Recently, cannabidiol, or CBD, seems to be showing up everywhere. From body oils and lip balm to protein bars and even beer. But is CBD and alcohol safe to mix? The answer may be more complicated than you think.
The Effects of CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in cannabis plants alongside tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active ingredient in cannabis. Unlike THC, however, CBD does not have psychoactive properties, meaning that it does not cause you to feel high.
While cannabis has been used for various medicinal purposes in the past, scientists have only recently begun to explore CBD products and their properties. In fact, scientists have identified a system of receptors in our body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is largely responsible for maintaining the body’s inner balance. Current research suggests that CBD may have potential health benefits, including helping with anxiety, pain management, and even improving the health of your skin.
Not everyone reacts to CBD in the same way, and the reason for that is because humans have a variety of genetic mutations that change how the individual reacts to CBD. The exact ways that our bodies respond to CBD are still being studied.
The Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol has been consumed throughout much of history, and today, we have more options than ever when it comes to getting a drink. Alcohol does not affect everyone the same way, and people who drink more frequently are more likely to be able to drink more. Different types of alcohol will also impact your body in different ways. Different types of alcohol include beer, wine, and hard liquor such as vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey, and moonshine.
Prior Research About CBD and Alcohol
A study published in 1979 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology examined ten volunteers who were either given CBD and alcohol, alcohol and a placebo, CBD and orange juice, or alcohol alone. The results revealed that participants who took CBD and alcohol showed lower blood alcohol levels, though there were no notable differences in motor skills.
So, What Happens When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
The answers vary depending on several factors, including:
- Your Alcohol Tolerance: Some people are very sensitive to alcohol and will feel profound, long-term effects after just one drink. Other people may be able to enjoy multiple drinks without feeling significantly impaired.
- Your Alcohol of Choice: When comparing alcoholic drinks, they are not all equal, and neither are their effects. For example, if you choose to have a glass of beer, the effects may be different if compared to having a glass of wine or even a glass of scotch. Your own experience with the type of alcohol and your experience in drinking also play a role.
For instance, if you have one beer with cannabis, the effects are likely to be minimal. However, suppose you are drinking multiple beers, a bottle of wine, or other types of hard liquor in larger quantities. In that case, you are more likely to experience profound effects that will not only last longer but may also impact your experience with CBD.
- Your Alcohol Amount: Whatever type of alcohol you choose to consume when mixing it with CBD, quantity matters. Sure, you might select beer or wine because the percentage of alcohol is relatively low. However, if you consume several six-packs of beer or several bottles of wine, you may still experience a feeling of intoxication that is similar to having multiple drinks with hard liquor or numerous shots.
- Your CBD Sensitivity: As with alcohol, some people are more tolerant to CBD, and some are less tolerant. Your CBD sensitivity can depend on a variety of factors, such as genetics and previous CBD use.
- Your Choice of CBD: While CBD can be isolated as an oil, tincture, or even a food additive, it can also be enjoyed when vaping or smoking cannabis. If you choose to enjoy CBD via cannabis, you will likely also experience a high from THC, which may lead to additional effects.
- Your Individual Biology: This includes your CBD tolerance and your alcohol tolerance. Your ability to tolerate CBD and alcohol together will depend on your tolerance for both substances. For instance, if you are sensitive to alcohol and have had multiple drinks, you might feel drunk. This doesn’t mean that the CBD isn’t working; it just means that you have more alcohol in your system, and you are feeling that above other things. On the other hand, certain types of CBD oils might make you feel soberer.
Conversely, if you are sensitive to CBD or choose to consume CBD as cannabis, which also contains THC, you may feel higher when mixing the two.
When to Talk to a Doctor
If you are using CBD to treat a medical condition, you should always ask your doctor about mixing. Again, the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol are not very well known. However, studies have given medical professionals some data, and your doctor might be able to anticipate or at least have an idea of how CBD and alcohol might mix.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
If you happen to mix CBD and alcohol, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make Sure You are Safe: This means ensuring that you have people around you that you can trust, especially if you are mixing for the first time. Likewise, you will want to talk to your doctor if you are taking CBD for a medical condition.
- Start Slow: Because cross-reaction varies, make sure that you go easy on both the CBD and the alcohol when you first start mixing the two substances. It is better to feel a little less than to be overwhelmed.
- Mixing alcohol and CBD can be tricky.
- Science has a limited understanding of how CBD and alcohol will react together.
- Your individual reaction depends on various factors, such as your tolerance for alcohol and how you choose to inject CBD.