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  • Writer's pictureKyle Holt

Alcohol & Marijuana: Friends or Mortal Enemies?

Many of us enjoy a refreshing adult beverage at the end of a workday or when cooking out with family and friends. Whether your drink of choice is beer, wine, or even something a bit stronger, you may have recently had the urge to indulge around the same time that you used your medical marijuana.

This begs the question, is alcohol and cannabis safe to mix? And what should you expect when you do?

The Short-Term Risks of Combining Alcohol and Marijuana

In the short-term, mixing alcohol and marijuana can lead to heightened feelings of intoxication.

If you’re only having a drink or two and a small quantity of cannabis, the effects are unlikely to cause any alarming problems. In fact, some people enjoy the sensation that a light alcohol buzz and cannabis can create.

However, there are increased risks when it comes to overindulging.

The first of these is simply the enhanced intoxicating effect that occurs when you have

both of these substances at once. Both alcohol and the THC found in cannabis products are psychoactive, meaning they influence your cognition and your judgment.

Research suggests that the combination of these two substances may be stronger than the sum of its parts; meaning, you are likely to feel more intoxicated than you would

anticipate given the quantity of what you’re consuming. And for some, this combination is uncomfortable, leading to feelings of nausea, dizziness, or being “out of it.”

The reason behind this? Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to remove THC. If you continue to take medical marijuana while drinking, the THC will accumulate, resulting in greater intoxication than you anticipated.

If you do decide to mix cannabis and alcohol, do so in moderation. Start off drinking a very small amount, and slowly learn how the combination feels in your body. And be particularly cautious of using more medical marijuana when you’ve had a drink. You will likely need less than you normally would.

Another fact that you should keep in mind is that cannabis is an antiemetic, meaning that it will reduce your likelihood of vomiting. In the case of binge drinking, this combination can prove deadly. Be sure to limit your alcohol intake if you have recently had cannabis.

The Long-Term Risks of Combining Alcohol and Cannabis

What about the long-term risks associated with using both products at the same time? There is little research for us to go off on when examining the long-term risks of co-consumption.

There are hypotheses that the combination could lead to overconsumption of alcohol, sometimes resulting in addiction. And others that there could be undesirable cognitive effects. However, there is not enough research for us to draw conclusions one way or another.

When you combine cannabis and alcohol, you are likely to feel more intoxicated than you might expect. Be cautious if you decide to combine these two substances. Consume less than you normally would, and drink plenty of water. Smart consumption limits any potential risks, both in the short-term and the long-term.

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