CBD and Alcohol: Do they Mix Well?

…And, is cannabis healthier than alcohol?

Now that CBD is becoming mainstream, you may take it regularly for general wellness or for the treatment of a specific medical condition. However, how often do you wonder how your daily CBD oil drops interact with other medications, or even with alcohol?

First of all, let’s see, in general terms, how they differ and what is currently known about them…

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What is Cannabidiol?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring component that can be found in cannabis plants, including hemp, which has amazing medicinal properties that are only beginning to be unraveled by the medical and scientific community.

The reason why this ancient plant is only now being studied for its medicinal potential is mostly social, since it carries a heavy stigma of being a cheap, illegal recreational drug with so called “dangerous” effects; which is incredibly inaccurate, and nothing short of a 20th century smear campaign that affected every country in the world.

However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and would be a complete disappointment to anyone who consumes it for the sake of getting high.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the FDA are currently going through the necessary proceedings to officially determine its safety, remove it from the list of controlled substances, and regulate its use as a medicine and as a supplement or food additive. And some countries, like Canada and Colombia, have already legalized the medicinal use of cannabis and its derivatives.

…So, at least some steps are being taken towards eliminating the stigma of illegality of this cannabinoid and the plant itself. That’s a step forward!     

Alcohol

The funny thing about alcohol is that, unlike cannabis, it’s perfectly legal, and has been for a very long time, while CBD has unjustly suffered from stigma and the legal status of cannabis plants and their derivatives…

The constitutional alcohol ban in the United States, known as the prohibition, lasted from 1920 to 1933. And, though the attempted solution probably wasn’t the best, this ban was prompted by social issues like violence, alcoholism and domestic abuse, which seemed to be, and still are, highly linked to alcohol consumption.

Of course, as is true of many regulations and bans, it also responded to corruption and personal interests. But the ban didn’t last, as illegal production created a different kind of violence and unregulated products weren’t of good quality and even caused terrible health issues. Then the great depression struck… But that’s a whole other story.

Today, alcohol is legally sold to adults in most of the world, but it’s not exactly healthy or safe, while CBD is. Yes, it might seem irrelevant, since alcohol is legal, and we generally don’t question it, but let’s see the facts:

  • Alcohol causes impaired judgement and loss of memory… CBD doesn’t
  • Alcohol causes loss of fine motor coordination, delayed motor reactions and balance problems… CBD doesn’t
  • Alcohol causes addiction… CBD hasn’t shown any addictive potential
  • Alcohol causes long term liver and brain damage… CBD doesn’t
  • Alcohol overdose can cause coma, loss of eyesight, and even death… the most serious effects a CBD overdose has been observed to have is lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea; which, to put it into perspective, could also be said of a milk overdose…
  • Alcohol consumption affects brain development in those under 21… CBD has been observed to be safe for minors and is even used as a treatment for childhood epilepsy in children over the age of 2

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And here’s a shocking fact: on average, each day, 6 people die due to alcohol poisoning in the United States (76% of whom are men), which is alarming compared to the 0 who die of CBD overdose…

These facts call us to rethink the way we see cannabis and the way we see alcohol. Why is alcohol legally sold, even considering its effects, while cannabis and CBD are still struggling to fight stigma, unclear regulation, and an inaccurate reputation? Just a wild thought…  

CBD and Alcohol Interactions

CBD, though nearly free of significant side effects, can sometimes interact with medication, different components, and even with other cannabinoids. For example, CBD interacts with THC and down regulates its psychoactive effects. It also interacts with some medications, like sedatives and antidepressants, increasing their effects and side effects on those who take them.

Drinking alcohol while using any cannabis based products, has been shown to produce dizziness, drowsiness and impaird judgement, which are all effects of alcohol consumption. This raises the question: does CBD have any influence in these symptoms? Or are they exclusively caused by alcohol?

The sedative effects of alcohol, for example, are amplified by CBD, taking into account that it has that same effect when interacting with other sedatives. This is likely because it stimulates the endocannabinoid system and makes us more sensitive to sedatives.

But, there is, however, a misconception about this!

Does CBD Make you sleepy? Some might say yes, but the truth is: it doesn’t! Alcohol makes you sleepy, sedatives make you sleepy, THC makes you sleepy. But CBD doesn’t make you sleepy; it reduces tension and anxiety, which will help you get a better night’s sleep… But it won’t knock you out, which I’m sure disappoints many, though it makes it a lot safer to consume during the day.

So, though mixing the two is not directly life threatening, it could increase the risks associated with alcohol consumption, such as accidents, injuries and loss of consciousness.

So… Can You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

Well, I can’t really tell you what to do, but it is not recommended to drink alcohol while under the effects of CBD, or the other way around. It can heighten the risk of falling asleep, falling over, or making poor decisions, which is not something you want and could present a significant risk to your well-being.

There are several reasons why your doctor and I will tell you not to drink alcohol. Period. Since it could significantly affect your chances at leading a healthy, long, and comfortable adulthood. And, personally, I’ll take my CBD Oil over a cocktail any day…

But if you are going out for drinks with friends or family, then it’s better to skip the CBD oil. It’ll make you and everyone else more at ease, and may prevent you from falling asleep before you reach your home safely after a wild night out!

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