The effect this combination will have on you depends on what kind of drunk you are, though. “If you’re a happy drunk, then CBD could make you a happier drunk,” Giordano says. “If you’re an angry or violent drunk, the CBD may certainly disinhibit some of that.”
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Jordan Tishler, president of the medical cannabis practice InhaleMD and the Association of Cannabis Specialists, on the other hand, says there isn’t enough research to prove any interaction between alcohol and CBD. He’s more concerned about people mixing alcohol with THC—this, he says, increases THC levels in the blood eightfold.
Since alcohol and CBD both relax you and lower your inhibitions, these effects could be especially strong and long-lasting when you mix the two substances. “On CBD, you’re very chill, very lighthearted, mellow. The alcohol will make that more intense,” Giordano says. “For some people, it makes them very, very sedated.” For this reason, he doesn’t recommend the combination.
So, the jury’s still out on the effects of combining alcohol and CBD, and experts can’t even seem to agree. If you’re going to take CBD and alcohol together, Giordano recommends at least keeping the doses low and trying both on their own first so you know how you react to them. “People who don’t drink or do CBD regularly, if they drink and do CBD together, good luck—that’s really going to be unpredictable,” he says. “If there’s any prediction at all, that prediction is, that person’s going to be pretty stoned.”
A 2016 review published in the journal Neurotoxicity Research found little evidence to support the use of CBD in treating alcohol addiction or withdrawal but it did posit that a substance that acts on CB2 receptors, which CBD does, may be effective in treating alcohol dependence.
You may or may not already be familiar with CBD oil — a cannabis concentrate, tincture, or extract with a high concentration of CBD — as a popular wellness product. The rapidly growing presence of CBD oil in dispensaries, health food stores, major pharmacies, and on the internet has more people than ever wondering how it might improve their lives.
Though we still have much to learn about CBD’s medicinal value, the key to understanding its effects is knowing how it interacts with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is largely responsible for maintaining the body’s internal balance, or homeostasis.
CBD for alcohol withdrawal
In addition, Dr. Melanie Bone, a board-certified OB-GYN and medical marijuana specialist who practices in West Palm Beach, Florida, asserts that “CBD can be part of a harm reduction strategy to reduce problematic drinking. By reducing cravings and amplifying the body’s defenses, CBD may help individuals minimize the harms associated with alcoholism. For instance, CBD is shown to reduce liver toxicity associated with alcohol in mice.”
The way our bodies take in and metabolize CBD is complex, which makes it difficult to make any definitive statements on what to expect if you mix it with alcohol. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A 2014 study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine supports Dr. Bone’s assertion that CBD can reduce liver toxicity associated with alcohol in mice. The study, conducted by researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, found that CBD protected the livers of mice from binge alcohol-induced steatosis (fatty liver disease). More research is needed to illuminate if there are any similar protective effects in people.
CBD may be able to help soften the dangers of alcohol-induced withdrawal by treating symptoms and promoting internal balance. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps