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CBD and Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix the Two?

CBD and alcohol

Tinctures, salves, vapes. Bath bombs, mattresses, leggings… the CBD industry abounds with product offerings.

Then you’ve got CBD and alcohol. Bars and nightclubs are offering CBD cocktails, while breweries, both large and small, are adding CBD to their bottles and cans. Companies are recognizing the consumer demand and offering up all kinds of options.

And then you’ve got the recipes to make your own CBD cocktails at home (even we have some – find them here).

But what happens when you mix CBD and alcohol?

Can You Mix CBD and Alcohol

Just in case you need a refresher, cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. In the U.S., most comes from the hemp plant, meaning it has less that 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating, so it won’t cause the high that’s often associated with marijuana use.

Alcohol, however, is, at its very core, intoxicating. Alcohol interacts with your central nervous system, and can affect your mood, coordination, and speech. It’s known to loosen things up and promote feelings of relaxation. And, as we’re sure you know, the more you drink, the more pronounced those effects!

Now, CBD isn’t going to give you that seem feeling – it’s not going to cause a loss of coordination or a slurring of speech, but many people do report it can make you feel nice and relaxed. In fact, the use CBD for stress has skyrocketed during Covid specifically because it helps bring about that calm.

So, what happens when you mix CBD and alcohol?

The way our bodies take in and metabolize CBD is complex and under-researched, so it’s almost impossible to make any definitive statements on mixing the two. However, there is a little we do know. For example, for a study done in 1979, 10 volunteers were given one of the following at random:

  • a CBD capsule and alcohol
  • a CBD capsule and orange juice
  • a placebo with orange juice
  • alcohol on its own

Interestingly, those who were given the mix of CBD and alcohol had lower blood alcohol levels than participants who had just been given alcohol, though there weren’t any notable differences in impairment of motor skills. 

So, while CBD may result in a lower blood alcohol level, that doesn’t mean it’s lessening the effects of alcohol on your body. In fact, most say that taking alcohol and CBD together amplify the relaxing effects – specifically the relaxation component. This could result in an increase in your sleepiness. Keep that in mind.

Can You Drive After Taking CBD?

We all know that driving after a few glasses or wine or pints of beer is a no-no. After too many, your ability to operate a motor vehicle is seriously impaired – hence the strict laws prohibiting it. And we’re all about safety first!

But what about CBD?

Well, recent research tells us that’s not something you need to worry about. The study, funded by the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative and done at Maastricht University, found that participants using CBD performed the same behind the wheel as those using a placebo when it came to driving ability. So, CBD does not impair driving.

That said, if you’re mixing the two, watch how much you consume – especially since the anecdotal evidence suggests mixing CBD and alcohol can boost the affects of each other – so your normal amount of alcohol may not be your “CBD” amount of alcohol.

So, maybe skip the CBD and alcohol if you plan on having a few glasses or pints.

CBD and Alcohol: Final Thoughts

Remember: with CBD there’s no one-size-fits-all as far as how your body will react. our bodies our different, so our reactions tend to differ. Because of this, how you react to a mix of CBD and alcohol may differ significantly from how your drinking companion reacts. Pay attention to yourself and adjust your intake accordingly 🙂