CBD Oil And Alcohol

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CBD and alcohol may amplify each other's effects, and mixing them together might produce unwanted consequences that you should know. CBD dissolves in alcohol, but does it mean you should mix the two? What happens when you take CBD with alcohol, and how can CBD help on the way to recovery from alcohol withdrawals, hangovers, and more? How relaxed is too relaxed?

Everything That Happens When You Mix CBD and Alcohol

CBD and alcohol have tumultuous – yet similar – histories. Each faced government resistance and came out on top. But while their backgrounds share some common ground, CBD and alcohol’s effects on the body and central nervous system differ in some areas and are eerily similar in others.

So is CBD helpful or harmful when mixed with alcohol? The jury is still out, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to mix CBD oil and alcohol. Before you make any rash choices, consider what happens when you mix CBD with alcohol.

This article will review what studies say, our findings, and years of knowledge surrounding CBD and how CBD and alcohol interact with each other when mixed and more.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” a major chemical compound (cannabinoid) found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species (a.k.a. “hemp” or “marijuana”).

Historically, cannabis is best known for its THC-induced effects, specifically the euphoric high. But this is where CBD and THC go their separate ways. While THC is intoxicating, CBD isn’t.

CBD is also federally legal, unlike “marijuana,” cannabis containing over 0.3% THC. The extract comes in a variety of forms, like CBD oil, edibles, and vapes.

One important (and possibly harmful) similarity is that alcohol and CBD oil both use the CYP450 liver enzyme. This forced combination of alcohol and CBD trigger a negative interaction, as is the case with many prescription medications .

What Happens When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

We have very little research on CBD oil and alcohol. The information available either relies on small human sample sizes or rodents. These give us a vague idea about the effects of alcohol and CBD.

Studies show CBD’s interaction with alcohol is strangely contradictory. Rather than being completely good or bad, the effects of alcohol and CBD lie somewhere in between.

1. CBD Could Increase Intoxication

CBD and alcohol are both nervous system depressants, meaning they mentally relax you. Combining alcohol with CBD might increase alcohol-induced fatigue and drowsiness, making you feel tired and sluggish.

A 1979 clinical trial published in Psychopharmacology suggests that mixing CBD and alcohol causes severely impaired motor function and distorted time perception. Subjects who only took CBD didn’t report those effects.

The effects of alcohol on mood are almost comedically well-known. We also have strong reasons to believe CBD, like alcohol, decreases anxiety. Consequently, it helps further reduce inhibitions – which can be good or bad, depending on how you react.

If you want to dial up your drinking experience, CBD might help get you drunker faster.

2. CBD May Help With Alcohol-Related Nausea

Paradoxically, CBD appears to enhance alcohol’s “good” effects while fighting the negative ones. Nausea and vomiting are classic signs you’ve had too much alcohol, with your body trying to purge the excess.

But if you’re worried about throwing up, CBD might help prevent or relieve nausea. For instance, a 2001 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology observed antiemetic effects in rodents receiving CBD.

But while this helps curb the unpleasant experience, repressing alcohol-induced nausea with CBD (or any method) isn’t a good idea. Vomiting is a sign of toxicity. Your body tries to eliminate the poison (in this case alcohol) from your stomach to prevent further harm.

Like it or not, purging excess alcohol is necessary for your health and safety. Repressing the function will make it harder to flush your system and could cause alcohol poisoning .

3. There’s a Chance CBD Can Lower Blood Alcohol Levels

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) determines how intoxicated you feel, although the intensity varies based on tolerance. As blood alcohol levels spike, so does the risk of poisoning.

Ironically, mixing alcohol and CBD, in this case, might help.

The above study from 1979 gave 10 human participants 200 mg of CBD, along with alcohol. Researchers noted that CBD reduced blood alcohol levels, while nothing changed with placebo.

However, the study is old and very small. Although promising, this is far from conclusive and we should take it with a grain of salt.

4. Alcohol and CBD Reduce Blood Pressure

We often hear how high blood pressure is bad, but low blood pressure is just as harmful.

Cannabis and alcohol are both vasodilators. In other words, they relax and open blood vessels, which is why medical marijuana became a popular remedy for glaucoma.

Alcohol isn’t health food or an anti-blood pressure drug. Low BP forces your heart to work harder. Eventually, the strain could be too much, causing you to pass out – although death is possible in rare cases.

5. CBD Might Protect Against Alcohol Damage

If this is true, the implications can be huge. There’s a good amount of animal research dedicated to the protective effects of CBD.

