CBD Oil And Alcohol

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As CBD is becoming more prevalent, many want to gain the relaxing benefits of the product while still enjoying their time at the pub. But, can you mix the two? Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways. Learn more about each product and what happens when they're mixed here.

Can I take CBD while drinking alcohol?

CBD is growing in popularity . We don’t need to tell you this, though — you already know. It’s everywhere. From skin products, to oils , to drinks , this magnificent compound has been touted to potentially reduce pain, treat anxiety, and be an all-round lifesaver, while not having any psychoactive effects . Powerful stuff.

However, it is still a substance, and as such, many have questioned their ability to use CBD in conjunction with alcohol. No one wants to go to the pub with friends to only have a soft drink because they’ve had a little drop of oil to relax their nerves (it pretty much defeats the purpose!). So, we are here to answer once and for all — can you take CBD while drinking alcohol?

What is CBD?

Can I take CBD while drinking alcohol?

What are the effects of mixing CBD with alcohol?

What are the potential benefits of mixing CBD with alcohol?

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound that exists in the Hemp plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not have any psychoactive effects, which is why it is legal to purchase in the UK . Instead of the high, you can hope for better sleep , less stress, and more happiness .

It can be consumed in many ways, but applying the oil under the tongue and waiting for it to be absorbed into the bloodstream is often the preferred and most efficient method of maximising its potential.

Can I take CBD while drinking alcohol?

Luckily, the bottom line is yes. There is no evidence to suggest that CBD and alcohol interact badly with one another, so it’s safe to assume taking CBD while drinking alcohol is harmless.

That said, it’s important to note that research is still at an early stage. The consumption of alcohol in large quantities is not healthy either way, so we’d recommend drinking in moderation generally.

What are the effects of mixing CBD with alcohol?

CBD and alcohol are usually safe to consume together. However, there are some side effects that you should be wary of. Alcohol is known to reduce inhibition — that’s why we love (and hate) it so much. While CBD doesn’t do that , it helps calm your nerves, which can have a similar effect. That’s why some studies have considered whether the two substances may amplify each other. Our suggestion to mitigate these potential effects is to use verified sources to obtain your CBD, and avoid overconsumption of alcohol.

What are the potential benefits of mixing CBD and alcohol?

Although there are some potential side effects, and we always recommend moderation, some studies have actually shown that combining CBD oil and alcohol could be actively positive for many reasons.

1. Cures hangovers

CBD potentially has some magnificent mental effects that help mitigate anxiety. This is particularly useful in combating hangover anxiety — the feeling of dread that many experience after a night of booze. However, that’s not all. There’s some evidence that CBD actually ‘reduces the alcohol level in your bloodstream’, which means you get less drunk, and therefore, less hungover.

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2. Helps with pacing

We’ve all been there. Anecdotal evidence from consumers tells us that “only one drink” turns into two, then four, then we end up on the dancefloor having consumed who knows how many millilitres of spirit. If you’re one of these people who just can’t say no to a pint of beer — or a shot of tequila — you may be interested to know that CBD may reduce the desire for overconsumption of alcohol . This is usually attributed to the relaxing nature of the substance.

3. Improves variety

When you have delicious CBD drinks, using them as a mixer can be a completely new drinking experience. Instead of sticking to a gin and tonic, why not add your spirit to our elderflower mint drink? And if you’re more of a margarita kind of person, adding some tequila to our gorgeous lemon basil drink can give you a necessary twist for this classic. The world truly is your oyster when you mix CBD and alcohol.

So, while CBD and alcohol may augment each other’s effects on the body, there’s still too little research to suggest there’s an issue with taking CBD while drinking. In fact, most studies lead us to believe that cannabidiol may be effective at combating some of the negative consequences of alcohol, making it a perfect combination. However, like always, we recommend avoiding overconsumption of either substance.

CBD And Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix Them?

Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner based in Oregon.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • CBD and Alcohol in the Body
  • What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
  • CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
  • Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular compound found in hemp plants that can potentially help alleviate anxiety, improve sleep and relieve pain, along with other purported benefits. In a recent Forbes Health ​​survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll, 60% of respondents said they’ve tried a CBD product, and 64% think CBD is safer than alcohol.

CBD can be derived from both hemp and cannabis sativa plants, the latter of which also contains detectable amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC). Delta-9 THC is the main component of cannabis that causes intoxicatingly psychoactive effects.

Research regarding what happens when humans consume CBD and alcohol together is sparse. As a result, consumers generally have access to limited information when deciding whether to mix CBD and alcohol.

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CBD and Alcohol in the Body

Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways, although consuming either substance can result in similar effects, such as sleepiness or sedation.

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When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream quickly, and its effects can occur within ten minutes. Alcohol affects the way your brain functions, potentially impairing coordination and your ability to think clearly and altering both mood and behavior.

