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CBD and Alcohol: Mixable Matches?

Blue Ribbon

This article was originally published on Blue Ribbon Hemp. To view the original article, click here.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is ever on the rise in popularity. It can be found just about anywhere these days, from countless online brands to stocked shelves in health stores, all the way into your favorite night cap cocktail. Alcohol manufacturers have jumped on the CBD bandwagon, producing CBD-infused beverages like beers and liquors. But is combining CBD and alcohol a good idea?


Alcohol is a powerful depressant that interacts with the central nervous system. It can impact our mood, speech and coordination – and the more you consume the more severe these impacts can become. CBD on the other hand, is known more for its balancing abilities. On the surface, the combination of these two ingredients may sound like they should counteract one another, but there is just not enough research to know yet for sure.


As with any substance or substances that can affect how we think, act or feel, moderation is always key. Especially when it comes to combining them. Here is what we know so far about combining CBD with alcohol:


What Is CBD?


Let’s begin by looking at what CBD or cannabidiol actually is. CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis-sativa and hemp plants, and is thought to have a range of potentially therapeutic properties. Unlike THC, the most commonly known active ingredient in cannabis, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties often associated with the “high” brought on by marijuana.


CBD is extracted from hemp and cannabis plants and manufactured into a variety of products from CBD topicals, to edibles, oils and more. CBD interacts directly with the human body’s endocannabinoids system, responsible for regulating bodily functions like mood, appetite, sleep cycle, pain management, etc. Though research is still limited and emerging, there is promise in the direction of CBD’s therapeutic properties having beneficial impacts for many different health or wellness related ailments.


CBD and Alcohol Combined


Alcohol is widely known to lower inhibitions while promoting some form of relaxation. CBD is thought to have some similar impacts, reducing anxiety and calming the nerves. Combining alcohol and CBD could amplify these effects, leading to sleepiness or even sedation depending on dosage. All that being said, the way our bodies metabolize CBD and alcohol depends heavily on genetics, and more research is needed to definitively determine the effects of CBD and alcohol together.


In one study from 1979 published in the journal Psychopharmacology, patrons were given at random: a CBD capsule and alcohol, a CBD capsule and orange juice, a placebo with orange juice and alcohol on its own. Those given the CBD and alcohol combo had lower blood alcohol levels than those given just the alcohol. Another more recent study from 2014 found rodents given CBD half an hour before being given alcohol had less oxidative stress in their liver than rodents not given CBD prior to alcohol.


While CBD may have the ability to impact one’s blood alcohol levels and the possibly lower the immediate stress caused to organs like the liver by alcohol, knowledge surrounding the combo is still too limited to determine the long-term effects. Because both CBD and alcohol can be sedating, in high doses especially, they may cause for a higher level of sedation when consumed together.


CBD To Combat Alcohol Abuse


Though the interaction between CBD and alcohol when consumed together is still under exploration, there is also research being done in the direction of CBD aiding in treatment of alcohol dependency. A review published in 2016 found that CBD’s interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS (endocannabinoid system) could be effective for treating alcoholism by reducing cravings and aiding the body’s defense, reducing liver toxicity and upping antioxidant immunomodulatory responses.


CBD’s direct interaction with the human body and brain could lead to reduced use of alcohol in habitual drinkers. The beneficial properties of CBD could be useful in dealing with underlying conditions that lead to self-medication. Many people suffering from mental health conditions like depression, PTSD, heightened stress, or an anxiety disorder could benefit from CBD before they turn to other potentially harmful substance to ease their symptoms, like alcohol. There have been limited pre-clinical trials that point in the direction of CBD reducing the symptoms of withdrawal.


CBD Cocktail Takeaways


Although the crossover between alcohol and CBD is still new, it hasn’t stopped the alcohol beverage industry from finding ways to combine the two. Since research is still limited, always air on the side of caution and consume in moderation, especially when combining substances. A CBD cocktail could be a great way for you to relax while completely omitting the alcoholic portion. Just add a high-quality CBD oil to your favorite cocktail recipe, hold the alcohol, and enjoy a CBD-infused drink without any worry.