For example, one 2013 rodent study in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior looked at rat subjects with alcohol-related neurological damage. It revealed a mind-blowing 49% less brain cell loss when the rats received CBD.

Excessive long-term alcohol consumption can destroy your liver. But a 2014 study from Free Radical Biology and Medicine reveals that CBD could protect the liver from alcohol-induced damage. CBD promoted the regeneration of new liver cells and fought oxidative stress – an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants that’s known to harm cells

6. CBD Could Reduce the Urge to Drink

We all know the classic cycle after a night of heavy drinking. You go out planning to drink in moderation, but somewhere things get out of hand and you lose count. The next morning all you can say is “I’ll never drink again.” But most people know it’s a short-lived promise.

CBD, however, might help the same thing from repeating itself next Friday. A 2019 review in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology examined preclinical data and human studies. The authors concluded that CBD may reduce the urge to binge drink.

Again, this isn’t conclusive evidence, but it makes a strong case for further research into the effects of CBD with alcohol.

Does CBD Oil Help With Hangovers?

“Hangover” is the single-word refutation to anyone who loves getting incredibly drunk. Even seasoned drinkers know of this inevitable outcome. Hangovers are nasty and can last a while, with common symptoms being fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and headache.

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If you slipped up and had a few too many shots, it might be handy to have some CBD oil on hand. Earlier we mentioned how CBD’s antiemetic benefits can keep you from getting sick while drinking.

Whether you’re nauseous the night before or queasy the morning after, CBD can reduce or relieve the symptom and make your hangover more manageable.

There’s also ample evidence to suggest CBD could help with headaches, as indicated in a 2011 review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research .

Keep in mind that hangover headaches are a consequence of dehydration , caused by your liver and kidneys working overtime to eliminate the poison. Keep yourself hydrated with water or sports drinks and let the hangover pass…

Can You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

The question of whether or not you can mix the two is still debated. Medical researchers don’t have enough evidence to pinpoint the exact consequences of mixing CBD and alcohol. Evidence is preliminary, human studies are small, and animal research is sparse.

What we do know paints a contradictory picture, with pros and cons forming an uncanny balance. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume the potential effects we covered are true.

CBD can increase intoxication but also prevent the negative consequences of excessive drinking. Cannabidiol reduces blood alcohol levels and protects the liver, but combining the substances can also lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

CBD can keep you from getting sick, yet risk triggering alcohol poisoning in the process. Of course, you may not even feel the need to drink much if you take CBD.

So can you mix CBD and alcohol? Yes, you can mix CBD and alcohol – the real question is should you do it? That’s a matter of opinion and how willing you are to take the risk.

How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can You Take CBD Oil?

There hasn’t been any research about how long you should wait after drinking if you use CBD oil. The effects of ingestible CBD last four to eight hours. Both CBD oil and alcohol stay in your system long after that time has passed – often days or weeks.

However, the key here is to avoid the effects of CBD oil colliding with alcohol in the liver. Theoretically, if you no longer feel the effects of alcohol, you probably won’t have an issue taking CBD oil.

Give yourself at least eight hours to get well past the intoxication stage.

Can CBD Help With Alcohol Addiction?

CBD’s ability to help reduce addictive behaviors has generated a lot of hope for addicts and doctors alike. Studies are limited (like virtually everything CBD-related), but they at least involve some human testing.

For example, a small 2013 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors showed CBD reduced cigarette consumption in smokers by 40%.

It’s great that smokers might benefit from CBD, but what about alcohol? Apparently, a 2018 study in Neuropsychopharmacology on alcoholic rats showed that CBD reduced the subjects’ desire to seek alcohol and other drugs.

Even more impressively, the rats showed no alcohol or drug-seeking behavior for five months after stopping CBD treatment. However, it’s unknown whether this approach will work on humans.

With the positive results from studies of using CBD to help alcoholism, it’s important to be aware of the effects and symptoms caused by consuming too much alcohol and why you should consider using CBD.

Here are examples of the effects and symptoms caused by alcoholism.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Alcohol

Mixing CBD with alcohol might compound their effects, triggering grogginess, sedation, and possibly fainting. At the same time, preliminary (mostly animal) research indicates CBD could protect from alcohol-induced health issues, like liver damage, alcoholism, and withdrawal.

Whether you use CBD oil, CBD gummies, or anything else, try to keep CBD and alcohol far apart.

