CBD and alcohol are similar in some ways. They’re both relaxing, and people use both substances to combat social anxiety.
Under the hood, however, alcohol and CBD are completely 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 TRP and 5-HT 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 may explain this cannabinoid’s lack of intoxicating properties. CBD appears to gently balance your endocannabinoid system, a loose grouping of biochemical processes that respond to cannabinoids.
How does alcohol work in the body?
Alcohol is 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 poor decision-making and abuse.
How do CBD and alcohol work together?
Based on initial evidence, CBD and alcohol are unlikely to interact negatively with or “contraindicate” each other. Even though these two substances don’t affect the brain the same way, they still have similar effects. Some sources indicate that using CBD and alcohol together could enhance the effects of both substances.
To get an idea of the effects of CBD and alcohol together, take a look at the effects these substances offer 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 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 true, there might be a convincing scientific 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?
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 claims, research into CBD and addiction continues to evolve at a rapid pace, proving this potential benefit of cannabidiol is a prime target of the international scientific community.
CBD might eventually be prescribed as a treatment for addiction. This cannabinoid is 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 CBD’s addiction-fighting properties.
Should you take CBD and alcohol together?
Alcohol is a dangerous, judgment-impairing drug that harms your body. Therefore, we can’t 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, available research indicates 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.
CBD & alcohol FAQ
1. How long after using CBD oil can I drink?
There are no official guidelines regarding the use of CBD with alcohol. Even though there’s no indication that using CBD and alcohol at the same time enhances the dangers of either substance, you may want to wait until the CBD you’ve used has completely run its course before drinking.
If you inhale CBD, this cannabinoid will stop exerting effects after around an hour. With orally ingested CBD products, consider waiting up to 5 hours for the effects of CBD to dissipate entirely.
2. Does CBD make you more drunk?
No, there’s no indication that CBD directly enhances the effects of alcohol. Since alcohol and CBD have similar effects, however, using these two substances at the same time may synergistically boost the benefits you experience. CBD may feel more relaxing than usual, for instance, or your alcohol “high” might seem somewhat softer around the edges.
3. Can you drink wine while taking CBD oil?
There’s no reason to believe wine is different from any other type of alcohol when it comes to using CBD. We advise caution when using CBD and alcohol together since alcohol is an inherently toxic substance, but it’s possible the flavonoids in a full-bodied wine might pair quite nicely with the terpenes in an excellent CBD-rich cannabis strain.
4. What are the effects of CBD and alcohol on your liver?
Both CBD and alcohol have been researched for their effects on the liver. Alcohol has long-since been proven hepatotoxic, but with CBD, the jury is still out.
One fearmongering study from a few years ago indicated that CBD might harm your liver. Various independent sources, however, quickly debunked these claims, and the results of this study have never been duplicated.
5. Can you take a CBD gummy and drink alcohol?
There’s no reason to believe taking CBD in gummy form would make this cannabinoid interact with alcohol any differently. Most CBD gummies are low-dose, further decreasing the likelihood of dangerous side effects occurring when you use these two substances in tandem. CBD gummies are often full of low-quality ingredients, though—consider pairing your alcoholic beverage with a more effective option.