CBD and Alcohol

Alcohol has been around since the dawn of civilization. Before modern water treatment and sanitation services, people drank beer and wine, not water. Although alcohol may be legal, that doesn’t mean it is safe. Drinking alcohol to excess, or combining alcohol with other substances can be incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, millions of people choose to drink and drive every year in the U.S., resulting in many injuries and fatalities.

The CBD industry is growing in popularity, and as more and more people start taking CBD, they may begin combining it with alcohol. But is this safe? The research into this area is still ongoing since CBD is such a new supplement to hit the market. But so far, studies suggest that mixing CBD and alcohol may not be such a good idea, and can prevent people from taking advantage of the full range of therapeutic effects of CBD.

What is in alcohol?

Alcohol, or ethyl alcohol or ethanol, is the primary, active ingredient in beverages like wine, beer, and other liquors. It can have substantial effects and impair a person in many ways. Unfortunately, it is also addictive. While most adults can drink alcohol in moderation and not experience adverse effects, many become addicted even after their first drink.

What’s the difference between regular use, binge drinking, and alcoholism?

Regular use of alcohol refers to the minimal, responsible use of the drink. Current guidelines from the U.S. government on alcohol use suggest that moderate consumption of alcohol for women is one drink per day, and for men, it is two drinks per day.

Binge drinking is when someone drinks several alcoholic beverages in a short period, getting incredibly intoxicated in the process. However, a person who binge drinks isn’t necessarily addicted to alcohol. Young people and men especially are the most frequent binge drinkers. According to the U.S. government, binge drinking is defined as four drinks for women and five drinks for a man within the span of two hours. Binge drinking is incredibly dangerous and can lead to instances of alcohol poisoning and overdose.

Alcoholism is when someone is addicted to alcohol. Without it, an addicted person will experience painful and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholism is also called alcohol use disorder, or AUD. Women who drink more than three drinks per day or more than seven drinks per week are at risk of having AUD. For men, drinking more than four drinks per day or fourteen drinks per week is indicative of alcohol addiction.

What are the side effects of abusing alcohol?

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Violence and fighting
  • Severe physical and mental impairment
  • Memory issues, blackouts, and brownouts
  • Flushing

Long term alcohol abuse can also damage the heart, liver, pancreas, and the brain. Alcoholism is also associated with an increased risk of mental health disorders, memory loss, and even cancer.

Addiction and Treatment Statistics

It is estimated that around 15% of the U.S. adult population is addicted to alcohol, and about 10% of all children in the U.S. live with at least one parent with the disorder. Alcohol addiction is also positively correlated to increased rates of other substance abuse issues and higher incidences of co-morbid mental health disorders. It is not easy to determine which came first. In some cases, people with an untreated mental health condition may start drinking to alleviate symptoms. However, prolonged alcohol abuse increases the risk of depression and can also trigger anxiety.

Unfortunately, only around 11% of people with addiction enter treatment and get the help they need. Barriers to treatment access, stigma, and also fear of withdrawal prevent many people from seeking help. Of those who do enter treatment and maintain their treatment regimen, most can manage their condition and recover.

Will CBD cause an adverse reaction when used with alcohol?

Both alcohol and CBD increase relaxation, sedation, and lower blood pressure. Also, a common side effect of CBD is increased drowsiness. The fact that both CBD and alcohol have similar side effects means that these substances, when taken together, will increase the impact of each. In studies on alcohol and CBD, CBD alone does not cause impairment. But alcohol taken by itself will impair a person’s motor and psychomotor control. Studies found that alcohol plus CBD caused a significant impairment in the subjects’ physical and mental functioning. Taking CBD a few hours before drinking, or a few hours after drinking had the same adverse effects. It’s best if people do not combine alcohol and CBD.

Can someone take too much CBD?

Research in this arena is still ongoing, but it’s not possible for a person to overdose on CBD, like they can with alcohol or other illicit and prescription drugs.

How should someone use CBD?

It’s best to use CBD as directed and not in combination with other medications, drugs, or alcohol. The standard dosage for CBD is 25 mg twice per day, but doses can change depending on what a person is trying to treat, their tolerance levels, and the method by which they are taking CBD. For example, vaping will give a person a quicker, more concentrated effect since they are bypassing the stomach and liver.

Where can someone get CBD oil?

CBD oil is considered a supplement, and as such, consumers do not need a doctor’s prescription to obtain it. However, CBD is not legal in Nebraska or South Dakota. In Idaho, CBD must contain zero trace amounts of THC to be legal.

It is possible for a person to purchase CBD oil online from another state, and it is legal on a federal level for them to ship the CBD oil across state lines as long as the oil contains .3% of THC or less. CBD oil can also be purchased from medical marijuana dispensaries or health food stores. It’s critical that consumers do their research on the manufacturer before purchasing. Also, consumers should check with their primary care physician before buying a CBD product. Even though CBD is safe, it can interact with certain medications.

Last updated May 20 2019