CBD and Alcohol: What Does the Research Say?

Published November 11, 2020
CBD and Alcohol: What Does the Research Say? - Secret Nature

As CBD continues to gain incredible popularity, it’s natural to wonder how this substance might enhance or interfere with your existing habits. Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans report drinking alcohol at least once per year, and for many people, using alcohol is a habit. Is it safe to use CBD at the same time as alcohol, and could it even be beneficial to ingest these two substances together? In this guide, learn about the safety of using CBD with alcohol, and find out if this non-intoxicating cannabinoid might be able to mitigate some of the more undesirable effects of the world’s most popular intoxicating beverage.

Is it safe to use CBD and alcohol together?

First, it’s important to point out that any statements made regarding the safety of alcohol are relative. Research has found that consuming alcohol has a variety of negative effects that accumulate over time. While alcohol can provide temporary relief from stress, it is also a highly addictive drug, and more than 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD), also known as alcoholism.

With that said, there does not appear to be any reason to believe that consuming CBD increases the negative effects of alcohol. Despite the fact that both substances bind to the body’s CYP3A4 enzymes, which play a crucial role in drug metabolism, they do not appear to have any harmful interactions.

Individuals taking prescription medications should always be cautious of consuming alcohol since many drugs are reliant on your CYP3A4 enzymes, which alcohol inhibits. If you have been prescribed CYP3A4-reliant drugs but you want to use alcohol anyway, understand that adding CBD into the mix could further increase your risk of drug complications. Get in touch with your doctor if you have any concerns that alcohol or CBD might interfere with your prescribed medications.

CBD and alcohol may enhance each other’s effects

Despite not appearing to cause any negative interactions, CBD may boost the enjoyable or beneficial properties of alcohol. For instance, both substances are known to provide relaxing, calming effects. While alcohol primarily releases inhibitions and clouds judgment, however, CBD often provides a mellower type of calming effect, indicating that these two substances could complement each other since their benefits don’t entirely overlap.

Only one (significantly outdated) clinical study from 1979 has investigated the combined effects of CBD and alcohol in humans. This study found that using CBD and alcohol together inhibited motor function and altered the perception of time, which didn’t occur when CBD was used on its own. Since these symptoms also commonly occur when alcohol is used without other substances, it’s unclear exactly how CBD impacts the effects of alcohol and vice versa.

CBD has been researched for its ability to reduce the negative effects of alcohol

While we still need to learn more about the ways that using CBD and alcohol together might provide enhanced benefits, quite a bit of evidence has already been accumulated indicating that CBD might improve the most notable side effects of alcohol use. Over the last few years, scientists have become increasingly interested in CBD as a potential anti-addiction aid, and research has also been conducted to determine if CBD might reduce the other negative effects that alcohol commonly causes.

Research into CBD and alcohol-related cell damage and disease

So far, a few different pre-clinical studies have been conducted to determine if CBD might be capable of mitigating the well-known pro-oxidative and cell-damaging effects of alcohol. Alcohol instigates oxidative stress throughout your body, which causes cells to break down and can lead to a wide variety of potential medical conditions.

While the oxidative stress that alcohol causes is widespread, it is most concentrated in the nervous system and the liver. As a result, CBD has primarily been investigated for its ability to prevent the neurological and liver damage associated with alcohol use. Research on this subject remains inconclusive, but scientists have determined that there are sufficient grounds to conduct more studies into the impact of CBD on alcohol-induced cellular damage.

Research into CBD and reduced blood alcohol levels

A small body of research has been produced regarding the potential ability of CBD to reduce blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) in both humans and animals. Since the results of this research effort have been inconclusive so far, it remains unclear if using CBD could actually reduce levels of alcohol in your blood.

Since both CBD and alcohol are reliant on your body’s CYP3A4 enzymes for metabolism, however, there’s plenty of reason to suspect that this conflict over a vital enzyme could reduce the effects of both CBD and alcohol when used in tandem. At the same time, reduced access to CYP3A4 enzymes slows down the metabolism of alcohol, underscoring the importance of further research into the biochemical effects of using CBD and alcohol together.

Research into CBD and alcoholism

Pre-clinical studies have investigated the effects of CBD on alcoholism, and clinical studies have investigated the potential anti-addictive effects of CBD in general. This topic continues to garner the interest of the scientific community, and it’s only a matter of time until we have a better idea of how CBD might be able to help with alcohol use disorder. Even though they’re inconclusive so far, the handful of animal studies that have been published concerning CBD and alcoholism have provided the basis for future research.

Should you use CBD and alcohol at the same time?

It’s still too soon to say exactly how ingesting CBD and alcohol simultaneously might affect your body. While some research indicates that CBD could be able to mitigate some of the most unfortunate negative effects of alcohol use, there isn’t enough evidence at this point to draw any firm conclusions.

It is, however, possible to make general statements regarding the safety of each substance individually. CBD, for instance, does not appear to have any significant negative effects. People who use alcohol would naturally be more concerned about substances that affect the human liver, and they may have come across a recent study indicating that CBD may be hepatotoxic.

It’s been revealed since this study was published, however, that the animals used as subjects were force-fed enormous amounts of CBD, and the integrity of the research team has been questioned. As a result, there appears to be no foundation for the concern that CBD might worsen the inherently hepatotoxic effects of alcohol.

Even if CBD did harm your liver, however, it’s hard to imagine that cannabidiol could wreak harm on this organ equal to the detrimental effects of alcohol. As a profoundly hepatotoxic drug, alcohol also causes neurological and cellular damage while posing a significant dependence risk. If you’re wondering whether CBD and alcohol should be used together, you might be better off wondering if you should stop using alcohol and start using CBD instead.

Always play it safe

Since there isn’t enough evidence to firmly determine the safety or danger of using CBD and alcohol together, we’d recommend that you hold off for the time being. We entirely understand if you want to drink alcohol from time to time, but keep in mind that the safety profile of CBD is much more desirable.

If you’re simply looking for something to help you unwind after work or help you get to sleep at night, a live resin CBD vape cartridge might be the better choice. If you absolutely can’t resist the urge to break out the champagne at your best friend’s wedding, however, just remember that there isn’t enough research to provide firm guidance regarding whether or not you should light up a CBD joint at the same time.

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