Health & Wellness

CBD & Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix Them?

Anyone who has mixed alcohol and weed is aware of how real the crossfade can be, but what if you take psychedelic effects of THC out of the equation? 

Though research still needs to be done on the topic, mixing alcohol and Cannabidiol (CBD) seems like it results in a less chaotic and more beneficial experience.

In fact, the current science on mixing CBD with alcohol is downright surprising.

What Happens When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

While a lot more research still needs to be done on CBD and its effects, scientists have discovered that CBD appears to ease the negative side effects of alcohol when the two are combined. 

  • CBD may help reduce blood alcohol levels while you are consuming. Although CBD has only recently become widely popularized among consumers, researchers have been looking into the combined effects of CBD and alcohol as early as 1979

A Psychopharmacology study revealed that, when 10 volunteers were given different combinations of CBD, alcohol, non-alcohol, and a placebo, those who were given the mix of CBD and alcohol had lower blood alcohol levels than any other participant.

This has the potential to make a sizable difference in your drinking experience and how strongly the alcohol may or may not have affected your body. 

  • CBD may protect your liver from alcohol damage. Studies have yet to be done on humans, but a few animal studies have concluded that CBD appears to significantly reduce alcohol’s stress on one’s liver. This is one of the most damaging aspects of alcohol, so if combining your drink with CBD is able to protect your liver, even to a small degree, it would be hugely beneficial.

Even without alcohol in the mix, CBD has been recognized for its apparent ability to protect the liver, which is helpful for your metabolism, digestion, and overall bodily health. 

  • CBD may protect your cells from alcohol damage. Excessive alcohol consumption can easily damage your cells and render you more prone to certain types of cancer, liver disease, or pancreatitis. However, further animal studies have revealed that CBD may protect against alcohol-induced cell damage.

Similarly, this is a great function of the cannabinoid even if alcohol isn’t in the picture in regards to protecting your body’s cells and optimizing health and wellness. 

  • CBD may help ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. If you are addicted to alcohol and trying to quit, you might be aware of how intense the withdrawal symptoms can be, like shakiness, excessive sweating, agitation, loss of appetite, nausea, or anxiety. CBD is already utilized to combat many of these symptoms – especially nausea, anxiety, and agitation. 

While more research needs to be done on the topic, a 2013 study revealed that CBD reduced cigarette consumption in those who were trying to quit, which suggests the cannabinoid may be effective in curbing other addictions. 

Potential Benefits of CBD

CBD is one of the most popular cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. With certain beneficial properties and none of the psychedelic effects, CBD is great for anyone seeking cannabis therapy without the intensity of THC

The cannabinoid can be enjoyed in conjunction with others, like CBN or THC, for an entourage effect. However, it’s become incredibly popularized to turn to full-spectrum CBD and enjoy its effects, whether it’s in an oil, tincture, balm, vape cartridge, or edible. 

Here are some of the potential benefits of this coveted cannabinoid:

  • CBD may help reduce anxiety and/or depression. Since the advent of social media, anxiety and depression have skyrocketed among millennials and Gen Z. With more people suffering now than ever, it’s important to have outlets and tools – like CBD – to ease the symptoms. 

While there are plenty of prescription drugs on the market to treat anxiety and/or depression, they often result in unsavory side effects that leave the person feeling lethargic, apathetic, or worse. They can also be highly addictive and result in some form of substance abuse.

On the other hand, CBD has shown no evidence of being addictive, but it has shown successful results in soothing anxiety and/or depression. 

  • CBD may help relieve pain. Cannabis in general has often been touted for its analgesic properties, and it seems that isolated CBD may have even more of a powerful effect on pain. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system and reducing inflammation, CBD seems to reduce chronic pain significantly in users. 

This may be specifically helpful for anyone who suffers from chronic pain, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or any other pain-related illness, but it depends on the person and how your body reacts to cannabis.

  • CBD may help those who suffer from seizures and/or epilepsy. Along the same vein, CBD has also proven to be quite effective for those who suffer from epilepsy. Epidiolex, a CBD-infused treatment for people who suffer from seizures, is the first FDA-approved, federally legal medication to contain CBD.

