It is no secret that both alcohol and cannabis are among the most widely used psychoactive substances across the globe, ranking right next to coffee and chocolate. However, if drinking too much coffee than needed, (even if you simultaneously munch on a whole chocolate bar instead of taking only a few pieces) would not lead to significant impairment, mixing cannabis and alcohol can prove to be a shortcut to cursing the day you were born.
Anyway, a combination of alcohol and cannabis should not be necessarily viewed as a gateway to strong feelings of nausea and dizziness. You have most probably heard more than once in your life the phrase “everything in moderation”, right? By understanding the fact that marijuana use increases the absorption of alcohol and that alcohol use increases the absorption of THC, you can actually make a combination of cannabis and alcohol work in your best favor. That’s only possible if you are conscious about what you’re doing, and not merely switching into that “Here’s a toast!” followed up by “Let’s spark one up!” round after round party beast mode ON.
Mixing Cannabis and Alcohol: A Fantastic Idea or a Real Nightmare?
To start with, every human being responds differently to substances. This isn’t only applicable when it comes to alcohol or cannabis but to just about any psychoactive or non-psychoactive substance a person chooses to consume. For instance, some people have a low tolerance to sugar (oh, yes, sugar intolerance is something very real, and so are sugar allergies, too), while others might have a low tolerance to caffeine.
People who have a low caffeine tolerance are known to have very low CYP1A2 activity, which is why these individuals get to experience insomnia and jitters even after consuming very small amounts of caffeine. Similarly, some people have a higher tolerance for marijuana, while others possess a lower tolerance. This is why Mark* can handle significant amounts of marijuana quite well, unlike John* who seems to get totally out of this dimension after taking only a single bong rip (*these names are fictional, and merely for example purposes).
With this in mind, if three different individuals are to smoke up the exact same amount of cannabis flowers of the exact same strain, there is a huge probability that each of these individuals’ bodies will experience the effects of cannabis within a different degree.
A Mix of Ganja and Alcohol: The Cons
Since both alcohol and cannabis cause strong psychoactive effects to be experienced after consuming any of these substances alone, then do you risk getting into big trouble by mixing these up? There is no short answer to this question, because marijuana and alcohol consumption alike, whether in a combination or not, make up for the highly subjective experience.
By the way, it might be astonishing to find out that the USA ranks at number 25 in the list of the top countries around the globe with highest amounts of alcohol consumed (on a country by liters basis). Yup, even though a report published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2015 pointed out to a whopping 86.4% of Americans reporting to have drunk alcohol at some point of their lives, alcohol consumption in other parts of the planet seems quite higher.
For example, in Belarus, which is the country to head the list of the most liters of alcohol consumed annually, citizens were estimated to drink 14.4 liters of alcohol per year, over 1.5 times more than people in the USA do. (
Keeping in mind that alcohol sales have rapidly dropped with 15% in states where medical marijuana is legal, more and more experts predict a further drop in alcohol sales and consumption rates as weed becomes easier to access and enjoy legally across a growing number of states and countries worldwide. ()
And indeed, as more people are starting to realize that weed is not more dangerous than alcohol, it seems inevitable that a huge percent of alcohol aficionados who are concerned about the health damages associated with regular alcohol consumption are willing to explore the world of the good old Doctor of Mother Nature, Her Majesty Marry Jane herself.
Video by: Vox – Weed is not more dangerous than alcohol
As a rule of thumb, mixing alcohol and marijuana causes a significant increase in the mental and physical impact of these substances, and therefore, could potentially lead to a significantly higher impairment.
Actually, it is quite common for most people to consume either cannabis or alcohol. In fact, research data reveals that millennials do find “zero enjoyment out of drinking,” and tend to prefer cannabis to booze. However, a large demographic of people do go for both drinking and toking, although not necessarily on a regular basis.
But if mixing cannabis and alcohol could be a real nightmare, then why do some people love and cherish this combination so much?
A Mix of Weed and Alcohol: The Pros
Drinking alcohol and consuming cannabis altogether can actually be a very well-working duo, and that’s for more than one reason.
For instance, when it comes to handling the pressure at social functions, many reports to feel far less anxious, as well as less tensed. Nonetheless, there’s that special kind of tingly bliss hitting along with massive waves euphoria in cases when cannabis and alcohol are mixed.
Ultimately, both alcohol and cannabis are the Holy Duo of socializing. Of course, this has much to do with these substances causing psychoactive effects upon consumption, as these effects can greatly help people in pushing down some of the barriers in their own minds. These mind barriers are often hard to deal with in a state of complete sobriety, because of our inability to control the mind and that constant chattering of thoughts reminding us of all the duties and tasks waiting ahead to be accomplished, as well as often repeating the same thought patterns regarding different people and situations we still haven’t managed to work out. Not the least, there’s also the pressure cast from social and media conditioning, the desire to be approved by others, and so on.
