CBD Oil And Alcohol

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Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways. Learn more about each product and what happens when they're mixed here. Should you mix CBD oil in alcohol? Alcohol dissolves cannabinoids, but the two are definitely not a dream duo. On the other hand, studies point to CBD as the potential aid for people suffering from hangovers, withdrawals, and alcohol-induced toxicity. CBD dissolves in alcohol, but does it mean you should mix the two? What happens when you take CBD with alcohol, and how can CBD help on the way to recovery from alcohol withdrawals, hangovers, and more?

CBD And Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix Them?

Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner based in Oregon.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • CBD and Alcohol in the Body
  • What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
  • CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
  • Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular compound found in hemp plants that can potentially help alleviate anxiety, improve sleep and relieve pain, along with other purported benefits. In a recent Forbes Health ​​survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll, 60% of respondents said they’ve tried a CBD product, and 64% think CBD is safer than alcohol.

CBD can be derived from both hemp and cannabis sativa plants, the latter of which also contains detectable amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC). Delta-9 THC is the main component of cannabis that causes intoxicatingly psychoactive effects.

Research regarding what happens when humans consume CBD and alcohol together is sparse. As a result, consumers generally have access to limited information when deciding whether to mix CBD and alcohol.

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CBD and Alcohol in the Body

Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways, although consuming either substance can result in similar effects, such as sleepiness or sedation.

When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream quickly, and its effects can occur within ten minutes. Alcohol affects the way your brain functions, potentially impairing coordination and your ability to think clearly and altering both mood and behavior.

Depending on the amount you consume, alcohol can affect your speech, memory and judgment. Drinking alcohol can also affect your balance, raising the risk of falls and other injuries.

Unlike alcohol, CBD doesn’t contain intoxicating properties. Instead, CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which comprises receptors throughout your body—particularly the central nervous system—to produce a variety of potential effects, including:

  • A calming of the central nervous system
  • A reduction in anxiety symptoms
  • Improvement in sleep quality
  • A decrease in chronic pain symptoms

With that said, some of the effects can be less desirable, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vomiting

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What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

With limited research available on potential interactions between alcohol and CBD, the effects of mixing the two substances is unclear. Potential interactions are also subject to variables, such as how much of each you consume and the amount of THC present in the CBD product, says John Mendelson, M.D., chief medical officer and founder of San Francisco-based Ria Health, which offers a medicine-based approach to drinking moderation and alcohol abstinence.

Depending on the amount, THC may interact with alcohol when you drink, says Dr. Mendelson. However, not enough research exists to know how THC in CBD products may interact with alcohol.

“The 0.3% THC allowed in hemp-derived CBD products can go up to amounts in the final product that may cause an interaction,” says Eloise Theisen, a nurse practitioner and the chief nursing officer at Leaf411, an online consumer resource on how to use cannabis safely and effectively. “We see levels of 1 to 4 milligrams of THC in some concentrated hemp CBD products.”

THC amounts in CBD are limited by the federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill of 2018) to 0.3% by dry weight to avoid being classified as cannabis, a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. THC levels are often listed on a CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which is typically made available on the manufacturer’s website.

However, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, so you’re relying on the manufacturer’s claims and third-party laboratory test results to determine amounts of THC present in specific CBD products. Only Epidiolex, a prescription drug used to treat certain types of seizure disorders, has been approved by the FDA.

Ideally, it’s best to buy CBD that contains the lowest amount of THC to avoid alcohol and THC interactions, says Dr. Mendelson. When choosing a CBD product, check the label and the lot number’s COA to find the amount of THC present in the product.

“Dose will be the most important thing,” says Dr. Mendelson. “If someone stays within the recommended alcohol consumption amounts of one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and a small dose of CBD at the manufacturer’s recommended level, there should be no significant reactions one way or another.”

