Weed And Alcohol: Mixing Marijuana And Spirits

Last Updated: March 22, 2024

Dr. Ash Bhatt Reviewed by Dr. Ash Bhatt
0 sources cited

Mixing weed and alcohol, also known as crossfading, can result in serious health problems depending on which one is consumed first, the quality of the substance, and the frequency of consumption. Although people usually mix marijuana and alcohol to get a more intense high, many times, the results are the opposite, leading to panic, anxiety, paranoia, blackout, overdosing, or greening out.

Marijuana Before Alcohol Or Alcohol Before Marijuana

Drinking alcohol and smoking pot after will intensify the effects of the drug. This happens because ethanol boosts the absorption of the drug’s most potent psychoactive ingredient, THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. For some individuals, this will result in a stronger high, but others might experience a series of unpleasant physical symptoms, known as green out. Some of the symptoms of mixing alcohol and weed include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and sweating, among others, very similar to the ones when combining muscle relaxing medications and alcohol.
Consuming pot before a strong drink will diminish the effects of ethanol. This means that the impact of ethanol will be experienced with delay.

Those who plan to use pot before consuming spirits should pay attention to the number of drinks they have. To be on the safe side, they should aim to consume fewer strong beverages than they usually would.

How Mixing Marijuana And Alcohol Affects Health

Alcohol and CBD

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Calm the nerves
  • Reduce inhibitions
  • Promote relaxation

Alcohol and THC

  • Stronger high
  • Sweating
  • Shivering
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Possibility of overdosing

Smoking weed and drinking

  • Increased risked of alcohol poisoning
  • Delayed or minimized feeling of drunkenness
  • Increased risk of impaired driving
  • Lower cognitive function

Cannabis alcohol tincture

  • Is claimed to be safe to use if prescribed by a doctor
  • Used to treat various conditions, including inflammation, insomnia, psoriasis, high blood sugar, seizures, bone degeneration, cancer cell growth, chronic pain, etc.

Statistics On Mixing Cannabis And Drinking

In a study, 15 participants were given to smoke a low dose of THC, a high dose of THC, and placebo on three different occasions. Each time they also had to drink a different quantity of ethanol and a placebo. The results showed that cannabis slowed down the increase in blood alcohol levels after drinking a high quantity of ethanol.

cannabis and alcoholic drink
Another study focused on the cognitive performance of 21 participants, heavy users of pot. The results showed that cognitive performance was better in those who only consumed weed, compared to those who also drank strong drinks and consumed cannabis.

A different study made on 80 participants had to consume various combinations of ethanol, low and moderate THC doses, and placebo and then complete a driving simulation. The results showed that the combination of cannabis-alcohol impaired driving and the results were worse during nighttime. The combination of ethanol and a low dose of THC led to a drop in results of 21%.

Possible Dosage Issues

Greening Out

One of the risks of combining cannabis and alcohol is Greening out or Whiting out. Two terms used for the situation when a person feels unpleasant side effects after using pot. They usually go pale, turning green or white, feel dizzy, start sweating and experience nausea and vomiting. This situation can be frightening, and some users begin to panic and become anxious. In some cases, hallucinations and prolonged vomiting might be experienced.

young woman greening out

The signs of alcohol and marijuana green out are:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Stomach problems
  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

To understand how serious this combination might be, some of these effects are similar to the ones resulted when one takes an antidepressant with alcohol.Greening out is, in fact, a cannabis overdose, and it is more frequent in individuals who have consumed strong drinks before smoking pot. This happens because ethanol makes THC be absorbed faster than usual. Fortunately, greening out is not life-threatening, and users reported that the best way to alleviate these side effects is by lying down and staying calm.

Overdosing on alcohol

Another risk of mixing alcohol and weed is overdosing. If using too much pot does not put one’s life in danger, drinking too much ethanol does. The possibility of ethanol poisoning is exceptionally high when mixing it with marijuana. In extreme situations, this combination might even kill the user.

Treating Alcohol And Cannabis Addiction

On their own or together, both weed and alcohol can be potentially addictive and can lead to misuse and dependence. Using them irresponsibly is a sign of substance use disorder, and anyone in this situation can benefit from specialized help in rehabs.
Many clinics are offering intensive drugs and alcohol abuse rehabilitation. In many cases, treatment for addiction shows amazing results.

Page Sources

  1. Lukas SE, Benedikt R, Mendelson JH, Kouri E, Sholar M, Amass L. Marihuana attenuates the rise in plasma ethanol levels in human subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology. 1992 Aug;7(1):77-81. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1326277
  2. Ramaekers JG, Theunissen EL, de Brouwer M, Toennes SW, Moeller MR, Kauert G. Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011;214(2):391–401. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3045517/
  3. Downey LA, King R, Papafotiou K, Swann P, Ogden E, Boorman M, Stough C. The effects of cannabis and alcohol on simulated driving: Influences of dose and experience. Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Jan;50:879-86. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22871272

Published on: January 21st, 2020

Updated on: March 22nd, 2024


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