When the psychoactive properties of cannabis and alcohol are experienced in a suitable, moderate combination, mind clutter can give way to a far more blissful state of being.
As confirmed by studies, “thought-chatter” creates a constant disturbance inside us, and this disturbance also “contaminates” everything outside of us; it creates a barrier between us and experiences, thus, being intricately related with deep levels of stress, depressive-like behaviors, and/or lack of desire to socialize. A combination of marijuana and alcohol can, indeed, assist in holding interesting, uplifting, exciting, and engaging conversations, especially when compared with consuming alcohol or cannabis alone.
Alcohol + Pot from a Scientific Point of View
When the unique effects delivered by alcohol and cannabis are combined, what we get is a huge impact on both the mental, as well as on the physical plane.
On the one hand, consuming alcohol may significantly increase the concentration of THC in your blood. Thus, alcohol can greatly boost the THC potency of cannabis, regardless of the cannabis product one may choose to indulge in, such as concentrates, flowers, or edibles, among others.
The Effects of Cannabis and Alcohol Hit Faster and Enhance Euphoria
It was all the way back in 2001 when Harvard professor Scott Lukas and a team of researchers discovered that when pot and alcohol are combined, our bodies’ abilities to absorb THC can be highly enhanced. That’s because of the way ethanol found in alcohol is found to intensify THC absorption rates in the human body.
Now, what’s even more intriguing when it comes to the science behind mixing cannabis and alcohol and the studies conducted by Professor Scott Lukas on that matter is what the participants reported about the effects experienced from this powerful combination.
According to the people who participated in the study, a combination of weed and alcohol leads to three distinct effects.
1. The effects of marijuana hit more quickly when cannabis is consumed alongside alcohol.
2. More episodes of euphoria were reported after mixing cannabis and alcohol.
3. Researchers also found out that the participants who mixed pot and alcohol displayed higher plasma THC levels, as compared with the participants who were given placebo ethanol.
In a nutshell, when one decides to mix ganja with any type of alcohol, he/she should best keep in mind that it is most likely that stronger effects will be experienced from smaller amounts of the herb, as opposed to consuming cannabis alone. Also, the higher the alcohol content, the greater the chances for having to use even smaller amounts of marijuana to experience detectably stronger effects than when consuming weed on its own. To illustrate this better, if you typically feel beautifully high after smoking 0.50 grams of marijuana, these effects can be considerably enhanced by drinking a glass of wine or beer alongside but will be even more considerably enhanced if you get to combine pot with vodka, brandy, or whiskey.
Weed and Alcohol = Sedative Effects
Alcohol is a central nervous depressant. The more alcohol one consumes, the more likely it gets that a person will feel “down” or “low” rather than “up” or “high,” meaning that instead of acting as an upper, alcohol often tends to be a downer. This isn’t necessarily a bad quality, as it is exactly because of the sedative effects of alcohol why many people choose to drink in order to simply unwind and relax.
However, with cannabis, the up and down effects experienced after use, as compared with alcohol, are a completely different ballgame. For example, cannabis strains that contain high levels of THC can boost energy while also initiating talkativeness, but there are also high chances of possible anxiety, especially with cannabis consumers who have a low tolerance to THC. On the later onsets of the high, many cannabis strains with above the average levels of THC, such as Gorilla Glue and Gelato, often lead to sedative effects, too. Meanwhile, consuming strains and/or full-spectrum cannabis products that are higher in CBD than in THC, such as Auto Critical CBD or CB Cheese, may result in awareness-promoting effects.
With this in mind, the cannabis effects that can be enhanced when the pot is combined with alcohol will vary based on the effects triggered after consuming a particular cannabis strain. That is to say, if you go for taking a huge rip from a bong loaded with Cali Kush flowers (Cali Kush tops 20% CBD and only 1% THC), you are far more likely to experience a boost in focus, awareness, and desire to socialize, rather than feeling like sticking on the couch and spending the rest of the night in some form of introspective, in-your-head episodes.
Additionally, THC was discovered to inspire the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is the neurotransmitter that is in charge of helping individuals proceed to fall asleep. It is melatonin that is responsible for bringing that cozy feeling of tiredness when the fluffy blanket becomes your best friend as you fall asleep with a wide cannasmile. And so, when one combines cannabis strains or products high in THC with alcohol, there are increased chances of the sedative effects of these substances to be further magnified.
And while there is nothing particularly bad with simply feeling like taking some good sleep after consuming weed and alcohol, the negatives come from the fact that the pot and alcohol type of sedation often kicks in with significant motor coordination difficulties, fatigue, and nonetheless, sluggish behavior. So to say, it is not really the kind of peaceful sedation consuming weed alone can provide. Then again, it is the dose that makes the poison, so if alcohol and weed are consumed in moderation based on one’s unique personal prudence and tolerance to marijuana, the undesired effects of above the norm sedation can be handled successfully.
