CBD oil is all the rage these days. Ever since the cannabis laws were changed in Thailand to allow for commercial use of CBD, it has grown in popularity, and people are giving it a try. But what happens if you take it with alcohol? Or if you mix CBD with your existing medications?
First, we look into alcohol and further down you’ll find medications.
CBD and alcohol: same same, but different
If you know anything about alcohol, then you know that it is a calming agent that relaxes and soothes you. It also promotes sleep, drowsiness, and if you overdo it – like 10 shots of tequila in an hour – it will put you to bed (after you have thrown up).
CBD is also similar. While overdoing it will not lead to the same results, it is known to be calming and relaxing – to the extent that it can be used to treat mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
By that logic, CBD and alcohol should work in concert to support each other’s effects. So, if alcohol makes you drowsy and calm, cannabidiol should only enhance it further. It can also be dangerous – if liquor weakens your motor skills, then mixing it with CBD is likely to increase your impairment.
But truth to be told:
- There is not enough scientific research that studies the link between CBD and alcohol
- The existing research does not have a big enough sample size and many of them are outdated
- The effects of CBD vary from person to person, so it is not possible to determine whether mixing it with alcohol would lead to the same results across the spectrum
At the same time, it is believed that CBD can help counter the harmful effects of alcohol.
Reduce blood alcohol level
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) implies the amount of alcohol in your blood. Higher the BAC, the drunker you are with a significant loss in motor skills and cognitive function.
A study published in 1979 found that participants who took 200 mg CBD with alcohol had low BAC levels compared to those who took alcohol with a placebo. However, other studies have had opposite findings, leading to no concrete conclusion.
Help treat alcohol addiction
An overwhelming amount of research supports the fact that cannabidiol can be useful in treating addiction. Whether it is opioids, alcohol, marijuana, or any other substance, taking CBD can help lower consumption, reduce the motivation to drink more, and prevent chances of relapse.
However, more research is needed on this front.
Prevent cell damage from alcohol
Drinking alcohol like a fish can damage your cells and, over the long term, lead to serious health issues and chronic diseases. Excess alcohol is not good for you.
Some research has shown that CBD may help protect against cell damage, which is in line with the anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective properties of the cannabis compound. However, more human trials are needed to validate these findings fully.
The bottom line for taking CBD and alcohol
Given the lack of research and concrete data on how CBD interacts with alcohol, you should not mix the two. The health effects may potentially be serious.
However, if you are a curious cat, we strongly suggest mixing the two in small quantities. Do not overdo it – CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get you higher if you drink with a bottle of wine.
Weed, on the other hand, is a different story. And here’s a nice stoner rule to remember:
“Weed before beer, you are in the clear. Beer before grass, you will be on your arse.”
Smoke before you drink if you want to ‘cross fade’ and get high while drinking. If you do it afterwards, it will hit you way harder.
CBD and medications: take time to exercise caution
If you want to take cannabidiol with your existing medications and other drugs, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor beforehand.
This is because CBD is known to interfere and interact with drugs, leading to undesired effects on your body.
Altered concentration due to the liver
When you consume medicine (or any other substance), it has to be metabolised/broken down before it can enter your circulatory system and do its magic. While drugs are metabolised throughout your body, the liver is responsible for a considerable part of it.
There are enzymes in your liver that metabolise foreign substances, and research has shown that CBD can interfere with these enzymes, thus eventually impacting how they process other drugs and medications.
In some cases, CBD can inhibit the enzymes from doing their job. As a result, they cannot break down the medicines properly in your system, leading to more of it in your body – sometimes much more than the normal dosage. Similarly, certain medications can ‘boost’ the enzymes, leading them to metabolise faster – therefore, you may not have enough of the drug to hit the required dose to treat the health condition. This is what is referred to as “altered concentration”.
There are also instances when the medication, like CBD, can discourage the actions of the enzymes. This prevents from CBD being broken down fully.
The end game in these situations is exaggerated side effects due to increased concentration of the drug in your body. CBD itself is known to cause drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhoea, change in appetite/weight, and dry mouth. If you mix it with other drugs that cause similar effects, you are just adding to the negative consequences.
That’s why you should not mix some medications with CBD, while for others, the dosage may have to be adjusted.
If you are taking the following medicines and thinking of using CBD full-spectrum oil, we strongly recommend consulting with your doctor first:
- Sedatives — such as Ambien, Lunesta and Benadryl
- Anti-anxiety medications — such as Xanax, Valium and Librium
- Antidepressants — such as Zoloft, Prozac and Lexapro
- Pain medications — such as codeine, Percocet and Vicodin
- Anticonvulsants (seizure medications) — such as Tegretol, Topamax and Depakene
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners) — such as Coumadin, Plavix and heparin
The below-mentioned medicines are prone to cancel out the effects of CBD:
Tacrolimus, Ketoconazole, Rifampin, Warfarin, Sulfamethoxazole, Carbamazepine, N-desmethylclobazam (nCBZ), Fluoxetine, Selegiline.
CBD, by itself, can do wonders for you, but if you plan on mixing it with other medications and drugs, do talk to your doctor.
In the case of alcohol, it is yet to be fully known how the two interact, but you can safely mix in smaller doses.