There’s no need to take unnecessary risks. Until we have more information on interactions between CBD oil and alcohol, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

CBD and Alcohol: Why You Shouldn’t Mix Them?

In fact, taking them together doesn’t do anything good to your body.

That’s because they’re vastly different when it comes to their effects on the body and brain — and the way they affect our health.

Alcohol is a toxin that has no acknowledged “safe” dose according to the largest global study conducted in 195 countries.

CBD, on the other hand, is antioxidant and neuroprotectant with an impressive number of health benefits.

With CBD oil being sold virtually everywhere, people start to wonder whether they can mix it with other substances like alcohol for recreational use.

After all, if you can have a CBD-infused capsule, gummy, honey stick, and whatnot — why can’t you have CBD-infused booze?

Alcohol companies are trying to get their fair share of the cake by infusing their alcoholic beverages with CBD — but does it even make sense?

How does CBD interact with alcohol? Can you use CBD oil to deal with alcohol-related problems, such as misuse, hangovers, and withdrawal symptoms?

We reveal everything you need to know in today’s article.

CBD vs Alcohol: A Brief Comparison of Effects

There’s a world of difference when it comes to the effects of CBD vs alcohol on human health.

CBD

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants. It’s one of the major cannabinoids along with THC. But unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get you high because it doesn’t have intoxicating properties.

On top of that, CBD offers a plethora of health benefits for the nervous system, immune system, digestive health, skin nourishment, stress management, sensory perception, and more.

CBD oil can be extracted from hemp and marijuana, although the vast majority of CBD available globally comes from hemp due to its legal status.

It’s impossible to fatally overdose on CBD. The cannabinoid has been tested in doses as high as 1500 mg daily for several weeks, without severe or life-threatening side effects.

Alcohol is a different pair of shoes.

Alcohol

Also known as ethanol, this substance is the main intoxicant in alcoholic beverages; in plain English, this is what makes you drunk.

Alcohol derives from the interaction between yeast and sugar in certain high-carb foods such as grapes, potatoes, and grains.

Alcohol is the most misused substance in the world. It can have potent mind-altering effects and compromise your cognitive performance along with motor skills and decision-making.

People often feel no limits when under the influence of alcohol; drinking impairs judgment, reduces shyness, and has a depressant effect on the nervous system.

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Some of the short-term side effects of alcohol include slurred speech, drowsiness, blackouts, impaired judgment, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, distorted vision and hearing, and weak coordination.

Long-term intoxication with alcohol may lead to poisoning, liver disease, addiction, nerve damage, malnutrition, gastritis, vitamin deficiency, sexual dysfunction, and permanent brain damage — to name a few (1).

Can You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

The main argument for mixing CBD and alcohol is that the CBD is alcohol-soluble. Ethanol extraction is a popular method of making CBD tinctures and other herbal extracts.

However, the alcohol is usually evaporated, leaving the manufacturer with a viscous botanical liquid that contains high concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids. It is then infused into a food-grade carrier oil to improve bioavailability.

You generally don’t take CBD and alcohol together — and for a good reason.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a vast network of receptors engaged in maintaining homeostasis between the body’s biological processes — including memory, mood, pain perception, body temperature, fertility, immune function, appetite, and more.

The ECS has its own CBD-like molecules known as endocannabinoids. A deficient ECS is likely to cause further dysfunctions in the body, which CBD is supposed to prevent.

CBD signals the ECS to produce more of its endocannabinoids while slowing their breakdown. With more cannabinoids circulating in the bloodstream, the body can efficiently regain homeostasis.

Alcohol does exactly the opposite.

Why Mixing CBD and Alcohol Is Counter-Productive

Alcohol is a well-known sedative. People often consume it to promote feelings of relaxation and to reduce anxiety, social fears, and regulate emotions.

However, its long-term side-effects outnumber the potential short-term benefits. Alcohol has a negative effect on both physical and mental health. It can severely damage internal organs and their systems, let alone the addiction and the social harms associated with alcohol abuse.

Taking alcohol with CBD mitigates its health benefits because it indirectly damages the ECS.

That being said, some studies suggest taking a small dose of alcohol with a large dose of CBD may be beneficial for inducing sleepiness and reducing anxiety.

A study conducted on 75 people to examine the efficacy of CBD in reducing anxiety and improving sleep showed that a dose of 25–75 mg of CBD daily administered for 30 days lowered anxiety markers and improved sleep patterns of the subjects (2).