Pot and Alcohol May Lead to Dizziness and/or Experiencing “The Spins”
One of the key side effects of mixing alcohol and cannabis are known as “the spins.” Dizziness, vertigo, and sometimes even nausea, can hit hard if one gets to consume too much of an alcohol and pot combo.
What’s quite surprising is that while consuming too much alcohol typically leads to vomiting as your body is trying to get rid of the toxins, both THC and CBD actually provide anti-nausea and anti-emetic properties. This is one of the dangers related to mixing alcohol and pot absent-mindedly, as individuals could develop alcohol poisoning more easily because of not being able to vomit, thus, to clear out excess alcohol from the body and help the liver recover faster.
Pot Can Slow Down your Body’s Ability to Absorb Alcohol
Ultimately, it was all the way back in 1992 when the THC metabolism-enhancing properties of alcohol were extensively studied.As it turns out, cannabis consumption can significantly slow down your body’s ability to absorb alcohol. It is not only that, but cannabis can also impact the pace of your body’s foods digestion rates. Since cannabis can slow down the transportation of food down the intestinal tract, alcohol gets to be released into the bloodstream over a lengthy period of time, instead of quickly after consumption.
And so, unlike the way alcohol boosts experiencing the effects of cannabis, cannabis can do exactly the opposite when it comes to experiencing the effects of alcohol.
What this can do for the aficionados of pot and alcohol combos is to prevent them from feeling drunk way too quickly. However, this can be both a positive and a negative side to mixing cannabis and alcohol, since one must not forget that even though the body’s blood alcohol levels tend to rise much more slowly when cannabis is present, they will inevitably rise at some point, and if you happen to be under the influence of more cannabis at this very point, you can pretty much turn your connoisseur pot and alcohol experience into a dreadful night you barely remember, except for those hard to forget episodes of sweating like a pig, feeling dizzy, and swearing that you will never ever get to mix pot and booze again.
Video by: AsapSCIENCE – What Happens When You’re Drunk AND Stoned At The Same Time?
How to Enjoy Combining Alcohol and Weed for an Elegant Sommelier Experience
1. Start low and go slow.
Remember that mixing pot and booze is not like mixing macaroni and cheese. There might be quite some potent effects you’ll get to experience after combining alcohol and cannabis, so why rush it? Enjoy every single bit of the conscious experience of consuming marijuana and alcohol but always start low and go slow before you establish an in-depth understanding of your personal tolerance levels to this mighty duo, which brings us straight to point number 2 below.
2. Know your personal tolerance levels.
Even the most experienced cannabis users may fail to make the most from combining alcohol and marijuana. That’s often because of the fact that knowing your personal tolerance levels to weed alone is not enough when it comes to building a solid understanding of how adding alcohol to the mix will alter your senses. And so, it does take several attempts on carefully mixing your favorite spirit drinks and favorite strains before you can clearly realize how this combo kicks in with you.
It is best to start experimenting with a moderate, conscious mix of alcohol and pot in a safe and cozy environment where one can get to truly apprehend the unique action of this combination on his/her body and mind.
3. Choose the right strains.
While there are no best strains to mix with alcohol or whatsoever, it almost goes without saying that different strains will lead to different effects upon use. But most importantly, as far as cannabis and alcohol consumption in combination is concerned, you need to really mind what strains you opt for. For instance, a THC-rich beast like Bruce Banner or Gelato strain might spell disaster to those who happen to have a low THC tolerance. In such cases, you might give well-balanced THC to CBD strains like CB Dream or CB Diesel a try.
Above all, we encourage you to embrace a crafty, creative, cheerful yet serious approach to mixing alcohol and weed. This combo is not bound to leave you helplessly begging for the earth to swallow you, as long as you are not greedy about merely consuming more and more until you knock yourself out.
Our team’s vision of the perfect weekend afternoon or evening spent with like-minded individuals who enjoy life to the fullest elegantly and deliberately is craft cannabis and alcohol fiesta. We do adore experimenting with homegrown cannabis and DIY cannabis cocktails, and therefore, we can assure you that ganja and spirit drinks have so much to offer! One simply needs to be patient and to respect these psychoactive substances for the more does not always mean the better, do you agree?
The Science behind Mixing Cannabis and Alcohol: Final Notes
Cannabis contains numerous medicinal and recreational benefits. When the pot is mixed with moderate amounts of alcohol, one can get to enjoy a truly blissful mind and body experience. However, if consumed in large quantities, a mix of alcohol and marijuana can cause a range of undesirable effects.
There is a rich culture behind alcohol drinking, even though we tend to have been neglecting it in favor for lemme drown thyself in alcohol until I finally forget about single care in the world, at least for the night.
Being aware of the potential side effects of mixing cannabis and alcohol, as well as going at a gradual pace and letting yourself submerge into the connoisseur side of the experience rather than falling into extremes can prove to be a wonderful way to reap the best that a conscious combination of marijuana and alcohol has to offer.