Alcohol and cannabis together? Here are the effects on the body

Alcohol and cannabis together? Here are the effects on the body

Modified on: 19/04/2024


It is not uncommon for young people and adults to consume alcohol and marijuana at the same time.

In this article we try to understand what the effects may be on the body and what risks are involved.

Mix of alcohol and cannabis, better known as crossfading

Crossfading is an English term used to refer to a mix of multiple substances, specifically alcohol and marijuana with THC (different from CBD cannabis). While for some it appears to be a mystical experience, many experience less than desirable effects.

As a rule, if a person uses it occasionally, in states where the law allows it, he should not encounter major problems or side effects. However, it is good to be cautious and evaluate all the variables:

The degree of tolerance of alcohol and cannabis
The type of alcoholic beverage consumed
The use of other substances such as caffeine or tobacco
Taking medicines

Another important aspect that is worth underlining concerns the order in which cannabis and alcohol are taken.

a lady drinking alcohol

Drink before smoking cannabis

Although not all studies conducted are in 100% agreement, it is clear that drinking before smoking leads to a substantial increase in THC, therefore making the herb much stronger. The effects may vary depending on the individual, of course.

Here are the most frequent symptoms:

Panic attacks

In these cases you need to sit in a quiet place, relax, stay hydrated, eat something to raise your blood sugar level and call someone for help.

Read also: Cannabaceae plants: all types and benefits


Smoking cannabis before drinking

In this second case, the most accredited thesis is that cannabis (we are always talking about marijuana with THC and not legal marijuana) tends to reduce the effects of alcohol, minimizing them.

The risk is therefore that of not realizing how much one has drunk, leading the individual to drink more; in the worst cases there is a risk of alcohol poisoning.

Consuming alcohol and cannabis at the same time also risks increasing dependence for both, making it increasingly difficult to stop.

According to some studies, it is inferred that a prolonged habit of using both can reduce cognitive functions and even alter the brain structure, in particular of the hippocampus.

It has also been highlighted that several psychosocial factors have been associated with the simultaneous use of these substances, such as:

behavioral disorders
positive perception of drug use
relationship problems
a more heartfelt intention in using drugs

Alcohol, marijuana and the green out effect

Alcohol and cannabis also negatively impact the nervous system, memory, motor system and perception of time.

Another of the unwanted effects is known by the English expression green out, which indicates the feeling of malaise you feel after smoking marijuana, accentuated due to the consumption of alcohol which leads to an increase in THC.

Normally, when a person goes through this phase, they experience paleness, sweating, nausea, dizziness, and in some cases, vomiting and hallucinations.

Alcohol and marijuana can stop the ability to vomit

Cannabis can inhibit the ability to vomit, while when you drink a lot, vomiting is a clear sign that you have too much alcohol in your body and that the latter, for protection, is trying to expel it.

However, by mixing cannabis and alcohol, this ability of the body is lost, leading to a greater risk of alcohol intoxication or even blackout phases due to the high blood alcohol level.

A mix of weed and alcohol increases the risk of car accidents

According to a study conducted by the US Department of Transportation, it appears that the risk of road accidents is significantly higher when people driving who have consumed both marijuana and alcohol together.

This is because both substances alter our judgment, slow down our reflexes and push us to take more risks than normal, without thinking too much about the consequences.

The crossfade effect therefore puts not only our existence at risk, but also those around us, since alcohol and cannabis give the feeling of being invincible and immortal.

Effects mixing cannabis and alcohol

What can you do to mitigate crossfade risks?

Stay hydrated
Alcohol has a diuretic effect and therefore increases dehydration of the body.
Don’t drink more than you should
Smoking cannabis before drinking slows down the process of alcohol and the feeling of inebriation, making you believe you can continue to drink.
Seek help from a doctor
Don’t wait for the unwanted effects to get worse, rely on someone who can really help you, especially if you find yourself in a green out situation, which can have prolonged effects even for several hours.
Eat something
Having higher blood sugar levels can help you feel less sick.
Do not overdo it
Although some states allow recreational use of cannabis, too much is bad. You should never exaggerate when talking about alcohol and cannabis, even less when you decide to mix them.

Read also: Germany legalizes cannabis to “Protect young people”

In conclusion

As we have seen, the combination of alcohol and marijuana can trigger very dangerous reactions in the body, which it would be best to stay away from.

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