Potential Harmful Effects of Using CBD and Alcohol Together

“I strongly advise my patients against consuming alcohol and cannabis together, whether it’s CBD or THC, since you can feel a stronger effect from both when using alcohol,” says Theisen.

Side effects depend on several factors, including the amount of alcohol, the CBD dose and the amount of THC present in the CBD product. Combining alcohol and CBD may cause drowsiness, impaired coordination and, in rare cases, vomiting, says Theisen.

Combining CBD and alcohol could also potentially increase the effects of the alcohol, causing the person to feel drunk or impaired faster, says Theisen.

“If someone took CBD in the morning to help with their anxiety and wanted to have a drink or two in the evening, that [combination] hasn’t been shown to be problematic,” says Theisen. “Taking them concurrently is where I get concerned because of potential side effects—whether from the alcohol or even the CBD.”

CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

So far, studies on CBD use with the goal of reducing alcohol cravings and relapses are based mainly on responses or interactions in rodents rather than humans, says Theisen.

“That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some observational case reports where people have been able to use cannabis successfully to reduce their alcohol intake, cravings or relapses,” says Theisen. “However, in terms of actual data, it’s only in animals. But that data is promising.”

One study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research used rats bred selectively for high alcohol preference and consumption and found that when the rats received a low dose of CBD, the number of times they pushed levers that delivered alcohol decreased [1] Maccioni P, Bratzu J, Carai M. Reducing Effect of Cannabidiol on Alcohol Self-Administration in Sardinian Alcohol-Preferring Rats. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2020; 7(2):161-169. .

Meanwhile, consuming CBD alone may help alleviate the reasons some people drink, such as anxiety, insomnia, pain and post-traumatic stress, says Theisen.

“When I’m assessing a patient who is drinking a lot of alcohol, I always want to know why that is,” says Theisen. “Is it because they’re anxious? Are they using it to help with their pain or sleep? Sometimes we can reduce their alcohol intake by treating those conditions with CBD instead.”

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Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?

Moderation is key to safety when consuming both CBD and alcohol, says Dr. Mendelson, who doesn’t recommend mixing the two substances due to the possible side effect of drowsiness, which could create a safety hazard while driving, operating machinery or working with kitchen equipment.

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With that said, what little research exists on mixing alcohol and CBD is based mainly on studies of rodents rather than humans. As a result, it’s still unclear whether it’s safe to consume CBD and alcohol together.

Forbes Health covers CBD and cannabis products in accordance with FTC guidelines. Learn more about Forbes Health’s practices and policies regarding how we cover CBD and cannabis as a publisher.

CBD and Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix Them Together?

Taking them together may reduce the health benefits offered by CBD. While CBD is a known antioxidant and neuroprotectant, this isn’t the case for alcohol.

As a matter of fact, alcohol is a toxin with no acknowledged safe dose, as reported by the largest global study conducted in 195 countries.

Since CBD oil is available virtually everywhere, people are wondering if they can boost its relaxing properties by mixing it with other substances like alcohol for recreational use.

After all, you can have CBD-infused gummies, honey sticks, protein bars, etc. — so why not add some CBD to a good ole’ booze?

Alcohol companies have jumped on the bandwagon, infusing different alcoholic beverages with CBD, such as beer or cocktails — but does it actually make sense?

What happens when you mix CBD with alcohol?

Can you use CBD oil to help with alcohol misuse, hangovers, and other related problems?

Continue reading to find out.

CBD vs Alcohol: How They Affect Your Health

CBD and alcohol are completely different in terms of how they affect human health. Here’s a quick comparison of both substances.

CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in cannabis. Along with THC and other active molecules, it belongs to a group of substances known as cannabinoids.

CBD has a different chemical structure than THC, the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana plants. You won’t get high off of CBD, but you can still reap a plethora of health benefits from using it.

The most common effects of CBD include relief from stress, anxiety, pain and inflammation, and sleep deprivation. It can also strengthen the immune system and help the body regulate communication between neurotransmitters.

