What Happens When You Mix Marijuana and Alcohol?
Recreational marijuana use is often accompanied by alcohol, a combination referred to as “crossfade.” It’s a euphoric state of mind that some seek to ease stress and anxiety. Because everyone reacts to the mixture of marijuana and alcohol differently, it can be difficult to determine exactly how the body will react. Some people become extremely reclusive and paranoid, while others may act more boisterous.
We do know, however, that smoking cannabis activates the brain in such a way that makes the blood alcohol levels appear lower than if you were to just drink alcohol alone. Conversely, alcohol has the opposite impact on THC (the chemical responsible for most of the marijuana’s psychological effects). The highs associated with marijuana are intensified as alcohol expands the blood vessels in the digestive systems, making THC more easily absorbed. These reactions can induce changes in behavior and thought patterns that can easily lead to overconsumption of either substance. To avoid dangerous side effects, marijuana and alcohol should not be used together.
What Is Marijuana ?
Marijuana, often referred to as weed or pot, has long been one of the most frequently used controlled substances in the U.S. As more states approve the medical and recreational use of the drug, it continues to grow more prevalent. Marijuana is derived from the cannabis sativa plant. When its leaves are dried, it can be smoked or ingested, resulting in a relaxing high. The plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the agent that causes the mental effects of marijuana. Despite its popularity, it isn’t necessarily healthy for all uses, especially when combined with other substances like alcohol.
What Are the Side Effects of Marijuana and Alcohol?
Alcohol and marijuana both have their own individual side effects, but when used together, these effects can be compounded. Because both substances alter your mental state, their combined use should be avoided. Some of the symptoms of both alcohol and marijuana use include:
- Delayed or slowed speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory problems
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Dangers of Mixing Marijuana and Alcohol
While there are many short-term effects of both marijuana and alcohol use, the long-term effects and addictive properties are some of the most dangerous. Using them together may reinforce addictive behaviors. Studies suggest that about 30 percent of marijuana users have some form of marijuana use disorder. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance, with over 70 percent of Americans reporting use in the past year.
Although both marijuana and alcohol are prevalent in American pop culture, they are risky substances. Because alcohol heightens the effects of THC on the body, and marijuana decreases the blood alcohol level, some may increase the dosage of both substances to feel their perceived positive effects. This can lead to dangerous consequences like alcohol poisoning. And since both substances have the potential to alter your perception, it can be difficult to control and predict your behavior.
Treatment for Marijuana and Alcohol
If you are concerned that your marijuana and alcohol use has reached unhealthy levels, reach out to a facility like The Recovery Village. With treatment programs for substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders (a mixture of addiction and mental health issues), The Recovery Village can provide you with the tools you need for long-term sobriety.
Your healing process typically begins with medical detox, when substances like marijuana and alcohol are cleared from your body under the supervision of trained clinical staff. Next, you’ll move into inpatient or outpatient levels of care, where you’ll focus on living without drugs and alcohol. If you’re ready to overcome addiction, contact The Recovery Village to take the first step toward healing.