According to popular opinion, alcohol and CBD have very similar qualities. People report that both CBD and alcohol are relaxing, and both substances are commonly used to combat social anxiety. Under the hood, however, alcohol and CBD are remarkably different, and you might be surprised by the ways these two substances complement and contrast each other. In this guide, learn how both alcohol and CBD affect your body to find out if it’s safe and desirable to use these substances together.
How does CBD work in the body?
CBD is neither a depressant nor a stimulant. These terms are commonly used to classify addictive drugs, and even THC is considered to be a depressant. Since CBD does not have addictive properties, it is usually considered to be a mild relaxant.
After ingestion, CBD is metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzymes produced by your liver, which is why this cannabinoid interacts negatively with certain prescription drugs. Once it has been metabolized, CBD primarily stimulates your TRPV1 and 5-HT1A neuroreceptors, which are involved in a wide range of biological processes.
Notably, CBD does not show much affinity for the brain’s major cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which scientists believe may explain this cannabinoid’s lack of intoxicating properties. CBD appears to primarily exert its effects by gently balancing your endocannabinoid system, which is a loose grouping of various biochemical processes that have been identified as responsive to Cannabis sativa compounds.
How does alcohol work in the body?
Within the pantheon of addictive drugs, alcohol is considered to be a potent depressant. Once this substance makes its way through your digestive tract and into your bloodstream, it acts like an anesthetic by inhibiting the activity of neurotransmitters. Alcohol enhances the effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter that inhibits the effects of other neurotransmitters, and it also decreases the activity of glutamine in your brain, leading to sluggish neurological responses.
Alcohol affects the advanced areas of your brain more strongly while leaving the functions of your “reptilian brain” intact. As a result, cognition and judgment are reduced while base biological urges are increased. Alcohol is intensely intoxicating, and ingesting large quantities of this addictive drug can lead to long-term poor decision making and alcohol abuse.
How do CBD and alcohol work together?
Since they are processed by different metabolic functions, CBD and alcohol do not appear to directly contraindicate each other. This means that using CBD and alcohol together won’t make you overdose or cause any adverse reactions beyond the usual side effects of alcohol use. Using alcohol with certain other substances, such as opioids, can lead to fatal contraindications, but this isn’t something you need to worry about when using CBD and alcohol together.
In fact, the pharmacological effects of CBD and alcohol don’t appear to line up significantly in any way. These two substances affect the brain via distinctly separate mechanisms, so at first glance, it would seem that CBD and alcohol don’t interact at all.
When you take a look at the reported effects of using CBD and alcohol together, however, a very different picture emerges. Even though these two substances don’t affect the brain in the same way, they still have similar effects, and some sources indicate that using CBD and alcohol together could enhance the effects of both substances.
To get an idea of how CBD and alcohol might affect you when ingested in tandem, take a look at the effects these substances exert separately. For many people, CBD provides a gentle, relaxing sensation that puts them at ease and makes them feel happy. Similarly, most alcohol users report that this drug has a relaxing, happiness-inducing effect—even if it’s at the cost of reduced judgment and undesirable side effects.
Therefore, it’s unsurprising that so many people report that CBD and alcohol enhance each other’s effects. There isn’t currently any science to back up this position, but the available anecdotal evidence is convincing enough on its own.
CBD for alcohol side effects
One of the major differences between CBD and alcohol is that alcohol causes severe side effects while CBD does not. For centuries, alcohol has been known to be acutely hepatotoxic, which means that it damages your liver. Prolonged alcohol use also damages your cardiovascular system, and this drug can lead to neurological harm.
Even short-term or minimal alcohol use can cause dehydration, which can then lead to a hangover. As a result, it’s natural to wonder if CBD worsens or reduces the side effects of alcohol. Preliminary scientific research has been conducted to get to the bottom of this question.
For instance, a 1979 clinical study found that using CBD and alcohol in tandem reduces your blood alcohol levels even though most users report that CBD enhances the effects of alcohol. If it’s true that CBD decreases the amount of alcohol wreaking havoc throughout your system while leaving this drug’s euphoric properties intact, there might be a convincing reason to use CBD whenever you drink alcohol. CBD has also been investigated for its ability to reduce alcohol-induced oxidative stress, and research has been conducted to determine if CBD reduces alcohol-induced neurodegeneration.
CBD for alcohol addiction
Alcohol is addictive but CBD is not, and it does not appear that alcohol becomes any more addictive when it is used in tandem with CBD. What if, however, the opposite is true—is it possible that CBD might make alcohol less addictive or help with existing cases of alcoholism?
In recent years, CBD has been studied extensively for its potential to help with addictive disorders. While it’s still too soon to make any assumptions regarding CBD’s ability to fight addiction, the fact that research into CBD and addiction continues to evolve at a rapid pace shows that this potential benefit of cannabidiol is a prime target for the international medical community.
It’s not unreasonable to imagine that, in the next few years, CBD might be prescribed as a treatment for addiction, or it might be officially suggested that CBD and alcohol should be used together to reduce this substance’s addictive properties. CBD is also being looked at for its potential ability to help with opioid, methamphetamine, and even THC addiction, so it’s only a matter of time before we know more about this non-intoxicating cannabinoid’s addiction-fighting properties.
Should you take CBD and alcohol together?
Alcohol is a dangerous drug. It takes away your clarity of judgment and harms your body, so we would therefore never directly recommend using alcohol in any context. CBD, on the other hand, is non-addictive, non-intoxicating, and remarkably non-toxic, so we strongly suggest trying CBD for relaxation, pain, or any other common application of this cannabinoid.
If you choose to use alcohol, the available research indicates that you might have a better time if you use CBD as well. While CBD will remain non-intoxicating whether you consume it with alcohol or not, you might notice a change in the adverse effects of alcohol if you take some CBD prior to your next drinking binge.Based on the available evidence, it won’t hurt to use CBD in tandem with alcohol, and on the contrary, you might be surprised by how the desirable qualities of these substances intertwine. To learn more about CBD, visit the Secret Nature blog, and contact us if you have any questions.