15 Jul What happens if you mix CBD and alcohol?
- CBD is a natural compound found in hemp and cannabis plants. Research has linked CBD to potential effects such as reduced pain responses and better sleep.
- Research surrounding CBD oil and alcohol is limited. Some studies suggest that mixing CBD and alcohol might intensify each other’s effects. However, other studies suggest that CBD might offset certain effects of alcohol.
- CBD works best without alcohol consumption or other mind-altering substances
Cannabidiol (CBD) has taken the wellness industry by storm. Research has linked it to several potential benefits, including reduced anxiety and depression and lowered pain levels.
You can find CBD in all kinds of products, like brownies, gummies, and even peanut butter. Some alcohol manufacturers and bars have contributed to the CBD craze by bringing CBD-infused beverages to their lineup.
Some people believe that CBD could intensify alcohol’s effects and contribute to a greater sense of inebriation, while others claim that CBD could offset some of the negative effects of alcohol consumption or even provide a potential treatment for alcohol abuse disorder (AUD). But what’s the truth about CBD and alcohol? Is it safe to mix them, and what kind of effects can you expect if you do?
Keep reading to learn more about how alcohol consumption affects CBD and what that means for you.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most abundant compounds in hemp and cannabis plants and the main active ingredient in hemp-based products.
Unlike its cousin Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t cause intoxicating effects. It won’t alter your mind or make you feel “high”. CBD is non-addictive with little potential for side effects, and it’s legal in the UK when it comes from hemp plants containing 0.2% THC or less.
What are the potential benefits of CBD?
CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is one of the most complicated systems in the whole body, and one of the most important. It’s responsible for regulating several key functions in your body – like pain, sleep, appetite, and mood.
We don’t currently understand exactly how CBD works with the ECS, but research indicates that CBD may contribute to:
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Lowered pain response
- Improved sleep
- Stress management
- Lowered anxiety levels
You can learn more about the potential effects of CBD on our blog.
Does CBD have side effects?
While CBD is generally safe, there is a minor potential for side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Interaction with certain medication
In addition, CBD has the ability to cross the placenta in pregnant women and can be passed to a baby through breastfeeding, so CBD shouldn’t be used by pregnant or lactating women.
Despite the potential side effects of CBD, you’ll never have to worry about getting “high” by taking it. But what happens if you mix CBD with a substance that can be intoxicating – like alcohol?
What happens if you mix CBD and alcohol?
There isn’t a lot of research surrounding CBD and alcohol. But a study from the 1970s yielded some interesting results.
The study found that mixing alcohol and CBD resulted in significant impairments to motor and psychomotor function – more so than using alcohol alone.
This could possibly be because CBD and alcohol both have similar effects. Alcohol is known to induce feelings of relaxation and reduced inhibitions, and research has linked CBD to calming properties. So, it makes sense that using both at the same time could lead to intense feelings of sleepiness or sluggishness.
However, it’s important to note that the study involved higher amounts of CBD than most people usually take – 200 mg of CBD. That’s nearly 3 times higher than the maximum FSA recommended dosage of 70mg.
Interestingly, the study also found that people who mixed CBD and alcohol had a lower BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) than those who consumed alcohol alone, indicating that CBD might offset some of alcohol’s effects.
Can CBD reduce the effects of alcohol?
While the 1970s study found that CBD intensified alcohol’s effects, recent studies have yielded different results.
In a 2019 study, researchers observed that CBD had a neuroprotective effect against alcohol-induced consequences in the brain. However, this was only in a cell culture and not on human test subjects. The study also observed the effects of mixing alcohol and CBD on a handful of human volunteers. In the human subjects, CBD didn’t interact with the subjective effects of alcohol. But only three adult volunteers were involved in the study, so the sample size was limited.
There’s also tentative evidence to suggest that CBD might be able to offset alcohol-induced cell damage. A study in mice found that CBD was able to decrease alcohol-induced brain cell damage by nearly 50%. But it’s unknown if CBD would yield the same effects in humans.
Can CBD help alcohol addiction?
In England, alcohol misuse is the leading cause of ill-health, disability, and death among people between 15 and 49 years of age. The UK government estimates that there are over 600,000 dependent drinkers in England alone. It’s why many people are on the lookout for natural ways to cope with their addictions, like CBD.
Preliminary research on animals has revealed that CBD might have “anti-relapse” potential for addictions. In a study on alcohol-addicted rats, the research suggested that CBD was able to help reduce alcohol intake and prevent relapses. Researchers also found that CBD contributed to reduced anxiety and better impulse control.
This study involved animals, so more trials are needed to determine if CBD could lead to similar results in humans. But it’s an encouraging sign that CBD could potentially support those combatting alcohol abuse disorder.
Is it safe to take CBD and alcohol?
This is a tricky question. While small studies have found that CBD was safe and well-tolerated when used alongside alcohol, the sample sizes were small. So we still need more human trials and studies to determine the safety of mixing CBD and alcohol.
It’s important to note that CBD shouldn’t be used as a way to consume more alcohol than what’s safe for you. The NHS advises staying under 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis – or the equivalent of 6 pints of beer, or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. If you choose to mix CBD and alcohol, stay within the recommended CBD dosage and don’t drink beyond your limits.
It’s also worth noting that CBD works best without interference from alcohol or other intoxicating substances. For best results, avoid mixing the two together. If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse disorder, consult with a doctor or healthcare specialist before adding CBD into your routine.
CBD and alcohol - Takeaway
While research surrounding CBD and alcohol is limited, there is tentative evidence to suggest that CBD could mitigate some of alcohol’s effects. At the same time, consuming high amounts of CBD and alcohol together could lead to intensified feelings of sleepiness or sluggishness. So, until science catches up, exercise caution when mixing CBD and alcohol.
If you’re interested in trying out CBD oil for yourself, Naturecan offers some of the purest CBD oils on the market, formulated with non-detectable amounts of THC and rigorously tested for safety.
Written by Brooke Helton and reviewed by our compliance expert, Paul Holmes, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Manager at Naturecan, BSc Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, Member of UKAS/FSA CBD Food Product Approval Expert Group