One small study has found that a mixture of 200 mg of CBD consumed with 1 gram of alcohol for every 2.2 pounds of total weight resulted in significant improvements in motor performance and changes in the perception of time. Participants didn’t experience these effects when they took CBD alone (3).

Nevertheless, this isn’t the most reliable study, as it was performed on a small sample and used a much higher dose of CBD than most people consume daily.

There’s not much research into the exact effects of mixing CBD and alcohol, but considering their mechanisms of action and effects on our health, taking them in tandem seems counter-productive.

Does CBD Help with Hangovers?

By looking at the benefits of CBD, many people believe the cannabinoid could help with at least several negative effects of alcohol — including hangovers.

Although CBD oil won’t help with acute alcohol intoxication or impaired motor skills, it may alleviate the symptoms of a hangover, including nausea, headaches, increased blood pressure, and fatigue.

The antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of CBD also make it a considerable option for nursing hangovers. While everybody reacts differently to both CBD and alcohol, it’s likely for CBD products to ease some of the most disturbing hangover-related problems.

If you want to enjoy the relaxation provided by CBD, you can mix it into cocktail recipes, skipping the alcohol, and having a “virgin” version of your drink with your friends.

CBD Oil for Alcohol Withdrawal

It’s possible that CBD oil helps with hangover symptoms, but could it also help with alcohol withdrawal?

Again, there’s not much research on this subject, but CBD may be able to help reduce the likelihood of alcohol withdrawals by promoting homeostasis and alleviating some other symptoms.

A 2014 study posted by the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine concluded that CBD can reduce liver toxicity associated with alcohol use in mice. The study found that CBD prevented fatty liver disease (steatosis) caused by binge drinking (4).

In a 2016 review from the journal Neurotoxicity Research, the authors found little evidence to support the benefits of CBD for alcohol withdrawals, but it did mention CBD’s affinity to CB2 receptors as potentially effective in treating alcohol addiction (5).

According to Dr. Melanie Bone, a medical cannabis practitioner working in Florida claims that CBD may reduce the harms caused by problematic drinking. By having a positive effect on the body’s defensive mechanism and reducing alcohol cravings, CBD may help addicts minimize the side-effects of alcohol abuse.

These findings are promising, to say the least. With more longitudinal studies examining the effects of CBD on the damage caused by alcohol, therapists may be able to incorporate CBD oil as an effective adjunctive therapy for those trying to recover from alcohol addiction.

Always seek counseling or medical supervision before going cold turkey, even when trying to manage your symptoms with CBD.

Taking CBD Before vs After Drinking Alcohol: Which Is Better?

Both methods have their benefits.

As mentioned earlier, taking CBD after drinking alcohol may help you reduce the severity of hangovers, protect your body against alcohol-induced damage, and improve post-drinking regeneration.

Taking CBD before drinking may reduce your blood alcohol levels. The amount of alcohol in your blood is expressed in blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A higher BAC usually indicates a greater impairment in motor skills and cognitive function.

There is limited evidence that CBD affects blood alcohol levels. One study conducted on 10 subjects found a dose of 200 mg CBD to significantly lower blood alcohol levels than when the alcohol was taken alongside a placebo.

However, not only was the study conducted very long ago — in the 1970s — but it also used a very high dose of CBD, up to 10 times higher than most people take in their routine. It’s not clear whether lower doses of CBD would produce the same effect.

In addition, several studies have brought conflicting results, reporting no significant impact of CBD on blood alcohol concentration.

Is CBD Safe for Recovering Alcoholics?

CBD is generally considered a safe compound. Numerous health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), have recommended CBD as safe and well-tolerated by humans, with minimal potential for abuse and no severe side effects. Even doses as high as 1500 mg daily haven’t resulted in life-threatening adverse reactions.

That being said, studies have reported a few side effects attributed to high doses of CBD oil:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea
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CBD is also known to interact with many pharmaceutical substances in prescription and non-prescription medications. If you take any medication that has a grapefruit warning on it, it will probably interact with CBD because both compounds use the same metabolizing enzymes in the liver. CBD disrupts drug metabolism, therefore elevating the drug’s concentration in the blood. This, in turn, may lead to second-hand side effects.

Always consult a doctor before buying CBD oil to help with alcohol withdrawals.

Does CBD Protect Cells Against Damage and Disease?

Alcohol abuse can result in damaged cells, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and chronic diseases such as liver disease, pancreatitis, and certain types of cancer.

