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Is it Safe To Use CBD Oil and Alcohol Together?

By Alan Paul | Apr 23, 2019 in CBD Blog | 5 min read

Two women sitting on a bench drinking beer and talking

We’ve regularly covered the various benefits of CBD on our blog as we’re firm believers in the ways in which CBD can really help.

You may well know that CBD is a compound found in the hemp plant and is growing in popularity due to the therapeutic effect it can have on users, and the fact that CBD has almost zero percentage of the 'high' causing THC (less than 0.03% of THC), which is most prevalent in marijuana.

As well as the benefits we’ve also advised on which drugs should not be taken alongside CBD oil.

Though one query which recently came up was whether it is safe to use CBD oil and alcohol together. Hence the reason we’ve put together this piece outlining the findings of the research which is currently out there.

We wanted to cover two angles within this post, the first of which is the use of CBD and alcohol together and the impact that can have.

Secondly we wished to cover the use of CBD infused alcoholic drinks, as the recent legalisation of Hemp has helped CBD vendors reach sales targets in an unexpected way.

Some CBD manufacturers have diversified how their products reach their customers as CBD is now commonly included in edibles, creams, tinctures, vapes, drinks, and  alcohol.

The Influence of CBD and Alcohol On the Body

Whether you are using CBD and any alcoholic drink, or indeed a cocktail infused with CBD, the truth is that the two do interact.

According to James Giordano, a neurology and biochemistry professor at Georgetown University Medical Centre, it can takes a period of four hours for CBD and alcohol to interact when taken at different times.

When we take CBD it has an impact on the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for keeping a balanced 'ecosystem' in our body. Since our bodies already contain endogenous cannabinoids, taking CBD stimulates the release of more of this into our systems.

If taken in high enough volumes, alcohol is known to have a depressant effect on the user's central nervous system, as is CBD when taken in very high dosages. Therefore a cocktail of the two could potentially increase the impact of these depressant influencers.

For this reason, several experts like Prof. Giordano advise against this cocktail in high dosages, as that is when the combination can become a concern.

CBD With Alcohol - Research Findings

two colorful alcoholic drinks in glasses

Among the few research studies conducted looking into this subject is a 1979 study that was published in a psychopharmacological journal. 

The study involved 10 participants who were each given the following combinations; fruit juice with a glucose pill, CBD plus fruit juice, CBD plus alcohol mixed with fruit juice, or pure alcohol mixed with fruit juice.

Scientists behind the research were looking into the effect of the different cocktails on the participant's motor performance, blood glucose levels, psychomotor abilities, and several other factors.

The results revealed that the participants who took pure alcohol and those who took CBD infused alcohol both showed some level of impairments for all of the tests, and they noted there were very few differences between those results.

Though they found that for those who took both CBD and alcohol together, the blood-alcohol level was actually lower while the impairment level was at an equal level.

In other studies, findings showed that CBD has the ability to deal with some of the negative effects of alcohol. A study published in a 2013 pharmacological journal of Biochemistry and Behaviour conducted tests to see the impact of CBD in alcohol-infused neurodegeneration using rodents as test subjects.

An injection loaded with CBD or a CBD skin gel was administered to each rat before being given alcohol. Both treatments reduced the amount of neurodegeneration caused by alcohol by more than 50% (!)

Another study investigating how CBD would affect alcohol-caused fatty liver diseases was published in a medical journal in 2017. After the study, it was discovered that CBD could be a preventive mechanism against liver complications caused by alcohol.

All of the research studies featured here reveal a fact about the CBD-alcohol interaction; it has the potential to be somewhat positive and helpful.

Although some experts like Prof Giordano do not go as far as supporting this idea, a lot of the research carried out on the topic does show positive results on the impact CBD can having when it comes to reducing the damage caused by alcohol.

To try and add balance to this article, Jordan Tishler, the president of the Cannabis Specialist Association, argues that it is impossible to rely on the little research that has been conducted so far to quantify claims of interaction between alcohol and CBD in humans.

Whilst there are those that offer opposing insights on this topic, Prof. Giordano does maintain that anyone who wants to pair the two as in a cocktail must keep the dosage as low as possible.

This is because CBD is a biphasic drug, which means it interacts with the body differently depending on the amount consumed.

When taken in a low dose, it can potentially enhance levels of alertness, and responsiveness. Though when taken in high dosages some have found that it can have a sedative effect on the user.

Beer infused with CBD is a growing trend in an increasing number of bars across the United States. Although many have remained sceptical due to lack of recent research and perceived unanswered questions on whether drinking alcohol infused with CBD is safe and if there are any side effects.

two cold beers in glasses bumping each other

As mentioned earlier, several studies have indicated that CBD infused with an alcoholic beverage could help to minimise the levels neurodegeneration that comes along with consuming alcohol.

This may be due to CBD containing anti-inflammatory benefits in addition to natural antioxidants that shield the liver from alcohol-influenced complications. In the long-term, the user could potentially experience lower stress levels and less-severe hangovers.

Alcohol and CBD - Final Thoughts

It was important to us to unearth the answer to the question we received with regards to alcohol consumption in addition to CBD usage.

It may be that a mixture of the two could be beneficial in terms of the effect it has on the user, as well as a new way to enjoy a cocktail or a beer.

The studies conducted throughout the years have significantly proven that a mixture of CBD and alcohol does not have the same effect as when marijuana and alcohol are combined.

We would love to include further evidence and findings on whether there is a use of CBD for alcohol withdrawal, but this research is still premature to off any insights.

Whilst the aim of this article is to highlight the research and findings that currently exist, we don't want to suggest that using CBD permits our readers to drink excessive alcohol, we'd always encourage you to drink responsibly :)

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