Two of the substances people most regularly use are alcohol and weed, but what about if they’re used together? People may use a combination of these substances to get more of an effect for both, or to combat the side effects of one or the other, but it can be risky.
So, is it safe to mix weed and alcohol? In short, no it isn’t. Below are details as to why using alcohol and weed together isn’t a good idea.
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The Effects of Mixing Alcohol & Weed
When someone uses alcohol and weed together, they might start to notice they feel the effects of one (or both) much more quickly than they would otherwise, and in a more pronounced way. Marijuana impacts certain areas of the brain, including the ones that are responsible for memory, sensory and time perception, thinking and pleasure, among others. Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system.
The THC in marijuana and alcohol are both psychoactive. THC acts on cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which is why so many of the symptoms of being high are cognitive. Alcohol heavily impacts motor skills, on the other hand, because of how it influences the central nervous system.
When people drink and then smoke weed afterward, they have also been shown to have much higher amounts of THC in their blood as opposed to people who didn’t drink. The reason for this appears to be because alcohol widens the blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract, allowing for the faster absorption of the THC.
While most people who use an alcohol and weed combination report a “higher high,” the lows can also become amplified. For example, increased heart rate and impaired judgment symptoms are more obvious.
Some of the symptoms of using marijuana on its own can include coordination problems, nausea, headache, increased appetite, tremors, breathing problems, anxiety, sleepiness and memory troubles. Other symptoms of marijuana use may include paranoia and hallucinations.
What Are the Risks?
While people might go for an alcohol and weed combination as a way to experience a more intense high, this often isn’t good. The effects of weed and alcohol on their own are unpredictable, and if you combine them, this is even truer. You are going to absorb THC more quickly when there’s alcohol in your blood, and this can increase the risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms. These can include paranoia, anxiety, and panic.
Also, when you use alcohol you may black out or lose memories for a period of time, and weed can also affect your memory. You may put yourself in risky or dangerous situations if you’re drinking or using marijuana, and an alcohol and weed combination makes this even more likely.
It’s also important to note that if you regularly use an alcohol and weed combination, you’re at a higher risk of developing a dependence to one or both of the substances.
What is Greening Out?
When you’re researching “is it safe to mix weed and alcohol,” you may come across a term called greening out. This can happen with the use of marijuana on its own, but with an alcohol and weed combination, it’s more likely to happen.
Can You Overdose On Alcohol & Weed?
Another risk of an alcohol and weed combination is that you may take too much of one or either substance. Greening out or using too much marijuana isn’t usually going to be life-threatening but drinking too much alcohol absolutely is.
If you’re using an alcohol and weed combination, you’re more likely to get alcohol poisoning which can kill you. This risk is higher with an alcohol and weed combination because smoking marijuana makes it harder for you to vomit. When you can’t vomit, your body is unable to get rid of extra alcohol. You may not only get alcohol poisoning, but you could also choke on your vomit.
Key Points —Is It Safe To Use Alcohol & Weed Together?
Is it safe to mix weed and alcohol? It’s not, and below is a summary of the reasons why.
- When you use an alcohol and weed combination, your body will absorb more THC, which can lead to adverse side effects.
- Using a combination of alcohol and weed is more likely to cause psychotic symptoms such as paranoia and panic.
- When you combine alcohol and weed, you’re more likely to experience “greening out” which is a sick feeling following the use of marijuana.
You shouldn’t mix weed and alcohol and if you feel like you are abusing these substances, contact a medical or addiction professional to learn what options may be available to you.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.