The CBD products that are widely advertised online come from hemp plants. Hemp is known for higher concentrations of CBD and only trace amounts of THC. Hemp-derived products comply with federal law and can be legally purchased in all 50 states.

CBD can also be extracted from marijuana. Such products will contain higher levels of THC and are legal only in the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use.

There have been no reports of fatal overdoses from CBD. The cannabinoid has been tested in very high dosages – up to 1,500 mg daily – without life-threatening side effects.

The effects of alcohol are on the other side of the spectrum.

Alcohol

Also known as ethanol, alcohol is the main intoxicant in alcoholic beverages; in other words, it’s what makes you feel drunk.

Alcohol forms as a result of the interaction between sugar and yeast in certain carbohydrate-rich foods, such as grains, potatoes, or grapes.

It is also the most abused substance in the world. It can considerably alter your state of mind, compromising motor skills, judgment, and decision-making.

People often act without limits when under the influence of alcohol. It fuels them with courage, reduces shyness, and has a depressant effect on your nervous system.

The short-term side effects of alcohol include drowsiness, slurred speech, blurred vision, impaired judgment, problems with hearing, weak coordination, and blackouts.

The long-term risks of binge drinking are much more severe. Regular alcohol poisoning may lead to addiction, cause malnutrition, nerve damage, liver disease, and permanent brain damage. These are just a few consequences of alcohol misuse (1).

Does CBD and Alcohol Mix?

When people discuss the validity of mixing CBD with alcohol, they raise one specific argument — that CBD is alcohol-soluble. Ethanol extraction is actually one of the most common ways of making herbal supplements.

However, the alcohol usually evaporates once the active compounds have been stripped from the plant material — leaving the producer with a thick liquid that contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp molecules.

You generally don’t mix CBD and alcohol together. There’s a good reason why people advise against doing so.

CBD improves the functioning of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is the major regulatory network within our bodies that helps the body maintain the balance between important biological processes — such as pain perception, mood, memory, reproduction, immune function, neuroprotection, body temperature, appetite, and more.

The ECS produces its own CBD-like compounds called endocannabinoids. An ECS that is deficient in endocannabinoids is likely to lead to further imbalances between the other systems and their organs — something that CBD supplementation is supposed to prevent.

CBD ‘encourages’ the ECS to produce more of its endocannabinoids while slowing their breakdown. Since more cannabinoids are circulating in your bloodstream, the body can efficiently return to homeostasis.

Alcohol ruins the effort you put into leveling the endocannabinoid deficiencies.

Why Mixing CBD and Alcohol Isn’t A Good Idea

Alcohol has a potent sedative effect on the user. People often drink it to promote feelings of relaxation and to reduce stress and tension.

However, the potential short-term benefits are outnumbered by a long list of dangerous side effects. Alcohol misuse may wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. It can cause severe damage to your organs in addition to the social harm caused by those who become addicted to alcohol.

Mixing CBD with alcohol diminishes its health benefits because it causes damage to the ECS. As a result, endocannabinoid deficiencies may deteriorate.

There are some studies that suggest taking a small dose of alcohol with a large dose of CBD to induce stronger sedation and reduce anxiety.

One study was conducted on 75 people to analyze the efficacy of CBD in reducing anxiety and improving sleep patterns. After 30 days, the participants had lower anxiety markers and experienced deeper sleep (2).

The research team has found that adding 1 gram of alcohol for every 2.2 pounds of total body weight to a single dose of 200 mg of CBD resulted in significant improvements in motor performance and alterations in time perception. The subjects didn’t report these effects when they took CBD alone.

However, this isn’t the best study to conclude from because it was conducted on a small sample and used a much larger dose of CBD than most people take in their routine.

There aren’t many studies on the effects of mixing CBD with alcohol, but considering their contrasting effects on our health, they shouldn’t be taken together.

Does CBD Help with Hangovers?

Judging by the benefits of CBD, many people believe that you can use CBD oil to help with at least several negative effects of alcohol misuse.

