If you enjoy alcohol and use cannabis, you may have wondered whether or not you can consume them both at the same time. While the general recommendation is to avoid mixing substances, combining alcohol and weed has the potential to create a unique and potentially enjoyable experience. However, there are possible risks and side effects of doing so, too.
Before you dive in, be sure you understand how mixing substances could affect you. In this article, we offer a few essential tips for enjoying alcohol and weed together safely.
Alcohol and Weed: How They Affect the Body
Beer and other forms of alcohol (wine and spirits) are beverages that contain ethanol, the product produced by the fermentation of grains, fruits, and other sources of sugar. Cannabis (weed) is a plant that contains compounds known as cannabinoids, most notably THC and CBD. Both substances interact with your brain to produce a variety of effects.
Although alcohol and weed are different, they do share some similarities. For one thing, they both function as depressants, relaxing your muscles and calming your nerves. Many people use them to unwind at the end of the day. Both can also act as stimulants; however, the stimulating effects of alcohol are generally shorter-lived.
One of the most significant differences between alcohol and weed is that the cannabinoids (as well as terpenes and other compounds) in cannabis plants can produce a range of potential health benefits. In addition to helping users relax, it may help alleviate chronic pain, reduce inflammation, ease anxiety, lessen nausea, and more.
Similar to cannabis, different types of alcohol may offer their own health benefits, yet, only when consumed in moderation. For instance, some research suggests that red wine may be good for heart health. However, these studies only show associations, not proof. Other research suggests beer may also offer health benefits, such as lowering bad cholesterol and reducing the risk of kidney stones. Yet, drinking any alcohol in excess can cause significant harm, increasing your risks of heart disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, and cancer.
Potential Risks and Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Weed
While mixing alcohol and weed has the potential to create pleasant experiences, you’ll want to keep the following risks in mind:
Which Substance You Use First Might Affect Your Experience
Mixing beer and weed could amplify or negate specific effects depending on which substance you use first. For instance, drinking first could enhance your high. That’s because alcohol widens your blood vessels, which can boost the absorption of THC, allowing more of the cannabinoid to reach your brain. As a result, your usual dose of cannabis could leave you feeling rather uncomfortable. However, using cannabis long after you drink may help ease a hangover.
On the other hand, using cannabis first could delay the absorption of the alcohol you drink afterward. It could take longer to feel the effects of the beverage, which may lead some to drink more. And drinking too much could result in alcohol poisoning.
The Type and Amount of Each Substance Could Impact What You Feel
The type of alcohol and weed you choose to use, their strength (alcohol percentage and THC content), the cannabis strain, and the amount consumed of each substance can all impact your overall experience. Other factors that may also affect what you feel when combining alcohol and weed include:
- How long ago you ate
- If you have any caffeine in your system
- If you take any medications
- The use of other substances, such as tobacco
- The amount of time between drinking and using cannabis (or vice versa)
Your Tolerance for Both Substances Plays a Role
Alcohol and weed affect everyone differently. For example, you could have a high alcohol tolerance but a low tolerance for THC. A friend could have a low alcohol tolerance and slightly higher THC tolerance than you. As such, you may have different experiences when mixing substances.
Potential Short- and Long-Term Effects
Studies have shown that mixing cannabis and alcohol could have several harmful short-term effects, such as:
- Impaired ability to drive and a greater likelihood of driving under the influence
- Short-term memory loss
- More likely to engage in risky behaviors
- Less likely to vomit (which could impact the body’s ability to expel toxins from alcohol)
Frequently mixing substances could also have some long-term effects, including:
- Poor cognitive function
- Increased alcohol and weed tolerances (which could lead to consuming higher amounts of each)
- Increased risk of mental health problems, such as elevated depressive symptoms
- Greater risk of dependence
Tips for Mixing Beer/Alcohol and Weed Successfully
If you decide to mix your substances, keep the following tips in mind:
Be Aware of Any Pre-Existing Conditions
Both alcohol and weed can affect how your body processes any medications you take for pre-existing health conditions. Note any potential interactions and give yourself time between taking your prescriptions (or supplements).
Start Small and Increase Gradually
Even if you have high tolerances for both alcohol and cannabis, consuming your usual amounts at or around the same time could provide you with a drastically different experience. Err on the side of caution; start small and gradually increase the amounts you consume if you want.
Avoid Mixing Different Alcohol and Strain Types
You’ll want to stick to one type of alcohol and one strain (and product type) of weed. Adding too much variety could increase the risk of an unpleasant experience.
Don’t Mix Substances If You’re Planning to Drive/Operate Heavy Machinery
Both alcohol and weed could affect your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery and your reaction times. You may become just as (if not more) impaired when you combine your substances. Before you get started, make sure you have alternative transportation arranged or that you don’t have anywhere you need to go or do while mixing these substances.
Line Up a Designated Driver
It never hurts to have a friend nearby or on-call to be your designated driver should you need to get home or go anywhere. Alternatively, make sure you have a rideshare app downloaded on your phone and place the icon where you’ll find it quickly so you won’t have to search for it should you need a lift.
Dehydration is a risk of drinking alcohol. Using cannabis, whether you smoke, use a tincture, or consume an edible, could cause dry mouth (also called cotton mouth). The key to avoiding these uncomfortable side effects is to drink plenty of water before, during, and after using the two substances.
Set a Limit
Whether your drink first and then use cannabis or vice versa, you could experience some rather uncomfortable effects if you aren’t careful. To avoid getting too high or drinking too much alcohol, set yourself a limit and stick to it. Use your phone to take notes or ask a friend to help you keep track.
Mix Alcohol and Weed Responsibly
Just as you should do when drinking alcohol or using weed separately, take care and be responsible when mixing your substances. You may also find you enjoy your experiences more when you’re ingesting quality products. VidaCann offers some of the highest-quality cannabis flowers, concentrates, oils, and more in Florida. Check out our products online or visit your nearest dispensary today.