usually sleep until 11:30/12 after going out but that morning I had brunch plans and was able to wake up on time. I normally feel really sluggish and have a pounding headache after going out, but not that time!”
“i woke up totally fine, and i drank a lot.”
I then asked Friend B how she normally felt for comparison.
“hmm it depends if i drink a lot a lot really nauseous for like 4 hours till i finally vom, if i drink a lot (like the amount i did the night i took them) usually a little nauseous and maybe a bit of a headache, and if i drink a decent amount i feel fine”
“I don’t usually get all of the effects of getting hungover, but every time I go out I am always super dehydrated the next day. This time, however, when I woke up I felt replenished as if waking up on a normal day from a full night sleep. My day was so much better after that and I was more then able to be productive and hang out with my friends without any physical barriers brought on by fun evening.”
This was (obviously) not a formal experiment—just a few college kids trying to alleviate the effects of their bad decisions. Of course, there are many other factors that influence hangovers, such as hydration, food intake, how much you drink, what you drink, when you drink, etc.
Perhaps we should attribute the success of the pills to the placebo effect, but the bottom line is that we woke up feeling refreshed and not hungover, and that was enough for us! As for me, I’ll definitely order more of these magical pills in the future.
CALLIE KIM is an Econ major in the College. When she’s not making acai bowls at Hilltoss, you can find Callie watching Friends (or one of her many favorite reality tv shows), and playing Candy Crush.