Although CBD oil doesn’t help with acute intoxication or impaired motor skills, it may help lessen the symptoms associated with hangovers, such as headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, and increased blood pressure.

CBD has strong antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, which makes it a decent option for nursing hangovers and reducing the damage caused by alcohol.

If you want to enjoy the relaxing effects of CBD, but without getting buzzed, you can mix it into virgin versions of your cocktail recipes.

CBD Oil & Alcohol Withdrawals

Is it possible that CBD helps with alcohol withdrawals in a similar way that can mitigate hangovers?

Unfortunately, there’s not much research into it, but CBD may be able to reduce the chances of alcohol withdrawal by supporting homeostasis and easing some other symptoms.

In a 2014 study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the authors concluded that CBD can reduce alcohol-induced liver toxicity in mice. The study found that CBD prevented steatosis (fatty liver disease) caused by alcohol abuse (3).

A 2016 review of studies posted in the journal Neurotoxicity Research found little evidence to support the positive effects of CBD on alcohol withdrawals, but it did mention the role of CB2 receptors in treating alcohol addiction (4).

Dr. Melanie Bone, a medical cannabis practitioner working in Florida states that CBD may reduce the damage caused by problematic drinking. By strengthening the body’s defensive mechanisms and reducing alcohol cravings, CBD oil may help minimize the harms of alcohol abuse.

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These are very promising findings. With more clinical research analyzing the effects of CBD on damage caused by binge drinking, therapists may use it as an adjunctive treatment for those trying to recover from addiction.

CBD Before vs After Drinking Alcohol

Like we said, taking CBD after drinking alcohol may help you ease the pesky symptoms of hangovers, protect your body against alcohol-induced damage, and support post-drinking recuperation.

On the other hand, taking CBD before drinking may contribute to lower blood alcohol levels. The blood alcohol levels are referred to the amount of alcohol in your blood after drinking. The higher these levels, the greater the impairment in cognitive function and motor performance.

Although the evidence that CBD affects blood alcohol levels, one study conducted on 10 people found that a dose of 200 mg of CBD significantly reduced the amount of alcohol in their blood. However, it’s not clear whether lower amounts of CBD would yield the same result.

Long story short, studies show conflicting results, reporting no significant influence of CBD on blood alcohol levels.

CBD for Recovering Alcoholics

Considering the health benefits of CBD, some people decide to support their recovery from alcoholism with CBD oil.

But is CBD safe for recovering alcoholics?

According to the World Health Organization, CBD is a safe compound, with no severe side effects. Its abuse potential is comparable to placebo, and people tolerate it even in doses as large as 1500 mg daily without any negative reactions.

Several studies have found that high doses of CBD oil can cause a few mild side effects, such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite fluctuation
  • Diarrhea

CBD can also change the way certain medications are processed by the liver. CBD is the inhibitor of the system of enzymes (CYP450) that metabolize drugs. When you take CBD along with your medication, it may cause a negative interaction, resulting in subtherapeutic effects or toxic concentrations of the drug in the bloodstream. If your medication has a grapefruit warning, you shouldn’t take it with CBD oil.

We recommend consulting a holistic doctor to establish the right routine for both the CBD and your meds.

Does CBD Protect Cells Against Alcohol-related Damage?

Binge drinking can cause severe damage to cells, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and chronic diseases, such as pancreatitis, hypertension, and certain types of cancer.

CBD has neuroprotective properties, which means it could reduce damage caused by alcohol abuse.

In one study on rats, a CBD cream lowered the brain-cell damage caused by heavy drinking by up to 49% (5).

Another study found that CBD administration to mice resulted in better protection against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by triggering autophagy, a process that supports cell regeneration (6).

