What Happens If You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
Alcohol is known for its ability to reduce inhibitions and promote feelings of relaxation.
CBD can have similar effects on your body. Research has shown it can reduce anxiety and calm your nerves.
For example, one study in 72 people showed that taking 25–75 mg of CBD daily for just one month reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality.
Taking alcohol and CBD together could amplify these effects, potentially causing symptoms like increased sleepiness and sedation.
Some also claim that mixing CBD and alcohol can intensify each other’s effects, resulting in changes in mood and behavior.
In fact, one small study looked at the effects of giving participants 200 mg of CBD alongside 1 gram of alcohol for every 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight.
It observed that combining alcohol with CBD caused significant impairments in motor performance and alterations in the perception of time. Participants did not experience these effects when they took CBD on its own.
Nonetheless, this study is outdated and used a much higher amount of CBD than most people typically use.
CBD may protect against alcohol’s side effects
Not much is known about the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol.
However, promising research shows that CBD may protect against some of alcohol’s negative effects.
Here are a few ways CBD may impact the effects of alcohol.
May prevent cell damage and disease
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause damage to cells, increasing the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases such as pancreatitis, liver disease, and certain types of cancer.
Several animal studies have observed that CBD may protect against cell damage caused by alcohol consumption.
For example, one study in rats showed that applying CBD gel to the skin decreased brain-cell damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption by up to 49% .
Another study concluded that injecting mice with CBD helped protect against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by increasing autophagy, a process that promotes the turnover of new cells and leads to tissue regeneration.
One study has shown that CBD-rich cannabis extracts can cause liver toxicity in mice. However, some of the mice in that study had been gavaged, or force-fed, with extremely large amounts of the cannabis extract.
May reduce blood alcohol levels
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your blood. A higher BAC generally correlates with a greater loss of motor control and cognitive function.
There is little research on CBD’s effects on blood alcohol levels.
However, one study in 10 people found that when participants took 200 mg of CBD with alcohol, they had significantly lower blood alcohol levels than when they consumed alcohol with a placebo .
Keep in mind that this study was conducted in the 1970s and used a very large dose of CBD — nearly 5–10 times higher than what is recommended for most people. It’s unclear whether normal doses of CBD would have this effect.
May be therapeutic for alcohol addiction
Some researchers believe that CBD could help treat alcohol use disorder.
This is because some animal studies have shown that CBD can help reduce several symptoms of addiction and withdrawal.
In fact, one recent study looked at the effects of CBD in alcohol-addicted rats. It found that CBD helped reduce alcohol intake, prevented relapse, and decreased motivation to consume alcohol.
Research in humans is limited. Nevertheless, one study in 24 smokers found that using a CBD inhaler for one week reduced cigarette use by 40%. These results suggest CBD could help curb addictive behaviors .
Should you take CBD and alcohol together?
There is currently not enough research to determine the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol.
Several studies in both humans and animals have found that CBD may reduce some of alcohol’s side effects.
What’s more, the effects of CBD vary by individual, so it’s difficult to determine whether mixing CBD and alcohol would affect all people in a similar way.
Additionally, most of the current research focuses on the effects of consuming very high amounts of alcohol with CBD, rather than the effects of consuming a few drinks here and there with CBD.
Thus, not as much is known about the effects of moderate or occasional consumption. For this reason, it’s not advisable to take CBD and alcohol together, especially if you’re unsure how either will affect you.
If you decide to mix CBD and alcohol, stick to low amounts of both to minimize the risk of adverse side effects. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.