CBD and alcohol: do they mix?
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- What are the effects of mixing alcohol and CBD?
- Does CBD oil help with hangovers?
- CBD for alcohol withdrawal
As cannabis products seep into the beverage sector, cannabidiol (CBD) is popping up on a lot of drink menus. But what are the effects of mixing, for example, CBD oil or CBD gummies, with alcohol? Most importantly, is the combination of CBD and alcohol actually safe?
What are the effects of mixing alcohol and CBD?
Though we still have much to learn about CBD’s medicinal value, the key to understanding its effects is knowing how it interacts with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is largely responsible for maintaining the body’s internal balance, or homeostasis.
CBD binds to several receptor pathways in the body, including the most well-known cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. When the CB2 receptor is activated, for example, whether by endogenous cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from the cannabis plant), it may regulate immune responses, inflammation, and other functions.
Not all CBD reactions are the same because not all human bodies are the same. There are at least seven genetic mutations of the CB2 receptor, for example, which may in turn alter the way one individual responds to CBD as opposed to another. As a result, how one person reacts to a mix of CBD and alcohol may differ significantly from another.
The way our bodies take in and metabolize CBD is complex, which makes it difficult to make any definitive statements on what to expect if you mix it with alcohol. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The way our bodies take in and metabolize CBD is complex and under-researched, which makes it difficult to make any definitive statements on what to expect if you mix it with alcohol. An individual’s response to CBD, like THC, is largely dependent on genetics.
With that in mind, we can still make a few general assumptions based on existing research — namely that mixing CBD and alcohol may lower blood alcohol levels while reducing some of alcohol’s toxic effects on the liver.
In 1979, a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology gave 10 volunteers one of the following at random: a CBD capsule and alcohol, a CBD capsule and orange juice, a placebo with orange juice, or alcohol on its own. Participants who were given the mix of CBD and alcohol had lower blood alcohol levels than participants who had just been given alcohol, though there weren’t any notable differences in impairment of motor skills.
So while CBD may affect a person’s blood alcohol level, it may not temper the immediate outward effects of alcohol use. In fact, because both alcohol and CBD can be sedating in high doses, they may produce a higher level of sedation when taken together.
Because both alcohol and CBD can be sedating in high doses, they may produce a higher level of sedation when taken together. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A few animal studies have also shown that CBD may mitigate neurodegenerative and oxidative liver damage associated with alcohol use. A 2013 study from the “Journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior” administered CBD gel and injections to rodents, which were also given alcohol. Both the CBD gel and injection proved effective in decreasing the rate of neurodegeneration in rodent models.
Another study from 2014 found that rodents given CBD 30 minutes prior to being given alcohol showed significantly less oxidative stress on the liver than rodents who had just been given alcohol. It’s yet to be determined whether these therapeutic effects are transferable to human alcohol consumption, but they do present the possibility that some of the most damaging aspects of alcohol use can be tempered with CBD.
However, based on the limited amount of research available to us, there’s no way of telling whether a glass or two of CBD wine could potentially lead to any adverse health effects, and more evidence is needed to give a definitive answer.
Does CBD oil help with hangovers?
You may or may not already be familiar with CBD oil — a cannabis concentrate, tincture, or extract with a high concentration of CBD — as a popular wellness product. The rapidly growing presence of CBD oil in dispensaries, health food stores, major pharmacies, and on the internet has more people than ever wondering how it might improve their lives.
CBD oil is unlikely to alleviate immediate alcohol intoxication or impairment of motor skills, but could CBD oil help get rid of a hangover? While it isn’t likely to be the most immediate cure, CBD oil may effectively treat several hangover symptoms, including headaches and nausea.
CBD’s neuroprotective and antioxidant properties may also make CBD oil a viable option for nursing a hangover. Again, everyone’s body is different and will react differently to both alcohol and CBD. But it’s possible for CBD oil to treat some of the most notorious hangover symptoms.
CBD for alcohol withdrawal
If CBD has the potential to treat hangover symptoms, could it also help alleviate the harsh symptoms of alcohol withdrawal? Again, more research is needed to say for sure, but CBD may be able to help soften the dangers of alcohol withdrawal by treating symptoms and promoting internal balance.
CBD may be able to help soften the dangers of alcohol-induced withdrawal by treating symptoms and promoting internal balance. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A 2016 review published in the journal Neurotoxicity Research found little evidence to support the use of CBD in treating alcohol addiction or withdrawal but it did posit that a substance that acts on CB2 receptors, which CBD does, may be effective in treating alcohol dependence.
In addition, Dr. Melanie Bone, a board-certified OB-GYN and medical marijuana specialist who practices in West Palm Beach, Florida, asserts that “CBD can be part of a harm reduction strategy to reduce problematic drinking. By reducing cravings and amplifying the body’s defenses, CBD may help individuals minimize the harms associated with alcoholism. For instance, CBD is shown to reduce liver toxicity associated with alcohol in mice.”
