Mixing CBD and alcohol :The benefits of CBD have been much discussed, but as CBD oil and other products become more popular across the world, people start wondering whether they can mix it with substances like alcohol for recreational use. And if yes, what happens when cannabis and alcohol are in your bloodstream at the same time?
It is available in cannabis dispensaries, vape shops, head shops, and pharmacies. You can also find it online. On top of that, CBD is being used for alternative treatments such as eczema and depression.
Alcohol manufacturers are trying to jump on the bandwagon too by introducing CBD-infused wine, beer, shots, and other alcoholic beverages.
However, these two substances are on opposite ends of the spectrum. CBD is an excellent antioxidant and neuroprotectant while alcohol, the most unreliable poison, has been shown to have toxic effects beyond reversal.
Therefore, many people began to question the safety of mixing CBD with alcohol.
This article discusses the effects of consuming alcohol and CBD together.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, an important natural substance in cannabis plants, which is a major cannabinoid next to THC.
Yet unlike THC, the active ingredient in marijuana plants, CBD is not intoxicating, meaning it doesn’t cause the high commonly associated with marijuana use.
Both hemp and marijuana can be used to extract CBD oil, although the vast majority of the global CBD industry revolves around hemp products because the substance is legal.
Researchers have suggested that CBD may offer a wide variety of health benefits, including enhanced regeneration, effective muscle relief, and improved skin health.
It’s impossible to fatally overdose on CBD. This compound is safe and well-tolerated in humans and animals, even in extremely high doses.
What is Alcohol?
The main psychoactive ingredient in beverages, alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the substance that makes you drunk. It is made by yeast that consumes and processes the sugars in carbohydrate-rich foods such as grains, grapes and potatoes.
Alcohol is also one of the most commonly used intoxicants in the world. It can undermine your motor skills and cognitive functions.
Under the influence of alcohol, people sometimes behave without inhibition; alcohol reduces shyness while impairing judgment, sometimes promoting inappropriate behavior one day after drinking too much.
There are people who drink moderately, whereas there are others who tend to abuse alcohol. Excessive drinking can ruin your health.
Short-term Side Effects of Alcohol:
- Slurred speech
- coordination and decreased perception
- Upset stomach
- Distorted vision and hearing
Long-term Side Effects of Alcohol
- Alcohol poisoning
- Liver disease
- Nerve damage
- Permanent brain damage
- Vitamin B1
- Sexual problems
CBD and Alcohol: Do They Mix?
Although this subject is under-researched, several small studies indicate that CBD may amplify some of alcohol’s effects owing to how these two interact with one another.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body, which controls vital functions. The ECS helps maintain body equilibrium or homeostasis.
Cannabidiol signals several pathways in the body, including cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.
For example, when the CB2 receptor is activated, whether by endocannabinoids or plant-based cannabinoids, it may regulate inflammation, immune response, and other functions.
The effects of CBD may vary significantly from individual to individual because every individual’s body is different. Some genetic mutations of the CB2 receptor have been found, which may produce different responses to CBD. As a result, how one person reacts to CBD with alcohol may change fundamentally.
Studies suggest mixing CBD and alcohol is not a good idea.
If you take CBD and alcohol together, what happens?
Many people drink alcohol to reduce social fears and promote feelings of relaxation due to its sedative properties.
Users can also experience similar effects with CBD. Studies have shown that CBD can calm nerves and reduce anxiety when exposed to daily stressors.
A study conducted on half a dozen people to test the efficacy of CBD in treating anxiety showed that a dose of 25–75 mg of CBD daily taken for a month decreased anxiety and improved sleep quality.
Mixing CBD and alcohol could amplify these effects, potentially causing a person to feel drowsy and sedated.
Some people also claim that taking CBD together with alcohol can intensify each other’s effects, leading to intense mood alteration.
One small study that analyzed the effects of a CBD-alcohol mixture — 200 mg of CBD alongside 1 gram of alcohol for every 2.2 pounds (1kg) of total weight.
The researchers observed that mixing CBD and alcohol resulted in significant motor performance and changes in the perception of time. Participants didn’t report these effects when they took CBD alone.
Still, the results aren’t universally applicable, since this was a small study with a high dose of CBD compared to what most people use in their routines.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough research to determine how exactly CBD works when taken alongside alcohol.
There are, however, studies, proving that CBD may protect against the side effects of alcohol abuse.
How CBD Can Counter the Negative Effects of Alcohol
Based on the benefits CBD provides, it seems that this compound could help with at least several alcohol-related side effects. Where does CBD really shine?
For hangovers from alcohol, CBD oil can be used.
