CBD is running rampant in the world of health and wellness, with more and more products popping up all over the place. Years ago, if you wanted to try CBD, your options were limited. Now, you can find a plethora of products that are CBD-infused, like lip and body balms, body creams, protein bars, and even alcoholic beverages.
Whether you’re looking at CBD-infused beers and shots or using some CBD oil while drinking your favorite beverage, you’re probably wondering what happens when you mix CBD with alcohol. Let’s look at some of the known effects of combining the two.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that is naturally found in the cannabis plant. CBD, unlike THC — the active cannabis ingredient, does not have the psychoactive properties that cause the high feeling associated with consuming marijuana.
After being extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD oil is mixed with a carrier oil, like palm, olive, hemp seed, or coconut oil. For a while, CBD oil was the most popular method of consumption, but, as it has been gaining in popularity, CBD can be found in many forms, including capsules, sprays, food products, shots, and tinctures.
When you ingest CBD, it affects your body’s endocannabinoid system — this system regulates your appetite, mood, and sleep patterns. CBD is typically known to produce a calm and relaxing result, along with its many known health benefits.
But, what happens when you mix CBD with alcohol?
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The Effects of Mixing CBD and Alcohol
To know the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol, it’s crucial to understand how CBD affects your body. CBD binds to various receptor pathways, the most well-known receptor being CB2. The CB2 cannabinoid receptor regulates inflammation and immune system response, among other functions.
There are different genetic variations of the CB2 receptor; this means that CBD affects everyone differently, which you should consider when mixing it with alcohol comes into the equation.
It’s impossible to make a definitive statement on the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol since a person’s response to CBD depends mostly on their genetics.
Alcohol is known to promote relaxation and reduce inhibitions, and CBD has similar effects on the body. When taken together, these effects could likely be amplified, causing increased sedation and tiredness.
The health effects of mixing CBD and alcohol is an under-researched area; we still don’t know the exact effects of combining the two substances. For example, one study showed that mixing the two caused significant impairment to motor functions and alteration of the participants’ sense of time.
But, this study used a significantly higher amount of CBD than typically used and is quite outdated.
CBD Combats the Side Effects of Alcohol
While we may not know as much as we would like to about the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol, research shows that CBD can help protect against some of the negative effects of alcohol. These include:
Cell Disease and Damage
Over time, alcohol consumption can damage cells and increase the risk of diseases like pancreatitis, certain types of cancer, and liver disease. Some animal studies have shown that CBD helps protect against the cell damage that consuming alcohol can cause.
This study showed that CBD-rich extracts protect against fatty liver disease that is caused by excessive alcohol consumption. CBD increased the process called autophagy, which promotes tissue regeneration and the turnover of new cells.
It is still unclear if CBD has the same effects in humans — there simply aren’t enough studies to know for sure.
Related: Promising CBD Research Results
Reduced BAC Levels
The more alcohol that you consume, the higher your blood alcohol (BAC) level will be. High BAC levels are associated with decreased cognitive function and a loss of motor controls.
Studies on CBD being able to reduce BAC levels when taken with alcohol have conflicting findings. Some animal studies report that CBD had absolutely no effect on BAC levels when it was given alongside alcohol.
Remember that outdated study we mentioned earlier? It showed that participants had significantly lower BAC levels when consuming CBD with alcohol — it’s important to understand that the participants were given 200 mg of CBD, which is a much higher dose than most people typically use.
More research is needed to know the true effects of CBD and blood alcohol levels in humans.
CBD and Hangovers
What about the morning after drinking a little too much? While CBD is by no means a miracle hangover cure, and it won’t alleviate intoxication or motor skill impairment, it can help ease some of the symptoms. Nausea and headaches, two of the most notorious hangover symptoms, can be effectively treated with CBD oil for most people.
CBD also has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that make it an excellent option to help you feel a little bit better during your hangover. As we explained before, everyone’s body reacts differently to both CBD and alcohol, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment.
Should You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
There is not an absolute answer when it comes to mixing CBD and alcohol — only you will know how the combination affects your body. There simply isn’t enough research that shows the effects of combining the two substances and whether or not they can cause adverse health effects together.
Related: CBD Clinical Trials
Since CBD affects everyone differently, it’s almost impossible to determine how each person would react when mixing CBD and alcohol. Also, most current studies focus on the effects of drinking high amounts of alcohol while taking CBD, rather than what happens when consuming CBD with a few drinks here and there.
If you want to take CBD while drinking alcohol, make sure to start with small doses of each to minimize the risks of unwanted side effects and the possibility of adverse health conditions.
What’s one of the most important things when considering using CBD? Make sure that the products are made with high-quality hemp extract!