One study has found a correlation between the use of CBD-rich cannabis extract with an increased risk of liver toxicity in mice. However, the mice were force-fed with ridiculously large amounts of CBD, and the study’s results weren’t replicated in humans.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Alcohol

Research suggests that small doses of alcohol may intensify the effects of large doses of CBD — resulting in sleepiness and greater relaxation.

However, taking CBD alongside alcohol is counterintuitive because alcohol indirectly damages the endocannabinoid system — something that CBD is supposed to prevent.

In animal studies, CBD has shown the potential to protect cells against alcohol-induced damage, reduce blood alcohol levels, and control withdrawal symptoms from addiction.

Until more studies are done on this subject, it remains unclear whether mixing CBD and alcohol can be safe, even in small amounts.

References:

  1. Rehm, Jürgen. “The risks associated with alcohol use and alcoholism.” Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism vol. 34,2 (2011): 135-43.
  2. Shannon, Scott et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal vol. 23 (2019): 18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  3. Yang, Lili et al. “Cannabidiol protects the liver from binge alcohol-induced steatosis by mechanisms including inhibition of oxidative stress and increase in autophagy.” Free radical biology & medicine vol. 68 (2014): 260-7. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.12.026
  4. Kleczkowska, Patrycja et al. “Cannabinoid Ligands and Alcohol Addiction: A Promising Therapeutic Tool or a Humbug?.” Neurotoxicity research vol. 29,1 (2016): 173-96. doi:10.1007/s12640-015-9555-7
  5. Liput, Daniel J et al. “Transdermal delivery of cannabidiol attenuates binge alcohol-induced neurodegeneration in a rodent model of an alcohol use disorder.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 111 (2013): 120-7. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2013.08.013
  6. Wang, Yuping et al. “Cannabidiol attenuate alcohol-induced liver steatosis, metabolic dysregulation, inflammation, and neutrophil-mediated injury.” Scientific Reports vol. 7,1 12064. 21 Sep. 2017, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10924-8
Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

CBD and Alcohol: Why You Shouldn’t Mix Them?

In fact, taking them together doesn’t do anything good to your body.

That’s because they’re vastly different when it comes to their effects on the body and brain — and the way they affect our health.

Alcohol is a toxin that has no acknowledged “safe” dose according to the largest global study conducted in 195 countries.

CBD, on the other hand, is antioxidant and neuroprotectant with an impressive number of health benefits.

With CBD oil being sold virtually everywhere, people start to wonder whether they can mix it with other substances like alcohol for recreational use.

After all, if you can have a CBD-infused capsule, gummy, honey stick, and whatnot — why can’t you have CBD-infused booze?

Alcohol companies are trying to get their fair share of the cake by infusing their alcoholic beverages with CBD — but does it even make sense?

How does CBD interact with alcohol? Can you use CBD oil to deal with alcohol-related problems, such as misuse, hangovers, and withdrawal symptoms?

We reveal everything you need to know in today’s article.

CBD vs Alcohol: A Brief Comparison of Effects

There’s a world of difference when it comes to the effects of CBD vs alcohol on human health.

CBD

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants. It’s one of the major cannabinoids along with THC. But unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get you high because it doesn’t have intoxicating properties.

On top of that, CBD offers a plethora of health benefits for the nervous system, immune system, digestive health, skin nourishment, stress management, sensory perception, and more.

CBD oil can be extracted from hemp and marijuana, although the vast majority of CBD available globally comes from hemp due to its legal status.

It’s impossible to fatally overdose on CBD. The cannabinoid has been tested in doses as high as 1500 mg daily for several weeks, without severe or life-threatening side effects.

Alcohol is a different pair of shoes.

Alcohol

Also known as ethanol, this substance is the main intoxicant in alcoholic beverages; in plain English, this is what makes you drunk.

Alcohol derives from the interaction between yeast and sugar in certain high-carb foods such as grapes, potatoes, and grains.

Alcohol is the most misused substance in the world. It can have potent mind-altering effects and compromise your cognitive performance along with motor skills and decision-making.