A 2014 study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine supports Dr. Bone’s assertion that CBD can reduce liver toxicity associated with alcohol in mice. The study, conducted by researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, found that CBD protected the livers of mice from binge alcohol-induced steatosis (fatty liver disease). More research is needed to illuminate if there are any similar protective effects in people.
Alcohol withdrawal can be very serious, even life-threatening if handled improperly, so it’s always critical for those with an alcohol use disorder to seek medical supervision before ceasing alcohol use, even when taking CBD to help with symptoms.
Additionally, CBD cocktails may be useful for those who want to enjoy the relaxing experience of a cocktail without alcohol. Simply add CBD oil to your favorite cocktail recipe, withhold the liquor, and enjoy the CBD-infused drink in a social setting.
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Can You Take CBD Oil And Drink Alcohol?
If you regularly consume CBD oil, you may be wondering if it is safe to mix with alcohol. While the short answer appears to be yes, in truth, the topic is not as straightforward as it seems. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about taking CBD oil and alcohol together.
Can you mix CBD oil and alcohol?
Whether it is relaxing after a tough day or heading out with friends, for many, a few drinks is an excellent way to unwind. But, if you’re taking CBD oil at the same time, you may be concerned about the two interacting, and how that will make you feel.
To understand the combined effect of CBD oil and alcohol, we first need to look at the two substances separately.
Despite starting as a handful of yeast and sugars, alcohol acts as a powerful depressant. By interacting with the central nervous system, it affects our mood, coordination, and speech. And, as many individuals can attest, the more you consume, the more severe those effects!
CBD, on the other hand, has a much more subtle influence. Its impact centres on an interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This vast regulatory network extends from head to toe and is responsible for keeping different biological systems balanced and in check. That said, CBD has also been shown to interact with a variety of molecular targets outside the ECS.
Taking both substances at face value, you might think the balancing effects of CBD could limit the impact of alcohol. However, the reality is, we don’t know exactly how the two interact.
What happens when you combine CBD oil and alcohol?
The relationship between CBD oil and alcohol has yet to be extensively studied, but there are a handful of preclinical investigations to draw upon. The Journal of Psychopharmacology found few differences between test subjects administered CBD and alcohol and those administered just alcohol.
Based on their findings, you can expect alcohol to affect you the same when consuming it alongside CBD oil. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough data to tell if cannabidiol can mitigate the risk of any adverse side effects from consuming alcohol.
Are CBD oil and alcohol safe?
The effects of excessive alcohol intake affect nearly every part of the body, with the detrimental health implications extensively documented. There are, of course, dozens of variables, such as the type of drink and the alcohol percentage, but you’ll know better than anyone what an unhealthy amount of alcohol is for your circumstances.
CBD oil, on the other hand, appears well tolerated in humans, according to a review by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It synergises well with dozens of natural ingredients, won’t produce psychotropic side effects, and, provided it’s prepared to the correct standard, CBD oil won’t contain any unwanted additives or chemicals.
With the limited information available, combining the two should be safe, but as is the case with any substance that alters how we think, feel, or act, moderation is crucial. If you have any doubts or concerns, start by talking with your doctor first.
The growing interest in CBD-infused beers
While researchers are undecided on the specific outcomes of CBD and alcohol, a slew of CBD-infused beers and cocktails have appeared in numerous markets. Brewers from all over the world are keen to understand how the two substances complement each other.
CBD-infused beers are marketed as a convenient and straightforward way to incorporate CBD without disrupting your routine. There has even been interest from leading beer conglomerate Constellation Brands, whose portfolio includes dozens of beer, whisky, and vodka brands.
The crossover between the alcohol and CBD industry is still in its infancy, but it shows there’s significant interest in the influence of CBD. When you consider that roughly two billion people drink alcohol, it presents a market of infinite possibility.
CBD oil and alcohol—it’s complicated
From what we know so far, it’s challenging to say precisely how mixing CBD oil and alcohol will make you feel. This uncertainty, however, hasn’t stopped CBD from finding its way into numerous alcoholic beverage lines, especially beer, where it is enjoying a steady tenure in North American markets. Since research has yet to fully exploit the relationship between different doses of CBD and alcohol, you should take both substances in moderation.
If you’re interested in learning more about the impact of CBD and how it influences the human body, our comprehensive CBD Encyclopedia is an excellent resource. If you already know what to expect, why not browse the Cibdol store for an extensive selection of CBD oils, capsules, supplements, and cosmetics.
Click the link to find out what happens when you mix CBD oil and alcohol, how it might affect you, and whether it's safe to combine the two substances.