Due to the rise in popularity in CBD, more and more people are researching whether you can use CBD and alcohol together. While on the surface, mixing CBD and alcohol may sound like a bad idea, people who use CBD as part of their daily regimen may still want to enjoy an occasional drink, so the responsible thing to do is research their potential interactions beforehand. First, let’s look at what they are.
The cannabis plant contains over 100 active compounds known as endocannabinoids, of which CBD is one. It won’t get you “high,” but when extracted and purified, CBD oil can be used directly or formulated into a wide range of products, from topical lotions to tinctures, edibles, and capsules. While peer-reviewed research is limited, anecdotal evidence points to its potential use as a health and wellness aid.
Alcohol is a depressant that is commonly available in beers, wines, liquors, and foods. It has a strong effect on the human body and mind. Impairment can set in quickly and last for hours, jumbling thoughts, altering the users mood, and interfering with their decision making and motor skills when used in quantity. When used responsibly, it is often considered a relaxing way to unwind or as an aid to letting off steam.
CBD and alcohol are both easy for responsible adults to obtain. Alcohol is generally available to those in the US over 21. CBD oil derived from industrial hemp–cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% of THC, the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana–is legal at the federal level and widely sold to those over the age of 18, though some cities and states may have their own regulations in place limiting sales.
Common Reasons For Using CBD And Alcohol
- The most common reason for mixing CBD and alcohol is that a user takes CBD on a regular basis and decided to have a drink. Under these circumstances, it is not so much an intentional mixing of the two as it is two normal adult practices that happen to converge. Generally, this is safe as long as responsible usage rules for both substances are followed.
- Pain is another common cause of the two substances being used together, intentionally or unintentionally. CBD is commonly cited by users suffering from chronic pain as being one of the reasons they chose to explore cannabis. It has the potential to offer anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects that help ease discomfort. Alcohol, meanwhile, is a natural muscle relaxer. This combination is safe in moderation, but using too much alcohol to numb pain is a far too frequent occurrence, with or without CBD.
- Other people may turn to CBD and alcohol intentionally to affect their mood or mindset. CBD is commonly used by those suffering from depression and anxiety to promote a calmer, more positive outlook. Alcohol has long been used in attempts to “drink the pain away” emotionally, too many times with disastrous consequences.
CBD’s Effect On Alcohol Consumption
As with many things CBD related, research is limited, but limited studies have produced interesting results. The use of CBD and alcohol does not seem to affect alcohol impairment levels, but it may lower your blood alcohol level. This means that while your car or a breathalyzer may not screen you as being over the legal limit, your actual level of intoxication may be the same as someone who is over the legal limit.
Other research has shown that CBD may be of help in fighting alcohol addiction. It’s thought that it does this by stimulating the endocannabinoid system, providing the “reward” that an alcoholics body seeks by drinking. This can help ease the dependency on alcohol. This does not mean that it will necessarily help keep you from becoming addicted, but that, with further research, it may help break the addiction cycle.
Whisky being poured into glasses
How to Use Alcohol and CBD Safely
- Explore Privately First – If you are using the two together for the first time, do so in a safe, secure environment. This can be at your home or a friend’s home, where you can control what you have access to and you are surrounded by familiar things, plenty of food and water, and a place you can rest and relax if necessary.
- Moderation Is Key – Just as with alcohol alone or CBD alone, when mixing CBD and alcohol, overconsumption can lead to trouble. Stick with your usual dose of CBD, or if you’re a new user, start with small doses and forego alcohol until you are familiar with how your body reacts to CBD. For alcohol, limit yourself to the drinks you know you can handle, and be aware of how your body is reacting. Remember that both substances take time to become effective, so allow time to establish the effect of one drink before ordering and downing another.
- Avoid Driving and Operating Machinery – Impaired driving is a crime, but it’s worse than that. When you operate a vehicle while impaired, your risking not just your life, but the lives of everyone around you. If you intend to drink, plan on not driving. Call a cab, rideshare, or friend.
- Use the Buddy System – Take a friend with you. They can help you keep from making mistakes you’ll regret or taking risks that could leave you in jail or the hospital.