People often feel no limits when under the influence of alcohol; drinking impairs judgment, reduces shyness, and has a depressant effect on the nervous system.

Some of the short-term side effects of alcohol include slurred speech, drowsiness, blackouts, impaired judgment, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, distorted vision and hearing, and weak coordination.

Long-term intoxication with alcohol may lead to poisoning, liver disease, addiction, nerve damage, malnutrition, gastritis, vitamin deficiency, sexual dysfunction, and permanent brain damage — to name a few (1).

Can You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

The main argument for mixing CBD and alcohol is that the CBD is alcohol-soluble. Ethanol extraction is a popular method of making CBD tinctures and other herbal extracts.

However, the alcohol is usually evaporated, leaving the manufacturer with a viscous botanical liquid that contains high concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids. It is then infused into a food-grade carrier oil to improve bioavailability.

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You generally don’t take CBD and alcohol together — and for a good reason.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a vast network of receptors engaged in maintaining homeostasis between the body’s biological processes — including memory, mood, pain perception, body temperature, fertility, immune function, appetite, and more.

The ECS has its own CBD-like molecules known as endocannabinoids. A deficient ECS is likely to cause further dysfunctions in the body, which CBD is supposed to prevent.

CBD signals the ECS to produce more of its endocannabinoids while slowing their breakdown. With more cannabinoids circulating in the bloodstream, the body can efficiently regain homeostasis.

Alcohol does exactly the opposite.

Why Mixing CBD and Alcohol Is Counter-Productive

Alcohol is a well-known sedative. People often consume it to promote feelings of relaxation and to reduce anxiety, social fears, and regulate emotions.

However, its long-term side-effects outnumber the potential short-term benefits. Alcohol has a negative effect on both physical and mental health. It can severely damage internal organs and their systems, let alone the addiction and the social harms associated with alcohol abuse.

Taking alcohol with CBD mitigates its health benefits because it indirectly damages the ECS.

That being said, some studies suggest taking a small dose of alcohol with a large dose of CBD may be beneficial for inducing sleepiness and reducing anxiety.

A study conducted on 75 people to examine the efficacy of CBD in reducing anxiety and improving sleep showed that a dose of 25–75 mg of CBD daily administered for 30 days lowered anxiety markers and improved sleep patterns of the subjects (2).

One small study has found that a mixture of 200 mg of CBD consumed with 1 gram of alcohol for every 2.2 pounds of total weight resulted in significant improvements in motor performance and changes in the perception of time. Participants didn’t experience these effects when they took CBD alone (3).

Nevertheless, this isn’t the most reliable study, as it was performed on a small sample and used a much higher dose of CBD than most people consume daily.

There’s not much research into the exact effects of mixing CBD and alcohol, but considering their mechanisms of action and effects on our health, taking them in tandem seems counter-productive.

Does CBD Help with Hangovers?

By looking at the benefits of CBD, many people believe the cannabinoid could help with at least several negative effects of alcohol — including hangovers.

Although CBD oil won’t help with acute alcohol intoxication or impaired motor skills, it may alleviate the symptoms of a hangover, including nausea, headaches, increased blood pressure, and fatigue.

The antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of CBD also make it a considerable option for nursing hangovers. While everybody reacts differently to both CBD and alcohol, it’s likely for CBD products to ease some of the most disturbing hangover-related problems.

If you want to enjoy the relaxation provided by CBD, you can mix it into cocktail recipes, skipping the alcohol, and having a “virgin” version of your drink with your friends.

CBD Oil for Alcohol Withdrawal

It’s possible that CBD oil helps with hangover symptoms, but could it also help with alcohol withdrawal?

Again, there’s not much research on this subject, but CBD may be able to help reduce the likelihood of alcohol withdrawals by promoting homeostasis and alleviating some other symptoms.

A 2014 study posted by the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine concluded that CBD can reduce liver toxicity associated with alcohol use in mice. The study found that CBD prevented fatty liver disease (steatosis) caused by binge drinking (4).

