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What Happens When You Mix Cannabis & Alcohol?

June 04, 2021 0 Comments

Marijuana & alcohol are the two most popular substances in the country. Usually, cannabis is associated with fewer risks. It provides various therapeutic benefits such as pain relief, anxiety treatment, etc. In fact, it’s legal in many US states & you can easily access it with a marijuana card NY.

Related- How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in NY?

Since alcohol and cannabis produce different effects, it’s not easy to do comparisons. In this post, we have discussed basic effects of both the substances and what happens when you combine them.

Mixing Alcohol With Marijuana

Marijuana has amazing medicinal properties. Its cannabinoids (THC and CBD) interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, thus changing important functions such as mood, memory, appetite, sleep, pain, etc.

Studies show that cannabis can help in treating anxiety disorders, depression, stress, PTSD, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other medical conditions.

However, there are various side-effects associated with marijuana. Long-term cannabis consumption is linked to brain development issues. Additionally, marijuana can cause schizophrenia in some cases.

Alcohol is absorbed in the bloodstream through the stomach, and then broken by the liver. It continues circulating in the body through the bloodstream until it’s broken down in the liver. There’s no way to speed up this process.

Long-term effects of alcohol use are—liver disease, ED, heart damage, infertility, and central nervous system damage.

Marijuana works by interacting the cannabinoid receptors while alcohol targets GABA and NMDA. And, when you combine them, you may experience enhanced effects of both.

Drinking Alcohol Before Consuming Marijuana

If you drink alcohol before using cannabis, chances are it will enhance the effects of the latter. Alcohol increases the absorption of THC in the blood. This way, you will get more potent high effects.

However, there are risks of a cannabis overdose, also called green out. Symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. It’s important to note that consuming too much marijuana won’t kill you.

Does mixing cannabis and alcohol have a negative impact on driving? In a study, researchers examined 19 people who consumed a placebo or alcohol 10 minutes before using 500mg of placebo, low and high-dose of vaporized marijuana. They noted that with alcohol, the median maximum blood concentration for low & high THC doses were 35.3 & 67.5 µg/L THC and 3.7 & 6.0 µg/L 11-OH-THC. On the other hand, without alcohol, the values were 32.7 & 42.2 µg/L THC and 2.8 & 5 µg/L 11-OH-THC.

Drinking Alcohol After Consuming Marijuana

In 1992, a study of 15 participants was conducted to evaluate the effects of smoking a placebo, low, and high dose of THC. Researchers found that marijuana slowed down the rise of blood alcohol levels after taking a high dose of alcohol.

Since marijuana minimizes the effects of alcohol, it doesn’t mean that you should take extra drinks. Doing so may increase the risks of over intoxication because it’s hard to tell how impaired you are.

So, What Are The Major Risks?

Well, it’s hard to tell because there’s not much comprehensive research available on the topic. Based on the available studies, here are some major risks of combining cannabis with alcohol-

Cognitive Impairment

Alcohol and THC deliver psychoactive effects. They can lead to cognitive impairment. According to the CDC, combining cannabis and alcohol can cause greater impairment than when using either of the substances alone.

Increased Risks of Road Accidents

There’s no doubt driving under the influence of alcohol increases risks of road accidents. However, when you mix THC (whether low or high doses) and alcohol, it impairs your driving performance and increases road errors.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, marijuana and alcohol are the two most commonly detected drugs when it comes to crashes.

Increased Risks of Dependence

Another risk of combining alcohol and marijuana is that you are likely to consume more. As a result, you can develop a dependence on either of the substances.

A Guide For Consumers

We suggest you not mix cannabis with alcohol to avoid the negative associated with it.

However, if you want to combine them, you need to consider various factors, such as your tolerance to each substance. Check the strength of alcohol and cannabis products you are about to consume.

Moreover, the method of marijuana consumption matters. When you smoke or vape cannabis, THC is absorbed in the bloodstream immediately. Edibles have a slow onset, thus they take about 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in.

Related- Edibles vs Smoking – Which One is Better

These two substances may interact with certain medications. So, talk to your doctor before using cannabis or alcohol with medications you are taking.

However, to deal with a bad reaction associated with mixing cannabis with alcohol, you can follow tips, such as-

  • Stay calm
  • Boost your blood sugar levels
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Smell some peppercorns

To wrap it up, combining alcohol and cannabis can increase THC concentration in blood. Moreover, it can lead to greater impairment than when you take either of these substances alone. Other risks include impaired driving and dependence.

So, avoid mixing the two drugs. If you want to use them together, talk to your doctor first.

To access cannabis legally, apply for your medical card NY online. Here’s the process-

  • Sign up for an account online
  • See a doctor via video call
  • Get your recommendation via email