CBD Oil And Alcohol: What Happens If You Mix Them?

WRITTEN by Edd

 | Last revised

It’s Friday afternoon, you’ve just finished work for the week, and you’re planning to have a few drinks at the pub on the way home.

But then you remember you took CBD oil at lunchtime, and you start wondering whether mixing the two substances together is okay.

We’ve been in the same situation, so we decided to do some research on the topic.

It turns out it’s generally considered safe to mix CBD and alcohol, and it’s possible CBD may even help with the dreaded after-effects of having a few too many.

Are there any watchouts? Here’s what the research says so far.

Can You Take CBD With Alcohol?

Having both alcohol and cannabidiol in your system at the same time is generally considered safe. In fact, you can even buy beers and other alcoholic drinks that have been infused with CBD, though these are not sold in Australia yet.

While safe, CBD and alcohol may somewhat increase some of each other’s effects.

For example, alcohol can help you to feel more relaxed, and CBD can also have calming properties.

Consuming both at the same time might increase the sense of drowsiness or sedation that you experience as a result.

How Long After Taking CBD Oil Can I Drink Alcohol?

Depending on the dosage and how you took it, CBD can stay in your system for 2 to 6 hours.

According to a recent study, if you drink alcohol within this period, and you have consumed a large dosage of CBD, you could experience increased impairment of your motor function and time perception.

However, this was a small study that gave participants a large single dose of 200 mg.

Over the counter CBD products are limited to a recommended total dosage of 150 mg per day, but prescription products may be much higher.

There are no studies suggesting that a more typical dosage, such as a 10 mg CBD edible, could influence the impairing effects of alcohol. [1]

Does Taking CBD With Alcohol Have Benefits?

Research has not yet found any clear negative effects to taking CBD with alcohol outside of what’s already been mentioned.

But what about the benefits? Are there any reasons to take CBD with alcohol?

Research into the effects of mixing CBD and alcohol is limited. However, some of CBD’s more well-researched properties may help to combat the negative side effects of drinking alcohol.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory

Drinking too much alcohol can cause damage to cells throughout your body and brain. This increases your risk of experiencing inflammation and chronic diseases such as pancreatitis and liver disease, and some types of cancer.

CBD is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.

Several studies conducted on animals have found evidence that CBD may protect against cell damage caused by alcohol consumption.

For example, one study in rats showed that applying a topical CBD gel to the skin reduced damage to brain cells caused by alcohol consumption by up to 49%. [2]

Another study found that giving mice doses of CBD helped to protect them from fatty liver disease caused by alcohol. CBD seems to do this by increasing autophagy, a process that promotes the growth of new cells and helps your body to regenerate tissues and repair damage.

We don’t know whether CBD has the same effects to protect humans from damage caused by alcohol.

It certainly seems to have similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may help fight alcohol damage, but we just don’t have the research and human trials to confirm or quantify how these effects of CBD affect cell damage caused specifically by alcohol.

A glass full of beer with cbd leaf in it

CBD Might Reduce Blood Alcohol Levels

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your blood.

A higher BAC is generally associated with more significant impairments to your motor control, reaction time, and overall cognitive function, which is why your BAC level is tested in driving impairment tests.

Alcohol is metabolised in the liver by two enzymes, one of which is CYP450 2E1, an enzyme within the CYP450 enzyme group.

CBD can inhibit the function of some enzymes within this group, but there is no evidence that it affects the CYP450 2E1 enzyme specifically. It also inhibits the production of ethyl glucuronide, which plays a minor role in detoxifying ethanol.

As a result of these factors, it is sometimes claimed that taking CBD with alcohol will result in a lower blood alcohol concentration. There is very little research into the effects of CBD on blood alcohol levels, and is not a guaranteed method.

This claim is based on a study conducted on 10 people.

In this study, participants were given 200 mg of CBD with alcohol, before having their BAC levels tested. Most participants showed much lower blood alcohol levels than when they consumed alcohol with a placebo.

Their impairment to motor function and cognition was also tested through several tasks. CBD did not appear to alter their functional level of impairment compared to drinking CBD without alcohol.

This study was conducted more than 40 years ago on a very small group, and used a very large dose of CBD.

We don’t know whether more typical doses of CBD would have the same effect. Other studies conducted on animals have failed to observe the same effects.

More research is needed to know for certain if CBD affects blood alcohol levels in humans, or how much of an impact it makes.

Cannabidiol And Alcoholism

Some researchers have suggested that CBD might be used to help treat alcohol addiction.

There are a few studies on animals that found evidence CBD could help in managing some of the symptoms of addiction and withdrawal associated with alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive substances.

One study on alcohol-addicted rats observed that CBD could reduce alcohol intake and decrease the desire to consume alcohol. [3]

Human trials investigating the effects of CBD on addiction are even more limited than animal studies.

A few small-scale studies have found that CBD products can help people reduce their intake of nicotine, but much more research is needed to fully understand how CBD affects addictive symptoms. [4]

Alcoholic drinks next to hemp leaf and bud

Can I Take CBD For Alcohol Hangovers?

CBD can offer some effects that might help deal with a hangover. For example:

  • Pain relief that might help manage a headache
  • Anti-inflammatory and sebum-reducing properties could help restore puffy, oily skin
  • It can help to manage nausea and vomiting

CBD can have mild side effects for some people, which include nausea and fatigue. These are counter-productive to treating a hangover, but most people do not experience side effects from normal dosages of CBD.

While CBD may help manage some symptoms of a hangover, it is still important to rest, drink plenty of water, and eat a hearty meal.

CBD And Alcohol Seems To Be Safe

CBD may slightly increase some effects of alcohol, but also helps protect from some of alcohol’s effects.

Much more research is needed into the interaction between the two drugs, but there are no signs that the combination could be dangerous so far.

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References

1. P Consroe et al., "Interaction of cannabidiol and alcohol in humans".
PubMed.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/120541/.
2. Daniel Liput et al., "Transdermal delivery of cannabidiol attenuates binge alcohol-induced neurodegeneration in a rodent model of an alcohol use disorder".
PubMed.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24012796/.
3. Gustavo Gonzalez-Cuevas et al., "Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle".
National Library of Medicine.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098033/.
4. Celia Morgan et al, "Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: preliminary findings".
PubMed.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23685330/.

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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn’t replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

Hinterland co. Byron Bay, Australia

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