Depending on the amount you consume, alcohol can affect your speech, memory and judgment. Drinking alcohol can also affect your balance, raising the risk of falls and other injuries.

Unlike alcohol, CBD doesn’t contain intoxicating properties. Instead, CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which comprises receptors throughout your body—particularly the central nervous system—to produce a variety of potential effects, including:

  • A calming of the central nervous system
  • A reduction in anxiety symptoms
  • Improvement in sleep quality
  • A decrease in chronic pain symptoms

With that said, some of the effects can be less desirable, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vomiting

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What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

With limited research available on potential interactions between alcohol and CBD, the effects of mixing the two substances is unclear. Potential interactions are also subject to variables, such as how much of each you consume and the amount of THC present in the CBD product, says John Mendelson, M.D., chief medical officer and founder of San Francisco-based Ria Health, which offers a medicine-based approach to drinking moderation and alcohol abstinence.

Depending on the amount, THC may interact with alcohol when you drink, says Dr. Mendelson. However, not enough research exists to know how THC in CBD products may interact with alcohol.

“The 0.3% THC allowed in hemp-derived CBD products can go up to amounts in the final product that may cause an interaction,” says Eloise Theisen, a nurse practitioner and the chief nursing officer at Leaf411, an online consumer resource on how to use cannabis safely and effectively. “We see levels of 1 to 4 milligrams of THC in some concentrated hemp CBD products.”

THC amounts in CBD are limited by the federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill of 2018) to 0.3% by dry weight to avoid being classified as cannabis, a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. THC levels are often listed on a CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which is typically made available on the manufacturer’s website.

However, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, so you’re relying on the manufacturer’s claims and third-party laboratory test results to determine amounts of THC present in specific CBD products. Only Epidiolex, a prescription drug used to treat certain types of seizure disorders, has been approved by the FDA.

Ideally, it’s best to buy CBD that contains the lowest amount of THC to avoid alcohol and THC interactions, says Dr. Mendelson. When choosing a CBD product, check the label and the lot number’s COA to find the amount of THC present in the product.

“Dose will be the most important thing,” says Dr. Mendelson. “If someone stays within the recommended alcohol consumption amounts of one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and a small dose of CBD at the manufacturer’s recommended level, there should be no significant reactions one way or another.”

Potential Harmful Effects of Using CBD and Alcohol Together

“I strongly advise my patients against consuming alcohol and cannabis together, whether it’s CBD or THC, since you can feel a stronger effect from both when using alcohol,” says Theisen.

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Side effects depend on several factors, including the amount of alcohol, the CBD dose and the amount of THC present in the CBD product. Combining alcohol and CBD may cause drowsiness, impaired coordination and, in rare cases, vomiting, says Theisen.

Combining CBD and alcohol could also potentially increase the effects of the alcohol, causing the person to feel drunk or impaired faster, says Theisen.

“If someone took CBD in the morning to help with their anxiety and wanted to have a drink or two in the evening, that [combination] hasn’t been shown to be problematic,” says Theisen. “Taking them concurrently is where I get concerned because of potential side effects—whether from the alcohol or even the CBD.”

CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

So far, studies on CBD use with the goal of reducing alcohol cravings and relapses are based mainly on responses or interactions in rodents rather than humans, says Theisen.

“That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some observational case reports where people have been able to use cannabis successfully to reduce their alcohol intake, cravings or relapses,” says Theisen. “However, in terms of actual data, it’s only in animals. But that data is promising.”

One study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research used rats bred selectively for high alcohol preference and consumption and found that when the rats received a low dose of CBD, the number of times they pushed levers that delivered alcohol decreased [1] Maccioni P, Bratzu J, Carai M. Reducing Effect of Cannabidiol on Alcohol Self-Administration in Sardinian Alcohol-Preferring Rats. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2020; 7(2):161-169. .

Meanwhile, consuming CBD alone may help alleviate the reasons some people drink, such as anxiety, insomnia, pain and post-traumatic stress, says Theisen.

“When I’m assessing a patient who is drinking a lot of alcohol, I always want to know why that is,” says Theisen. “Is it because they’re anxious? Are they using it to help with their pain or sleep? Sometimes we can reduce their alcohol intake by treating those conditions with CBD instead.”

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Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?

Moderation is key to safety when consuming both CBD and alcohol, says Dr. Mendelson, who doesn’t recommend mixing the two substances due to the possible side effect of drowsiness, which could create a safety hazard while driving, operating machinery or working with kitchen equipment.

With that said, what little research exists on mixing alcohol and CBD is based mainly on studies of rodents rather than humans. As a result, it’s still unclear whether it’s safe to consume CBD and alcohol together.

Forbes Health covers CBD and cannabis products in accordance with FTC guidelines. Learn more about Forbes Health’s practices and policies regarding how we cover CBD and cannabis as a publisher.

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