In a 2016 review from the journal Neurotoxicity Research, the authors found little evidence to support the benefits of CBD for alcohol withdrawals, but it did mention CBD’s affinity to CB2 receptors as potentially effective in treating alcohol addiction (5).

According to Dr. Melanie Bone, a medical cannabis practitioner working in Florida claims that CBD may reduce the harms caused by problematic drinking. By having a positive effect on the body’s defensive mechanism and reducing alcohol cravings, CBD may help addicts minimize the side-effects of alcohol abuse.

These findings are promising, to say the least. With more longitudinal studies examining the effects of CBD on the damage caused by alcohol, therapists may be able to incorporate CBD oil as an effective adjunctive therapy for those trying to recover from alcohol addiction.

Always seek counseling or medical supervision before going cold turkey, even when trying to manage your symptoms with CBD.

Taking CBD Before vs After Drinking Alcohol: Which Is Better?

Both methods have their benefits.

As mentioned earlier, taking CBD after drinking alcohol may help you reduce the severity of hangovers, protect your body against alcohol-induced damage, and improve post-drinking regeneration.

Taking CBD before drinking may reduce your blood alcohol levels. The amount of alcohol in your blood is expressed in blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A higher BAC usually indicates a greater impairment in motor skills and cognitive function.

There is limited evidence that CBD affects blood alcohol levels. One study conducted on 10 subjects found a dose of 200 mg CBD to significantly lower blood alcohol levels than when the alcohol was taken alongside a placebo.

However, not only was the study conducted very long ago — in the 1970s — but it also used a very high dose of CBD, up to 10 times higher than most people take in their routine. It’s not clear whether lower doses of CBD would produce the same effect.

In addition, several studies have brought conflicting results, reporting no significant impact of CBD on blood alcohol concentration.

Is CBD Safe for Recovering Alcoholics?

CBD is generally considered a safe compound. Numerous health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), have recommended CBD as safe and well-tolerated by humans, with minimal potential for abuse and no severe side effects. Even doses as high as 1500 mg daily haven’t resulted in life-threatening adverse reactions.

That being said, studies have reported a few side effects attributed to high doses of CBD oil:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea

CBD is also known to interact with many pharmaceutical substances in prescription and non-prescription medications. If you take any medication that has a grapefruit warning on it, it will probably interact with CBD because both compounds use the same metabolizing enzymes in the liver. CBD disrupts drug metabolism, therefore elevating the drug’s concentration in the blood. This, in turn, may lead to second-hand side effects.

Always consult a doctor before buying CBD oil to help with alcohol withdrawals.

Does CBD Protect Cells Against Damage and Disease?

Alcohol abuse can result in damaged cells, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and chronic diseases such as liver disease, pancreatitis, and certain types of cancer.

Several animal-based studies have observed that CBD demonstrates neuroprotective properties, reducing the damage caused by binge drinking.

For example, one study on rats concluded that topical CBD administration lowered the brain-cell damage caused by excessive drinking by up to 49% (6).

In another study, CBD administration to mice provided them with better protection against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by promoting autophagy, a process that supports cell regeneration (7).

One study has correlated the use of CBD-rich cannabis extracts with an increased risk of liver toxicity in mice. However, some of the mice in that study were force-fed with extremely large doses of CBD from the whole-plant extract.

We don’t know if CBD could produce similar results in humans; the results from animal samples have never been replicated on human subjects.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Alcohol

Small doses of alcohol may intensify the effects of CBD, leading to drowsiness and sedation.

However, taking CBD with alcohol is counterproductive from the wellness point of view due to the negative impact of long-term alcohol use on the body and brain.

Some human and animal studies show that CBD has the potential to protect cells against alcohol-induced damage, reduce blood alcohol concentration, and control addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Until more research is conducted, it’s unclear whether taking CBD alongside alcohol can be safe (even in small doses). For now, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

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