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Published Mar 27, 21
4 min read

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Science Photo Library / Getty / Joren AranasWith CBD rising in popularity, it seems people are mixing it with everything, alcohol included. Los Angeles’ bar scene is spilling over with CBD cocktail offerings, and breweries are selling CBD-infused beer. But is mixing CBD and alcohol actually a good idea?For those who don’t know, cannabidiol [CBD] is a compound in weed with relaxant effects, but it’s not psychoactive in the way that THC is, so it won’t get you high.

Even if you’re not slapping the two together in a drink, CBD and alcohol can interact if you take them within four to eight hours of each other, says James Giordano, professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. This means that if you have a drink with dinner then take CBD dab before bed, the CBD could have a stronger effect than it would without the alcohol.

“On CBD, you’re very chill, very lighthearted, mellow. The alcohol will make that more intense,” Giordano says. “For some people, it makes them very, very sedated.” For this reason, he doesn’t recommend the combination.“Like anything else, as doses increase of either or both, you get yourself more into a problem,” he explains.

The level of intoxication is going to be greater: greater loss of control, inhibition, motor coordination, and that becomes problematic.”The effect this combination will have on you depends on what kind of drunk you are, though (What is CBD). “If you’re a happy drunk, then CBD could make you a happier drunk,” Giordano says.

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One study in the journal Psychopharmacology found that people who had alcohol and a CBD capsule had lower blood alcohol levels than those who had alcohol alone, though they experienced the same impairments in cognition and motor coordination. Another study in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior found that rodents experienced less alcohol-induced neurodegeneration if they received CBD through a topical gel while the alcohol was administered.

While they’re just animal studies, experts think they’re quite telling. “Alcohol decreases autophagy [degradation of damaged cells] in the liver, causing fat to accumulate in the liver and therefore cause fatty liver, inflammation, and hepatitis,” Rafatjah explains. CBD does the opposite, spurring damaged cells to degenerate, which can counteract alcohol’s effects.

He’s more concerned about people mixing alcohol with THC—this, he says, increases THC levels in the blood eightfold. So, the jury’s still out on the effects of combining alcohol and CBD, and experts can’t even seem to agree. If you’re going to take CBD and alcohol together, Giordano recommends at least keeping the doses low and trying both on their own first so you know how you react to them.

“If there’s any prediction at all, that prediction is, that person’s going to be pretty stoned.” to get the best of Tonic delivered to your inbox..

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As cannabidiol creeps its way in everything, including bracelets and pillows, it was bound to make its way into booze. CBD and alcohol is most definitely a thing. And it’s not just finding a little excitement. In fact, CBD infused beer and cocktails are taking the world by storm, with craft breweries and bars leading the charge in bringing this exciting new ingredient to the front.

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The effects of alcohol mixed with the THC in marijuana creates an effect lovingly referred to as a “crossfade.” Also known the next morning as a killer, one-two punch hangover. But CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, which is more and more being looked at for its potential effects on stress, occasional aches and pains, and rest, is a whole different story.

CBD can’t get you “high.” Instead, when ingested or smoked, CBD gets to work on your body’s endocannabinoid system in a more subtle way. (The endocannabinoid system is in charge of regulating sleep patterns, appetite and general mood). Generally, people describe CBD as having a sedative effect; producing relaxing and calming results.

Ingesting CBD can stimulate cannabinoid production, producing more for the body and aiding in that regulation. In addition to triggering the release of cannabinoids, CBD is also being studied for its effect on the nervous system, specifically on how it may intercept the transmission of pain signals in the body.

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Because there is no euphoric, psychoactive “high” associated with CBD the way there is with THC marijuana, the immediate effects are subtle. Simply put, if you’re enjoying a few drinks this weekend and want to know if you can still take CBD, rest assured that there are limited compounded risks.