With the rise in popularity of CBD, new products are popping up every day, it seems. One of these is CBD-infused alcoholic drinks. But is it safe to mix CBD and alcohol? Can you take CBD while drinking?
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of CBD and alcohol safety. We’ll also look at some studies on how CBD could actually reduce some of the effects of drinking and why you might want to avoid it altogether.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many natural compounds found in cannabis, called cannabinoids. It’s sold in oils, sprays, edibles and even topicals.
The compound itself doesn’t cause a high like THC does. Instead, it is used worldwide by many for its potential medicinal benefits.
CBD works by interacting with our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is involved in regulating many of our body’s processes. This includes appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory, among others.
It influences receptors found within the ECS, namely CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Because not all human bodies are the same, not all CBD responses are the same. As a result, one person’s CBD response may differ widely from another’s.
How does alcohol affect the human body?
While having the occasional drink here and there may not be doing you much harm, regular alcohol consumption and alcohol addiction can take a serious toll on both your physical and mental health.
In the liver, ethanol is metabolized into a compound called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a toxic by-product of alcohol metabolism and a known carcinogen; it has been found to damage DNA and proteins in our cells, leading to cancers and other health problems if left unchecked.
Over time, it can also lead to a weakened immune system, leaving you susceptible to illness and disease.
Alcohol has a depressant effect on the brain, disrupting communication pathways and altering how your brain looks and functions. These disruptions can alter mood and conduct and make it more challenging to think clearly and move effectively.
What happens when you mix CBD and alcohol?
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot of research done on mixing CBD and alcohol.
Some studies have shown that there is the chance that using them together will increase both of their effects.
This can lead to changes in both mood and behaviour.
According to one study, combining alcohol with CBD resulted in significant motor impairment and changes in time perception; these results were not apparent when participants took CBD on its own.
More research is needed to fully understand the effects of mixing alcohol and CBD.
CBD may decrease the negative side effects of alcohol
While we still don’t know much about using alcohol and CBD together, some studies show that CBD has the potential to decrease the more negative side effects of alcohol consumption.
Lower blood alcohol levels
The concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood is known as blood alcohol content (BAC). A higher BAC generally indicates a greater degree of motor and cognitive impairment.
One study done with humans found that CBD effectively reduced blood alcohol levels compared to a placebo. This, unfortunately, does not correlate with studies done on mice – scientists discovered no noticeable reduction in BAC in these cases.
Further research on human subjects into the effects of BAC when CBD is ingested is needed.
Protect cell damage
Some animal studies show that CBD may be effective at protecting against cell damage caused by alcohol over time.
Damage from alcohol to cells can result in cancer, liver disease, pancreatitis, and overall inflammation in the body.
These studies show promise in preventing damage and protecting the cells from the dangers of alcohol.
As is the case with many of the studies on CBD, these were performed on animals only. More research is needed on humans specifically to know the actual results of how it would affect us.
Alcohol addiction is a disease that can be both physically and mentally harmful.
Between 2015 and 2016, there were 77,000 alcohol-related hospitalizations in Canada alone. In 2002, alcohol-related deaths took up 2% of the total deaths overall in Canada.
Addiction can have a severe toll on one’s physical and mental well-being. It can lead to everything from impaired liver function to depression and anxiety disorders.
Multiple studies have shown great promise for the use of CBD in addiction, both for treating it and withdrawal symptoms.
The best part? These aren’t limited to just alcohol addiction, but many other sources of addiction, including nicotine, marijuana, and other hard drugs.
Are there any benefits of using CBD and alcohol?
Aside from the possibility that CBD can decrease the adverse side effects of alcohol, it may actually help with your hangover, according to some studies.
Here are a few ways that CBD can potentially help the morning after you tie one on:
Many people suffer from post-drinking anxiety the morning after consuming alcohol. CBD may be able to help in this regard; studies have shown that it can help ease anxiety and stress.
Alcohol-induced nausea is well known among drinkers, especially if you overindulge. CBD has antiemetic properties, meaning that it reduces feelings of nausea and throwing up.
Pain is another side effect that alcohol consumers may experience in the morning. CBD may be used to treat certain types of pain and could potentially relieve inflammation and reduce headaches.
Some of the symptoms of a hangover can be caused by a drop in serotonin levels. However, studies have shown that CBD may help you increase your serotonin levels by stimulating receptors in the brainstem that regulate the flow of serotonin throughout your brain.
So is it safe to mix CBD and alcohol?
We simply don’t have enough evidence to support the use of CBD and alcohol together at this time.
What we do know is that using CBD and alcohol together may significantly increase the effects of both substances.
We also know CBD may help with some of the physical and mental effects of alcohol and potentially reduce the side effects of alcohol.
CBD could be used to relieve pain, reduce nausea, and ease anxiety – to name a few, but until we have more research on this, it isn’t recommended to mix the two.