What You Should Know About CBD and Alcohol
Posted on November 8th, 2021
Cannabinol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants. In recent years, CBD has received increased attention due to its purported medical benefits. It’s frequently used to treat anxiety, stress, and sleep issues. (1)
As CBD has surged in popularity, it’s been used in many products and combined with all kinds of ingredients. You can even find beverages that are infused with CBD on the shelves at liquor stores. Is mixing CBD and alcohol safe? Are there any side effects to combining these ingredients?
Are CBD Beverages Legal?
Alcoholic beverages are strictly regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Since CBD is classified as a controlled substance, alcoholic formulas that contain CBD cannot receive TTB approval. In spite of that, it’s not unusual to see mixed drinks that combine a CBD-infused beverage with some sort of alcohol. Since both hemp-derived CBD and alcohol are legal at the federal level, these types of mixed drinks are legal.
There are a wide range of non-alcoholic CBD drinks on the market, including seltzers, ciders, and even non-alcoholic beers. In addition, many companies that produce alcoholic beverages are researching CBD. In the future, it may be common to see alcoholic beverages with CBD in stores.
Is It Safe to Mix CBD and Alcohol?
Researchers still have a lot to learn about CBD and how it interacts with the body. But one thing they’ve discovered is that CBD doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. (2) This can make it difficult to predict exactly what will happen when alcohol and CBD are combined.
With that said, one of the more common side effects of both alcohol and CBD is sedation. (3) Combining these two substances could amplify the effects, leaving you exhausted. Studies have also shown that using CBD and alcohol at the same time can cause significant motor skill impairments. (4)
The same studies have also found that it can be difficult for people that have taken both alcohol and CBD to accurately assess their level of impairment. Taking CBD can leave someone severely impaired even if their blood alcohol level is fairly low. Because of this, these substances should only be mixed in a safe environment.
Can CBD Reduce the Side Effects of Alcohol?
Even when it’s taken without CBD, alcohol has many noticeable side effects. Even a few sips of alcohol can have an impact on your body. Not only does alcohol have short-term effects, like slurred speech and changes in behavior, but it can also have a lasting impact on your body. Frequent alcohol use increases the risk of osteoporosis (5), heart disease (6), and even cancer. (7)
While CBD can intensify the short-term effects of alcohol, some studies suggest that it may be able to reduce its long-term effects. (8) For example, when CBD gel was applied to rats that had alcohol-induced brain damage, the damage was reduced. (9)
Taking CBD before binge drinking may also be able to reduce liver damage. (10) Since current research has involved animal testing, it’s impossible to say if the same results can be duplicated in humans. It’s too early to say if CBD can reduce the long-term effects of alcohol, but it’s clearly something that researchers should look at more closely.
Can CBD Help With Hangovers?
Drinking too much alcohol can leave you with a spectrum of negative symptoms the next day. People often experience headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating after a night of drinking. Since CBD may change the way the body interacts with alcohol, can CBD help get rid of hangovers?
CBD probably can’t cure hangovers, but it could help you to manage some of its side effects. CBD is frequently used to treat nausea and vomiting. (11) CBD can also reduce pain and inflammation, which means it could help you to get rid of a hangover-induced headache. (12)
Since CBD has neuroprotective properties, it could also help you to function if a night of drinking has left you feeling foggy the next day. CBD can be sedating, but some users report that it makes them more alert. (13) If you’re interested in using CBD for hangovers, it’s best to take it in a controlled environment first. If you have a better idea of how CBD impacts, you, you’ll be able to tell if it could help with your hangover symptoms.
Can CBD Treat Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances (14), and for some people, it can be highly addictive. (15) In fact, alcohol withdrawal can even be fatal. (16) As mentioned previously, studies that look at how CBD impacts humans are limited, but some experts believe that CBD could help treat people suffering from alcohol use disorder.
Animal testing, however, has been very promising. When researchers looked at rats that were addicted to alcohol or cocaine, they found that taking CBD helped the animals to reduce their dependence on these substances. (17) The same study found that CBD could potentially reduce the risk of relapse.
Some reports also suggest that CBD could help with other types of addiction. A study involving smokers found that people were able to reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoked after using CBD. (18) There are psychological components to addiction, and CBD could help people to curb some addictive behaviors.
How You Can Use CBD Safely
While CBD and marijuana both come from cannabis, CBD contains little-to-no THC, which means it doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. Research on CBD may be limited, but all information suggests that it’s safe to use. Still, there are a range of products on the market, and CBD can have interactions with many substances, which is why it’s important to use it with caution.
There are very few regulations on the production of CBD, and because of that, it’s crucial to evaluate the quality of the product you’re buying. It’s best to stick to buying from manufacturers that provide clear information about the ingredients in their products and use third-party testing to verify product quality.
It’s also important to talk with your doctor before you start using CBD. CBD can interact with some prescription medications, which has the potential to be harmful. Your doctor should be able to offer you guidance and discuss any potential interactions with you.
Your doctor may also advise you to avoid CBD products if you are pregnant or nursing. We don’t know how CBD impacts babies, which is why it’s best to be cautious and avoid exposing your baby to these substances. Later on, when there’s more research on how CBD effects women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, it may be possible to use it safely.
It can be difficult to predict exactly how CBD will impact your body, which is why it’s best to take it in a safe, controlled environment at first. Start out with a lower dosage so that you can see how it makes you feel. You may want to try using edibles so that it’s easier to control your dosage.
While you can mix CBD and alcohol, you should be aware that it can change the way that both substances effect your body. Taking both CBD and alcohol could increase your level of impairment. It has the potential to leave you significantly impaired even if you’ve only had a few drinks.
If you do plan on combining alcohol and CBD, you should either drink at home or make sure that you have a designated driver. Drink slowly so that you can get a better sense of how both of these substances influence you. Once you have more information, you can make more informed decisions about drinking while enjoying CBD.