Several animal-based studies have observed that CBD demonstrates neuroprotective properties, reducing the damage caused by binge drinking.

For example, one study on rats concluded that topical CBD administration lowered the brain-cell damage caused by excessive drinking by up to 49% (6).

In another study, CBD administration to mice provided them with better protection against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by promoting autophagy, a process that supports cell regeneration (7).

One study has correlated the use of CBD-rich cannabis extracts with an increased risk of liver toxicity in mice. However, some of the mice in that study were force-fed with extremely large doses of CBD from the whole-plant extract.

We don’t know if CBD could produce similar results in humans; the results from animal samples have never been replicated on human subjects.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Alcohol

Small doses of alcohol may intensify the effects of CBD, leading to drowsiness and sedation.

However, taking CBD with alcohol is counterproductive from the wellness point of view due to the negative impact of long-term alcohol use on the body and brain.

Some human and animal studies show that CBD has the potential to protect cells against alcohol-induced damage, reduce blood alcohol concentration, and control addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Until more research is conducted, it’s unclear whether taking CBD alongside alcohol can be safe (even in small doses). For now, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

This Is What Happens When You Mix Alcohol and CBD

With CBD rising in popularity, it seems people are mixing it with everything, alcohol included. Los Angeles’ bar scene is spilling over with CBD cocktail offerings, and breweries are selling CBD-infused beer. But is mixing CBD and alcohol actually a good idea?

For those who don’t know, cannabidiol [CBD] is a compound in weed with relaxant effects, but it’s not psychoactive in the way that THC is, so it won’t get you high. It’s sold as oil, in edibles, capsules, vape juice, and, apparently, alcohol.

Even if you’re not slapping the two together in a drink, CBD and alcohol can interact if you take them within four to eight hours of each other, says James Giordano, professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. This means that if you have a drink with dinner then take CBD dab before bed, the CBD could have a stronger effect than it would without the alcohol.

Since alcohol and CBD both relax you and lower your inhibitions, these effects could be especially strong and long-lasting when you mix the two substances. “On CBD, you’re very chill, very lighthearted, mellow. The alcohol will make that more intense,” Giordano says. “For some people, it makes them very, very sedated.” For this reason, he doesn’t recommend the combination.

“Like anything else, as doses increase of either or both, you get yourself more into a problem,” he explains. “The more you drink, the more CBD you’re taking, you get a potentiated effect that’s greater than the effect of either alone. The level of intoxication is going to be greater: greater loss of control, inhibition, motor coordination, and that becomes problematic.”

The effect this combination will have on you depends on what kind of drunk you are, though. “If you’re a happy drunk, then CBD could make you a happier drunk,” Giordano says. “If you’re an angry or violent drunk, the CBD may certainly disinhibit some of that.”

But there could actually be benefits to taking CBD with alcohol, suggests Soyona Rafatja, a New York-based functional and integrative family medicine physician. One study in the journal Psychopharmacology found that people who had alcohol and a CBD capsule had lower blood alcohol levels than those who had alcohol alone, though they experienced the same impairments in cognition and motor coordination. Another study in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior found that rodents experienced less alcohol-induced neurodegeneration if they received CBD through a topical gel while the alcohol was administered.

More research from Free Radical Biology & Medicine showed that rodents that ingested CBD 30 minutes before ingesting alcohol were less likely to experience alcohol-induced oxidative damage in the liver than those that didn’t have the CBD. While they’re just animal studies, experts think they’re quite telling. “Alcohol decreases autophagy [degradation of damaged cells] in the liver, causing fat to accumulate in the liver and therefore cause fatty liver, inflammation, and hepatitis,” Rafatjah explains. CBD does the opposite, spurring damaged cells to degenerate, which can counteract alcohol’s effects.

Jordan Tishler, president of the medical cannabis practice InhaleMD and the Association of Cannabis Specialists, on the other hand, says there isn’t enough research to prove any interaction between alcohol and CBD. He’s more concerned about people mixing alcohol with THC—this, he says, increases THC levels in the blood eightfold.

So, the jury’s still out on the effects of combining alcohol and CBD, and experts can’t even seem to agree. If you’re going to take CBD and alcohol together, Giordano recommends at least keeping the doses low and trying both on their own first so you know how you react to them. “People who don’t drink or do CBD regularly, if they drink and do CBD together, good luck—that’s really going to be unpredictable,” he says. “If there’s any prediction at all, that prediction is, that person’s going to be pretty stoned.”

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