The cannabinoid may be specifically effective for children or older patients who suffer from epilepsy. While children or older patients may experience too intense of an effect from THC, CBD is non-psychedelic, yet full of many of the benefits that help soothe their symptoms and promote relaxation and comfort.

  • CBD may help clear up your skin. Aside from all of the benefits that your internal body reaps from CBD, the external can be just as rewarded for utilizing this cannabinoid. Whether you suffer from psoriasis, eczema, or just the occasional acne, CBD may help you.

As we mentioned earlier, CBD is anti-inflammatory, which is beneficial for skin healing. It’s also proven effective when used on scars or other skin inflammations.

  • CBD may promote heart health. A 2017 study revealed that, when people were given a single dosage of CBD, their blood pressures were noticeably reduced. Overall, CBD has shown ample evidence of its ability to promote heart health and wellness.

According to this research, CBD could be promising for anyone who suffers from high blood pressure, or has ever suffered from heart stroke.

  • CBD may contain neuroprotective properties. Many patients find CBD to be great for all aspects of the body, including your mind. The cannabinoid’s ability to interact with the body’s brain signaling systems (like the endocannabinoid system) seems to provide benefits for anyone suffering from a neurological disorder like Alzheimer’s or Bell’s Palsy.

The cannabinoid may also improve quality of life and sleep for patients, and its anti-inflammatory properties may also be beneficial for neurological issues. 

Potential Benefits (and Risks) of Alcohol

While CBD contains several possible benefits and not a whole lot of risks (possible dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, or complications with certain medications), alcohol contains a whole lot of risks and only a few potential benefits. 

Since the substance is highly addictive, you walk a much finer line when dabbling with alcohol than you would with CBD or other elements of the cannabis plant. However, here are some of the recognized possible benefits of alcohol, when used in moderation (no more than 1-2 drinks per day):

  • Alcohol may help your heart’s health. You may have read somewhere that a glass of red wine with dinner is actually beneficial for your heart. Moderate consumption of alcohol may have a positive effect on your “good” cholesterol levels, rendering you less likely to suffer from a heart stroke, attack, or hardened arteries. However, heavy drinking will increase your risk for heart disease.
  • Alcohol may reduce your chance of getting kidney stones. Moderate drinkers are less likely to suffer from kidney stones. This is likely due to the fact that alcohol makes you have to pee more often, which helps clear out the crystals that form kidney stones. However, too much alcohol also results in dehydration, which could increase your risk for kidney stones.
  • Alcohol may help you become more social. This one doesn’t need much explaining – after all, we’ve all heard of the term “liquid courage.” When you consume alcohol, you’re much less inhibited and tend to socialize more readily and easily than you’re used to. However, too much alcohol can make you sloppy, confused, and even obnoxious.
  • Alcohol may reduce your risk for diabetes. Alcohol is known to reduce blood sugar levels, which will make you less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. However, low blood sugar levels can be dangerous, especially for those with type 1 diabetes. 

How to Practice Caution

Although there are a few recognized benefits that stem from alcohol consumption, it really is a fine line when it comes to helping vs. hurting. Along with the fact that all of these benefits have a flip side that can actually be dangerous, there are several other risks that come along with excess alcohol consumption, like increased risk for cancer, pancreatitis, heart muscle damage, high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, brain damage, and an array of mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. 

While CBD may be able to alleviate some of these conditions, it’s definitely not a cure-all or an excuse to overindulge in alcohol. Although the cannabinoid may protect your body to a degree from alcohol’s negative effects, it can also intensify the experience. 

Additionally, you always need to make sure you are practicing caution when consuming alcohol, especially when it comes to transportation. Never get behind the wheel if you are at all impaired, whether it be from cannabis or alcohol – and especially not if you’ve partaken in both.

Make sure to arrange for a designated driver who isn’t partaking in any substances, an Uber, or make plans to stay the night wherever you’ll be consuming. 

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