People have begun to wonder how CBD oil can improve their daily lives due to its presence in dispensaries, major pharmacies, and health food stores. Although CBD oil cannot cure the immediate symptoms of an alcoholic hangover, it can work for managing severe headaches, increased blood pressure, and nausea.
In addition to being a good antioxidant, CBD may also help ease hangovers. However, everyone’s body reacts differently to CBD and alcohol, it may be possible for CBD products to relieve some of the pesky hangover issues.
If you want to enjoy a relaxing experience without drinking alcohol, you can mix CBD with cocktail recipes, skipping the liquor, and have a healthy drink while in a social setting.
CBD May Protect Cells Against Damage and Disease
Damage to the cells as a result of binge drinking can increase the risk of diseases such as liver disease, pancreatitis, and some types of cancer.
Research on animals shows that CBD works as a neuroprotectant and reduces the damage to the brain caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
For instance, a study conducted on rats found that CBD topicals reduced the brain-cell damage caused by alcohol abuse by as much as 49%.
In another study, mice treated with CBD were better protected against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by stimulating autophagy, a process that supports cell regeneration.
One study found that CBD-rich cannabis extract increased the risk of liver toxicity in mice, though some of the mice in that study were forced to eat ridiculously high amounts of whole-plant cannabis extract.
We don’t know whether CBD produces similar effects in humans. More research is needed to know whether CBD can prevent alcohol-induced damage and cell disease in human models.
CBD May Reduce Blood Alcohol Levels
The amount of alcohol in your blood is measured by the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A higher BAC usually results in impaired motor skills and cognitive performance.
Although the research on CBD’s effects on blood alcohol levels is very limited, one study conducted on 10 people showed that a dose of 200 mg CBD led to significantly lower blood alcohol levels than when the alcohol was taken with a placebo.
You should also note that the study was not only conducted over 40 years ago (in the 1970s), but also used a very high dose of CBD. So, it’s unclear whether regular doses of CBD would have the same effect.
Furthermore, several studies have noted that CBD does not reduce blood alcohol concentration when it is mixed with alcohol.
CBD for Alcohol Addiction and Withdrawals: A New Hope
We mentioned earlier the benefits of CBD for reducing hangover symptoms, but could it also help manage alcohol withdrawals? There is not much research on this subject, but CBD may be able to reduce the severity of alcohol withdrawal by promoting internal equilibrium and helping with withdrawal symptoms.
Researchers from a 2014 study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine concluded that CBD can protect mice’s livers from steatosis (fatty liver disease) caused by binge drinking.
A 2016 review from the journal Neurotoxicity Research found little evidence to support the use of CBD in treating alcohol withdrawal, but it did highlight CBD’s interaction with CB2 receptors as potentially effective in treating alcohol dependence.
Another medical marijuana specialist, Dr. Melanie Bone, claims that CBD can reduce harm when it comes to problematic drinking. By having a positive effect on the body’s defenses and decreasing alcohol cravings, CBD may help people minimize the side effects of alcoholism.
These are promising findings considering that alcohol withdrawals can be very serious, sometimes leading to death if not handled properly. We always recommend that you seek medical supervision before kicking the habit, even when trying to ease your symptoms with CBD.
Should You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
Research on the effects of CBD on alcohol consumption is limited to small-scale studies and animal models.
Some studies have found that CBD may lower blood alcohol levels and mitigate the adverse health effects associated with binge drinking. Others, however, have found conflicting results.
The effects of CBD vary from person to person, making it difficult to determine whether talking CBD alongside alcohol will have the same effect on everyone.
Despite this, the majority of the current research examined the effects of taking very high doses of alcohol with CBD oil, rather than testing the effects of moderate amounts spiced up here and there with CBD oil.
We know little about the effects of moderate or occasional consumption of CBD, so we cannot recommend taking it with alcohol, especially if you’re not sure how both substances affect you.
Why Mixing CBD and Alcohol Is Counter-Productive
Essentially, CBD is a well-known health supplement that offers remarkable anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties. In short, CBD is a tool that can improve your daily life without causing any side effects.
During the same time, alcohol has been known to be addictive, which has severe consequences for one’s health.
One of the most important points about CBD is that it cannot be lethally overdosed. Alcohol is known to do quite the opposite, so why counter the benefits of a natural anti-oxidant with the toxicity that comes with alcohol?
Key Takeaways on Mixing CBD and Alcohol
When taken together, CBD and alcohol may intensify each other’s effects, causing drowsiness and sedation.
However, some human and animal studies have shown that CBD can protect cells against alcohol-induced damage and lower blood alcohol concentration, in addition to controlling addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
Until further research is conducted, it is unclear whether CBD and alcohol — even in small or moderate amounts — is safe.