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Drinking Habits

Is Delta-8 Safe With Alcohol?

June 21, 2023
8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 21, 2023
8 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 21, 2023
8 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 21, 2023
8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
June 21, 2023
8 min read

It’s Saturday night and maybe you’ve already had an edible. But you’re meeting a friend later and are now wondering — is it safe to have a drink on top of the Delta-8 now starting to take effect?

“Beer before liquor, never sicker” warns us against mixing types of alcohol. But what happens if we mix alcohol and cannabis? Should we make a rhyme about that, too?

Wonder no longer! Let’s dive into the science behind mixing Delta-8 and alcohol — and whether it’s safe to do so.

What Is Delta-8?

Delta-8-THC (delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol) is a type of naturally occurring compound called a “cannabinoid.” It is found in hemp and cannabis (marijuana) plants. 

It's a cousin of Delta-9-THC — the ingredient in marijuana that usually springs to mind when we think of weed. Both produce feelings of euphoria and a fuzziness, but Delta-8 is usually 50-75% milder than its more famous cousin.  

Despite this, Delta-8 still interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) just like Delta-9 does. The ECS plays a part in many of our body's functions, like memory, hunger, and yes — how our bodies respond to alcohol.

The Darker Side of Delta-8

In spite of the fact that it’s not as intense as Delta-9, Delta-8 has the potential to cause problems and damage our health. In addition to getting a Delta-8 hangover the next day, overdoing it can lead to some serious problems. It’s a common myth that it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis products. While an overdose is unlikely to be life-threatening, the truth is that it is very much possible to induce uncomfortable or dangerous symptoms with high doses.

Here are some Delta-8 overdose symptoms to be aware of:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal distress
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations or psychotic episodes (in rare cases)

If we’ve been using Delta-8 for a while and suddenly stop, we can experience withdrawal symptoms. The Delta-8 withdrawal timeline can vary, but symptoms are usually at their worst between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose and resolve in about a week. Here’s what we can expect from a Delta-8 overdose recovery:

  • Increased irritability or mood swings
  • Anxiety (especially in the first few days)
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Headaches
  • Depression, which can last for several weeks

Plus, keep in mind that the long-term health effects and potential risks of using delta-8 THC are not fully understood. If someone is experiencing severe symptoms from either overdose or withdrawal, it's important to get medical help right away.

Mixing It Up — Good Idea or Bad?

When alcohol and Delta-8-THC are combined, they can amplify each other's effects. This means that even a small amount of alcohol could potentially cause pronounced effects when paired with Delta-8-THC. Similarly, the milder "high" of Delta-8 might suddenly seem not so mild.

Think of it like a music festival: alcohol is the headliner and Delta-8-THC is on an adjacent stage maxing out the volume and bass. Together, these can make the show go from enjoyable to too intense, leaving us dizzy and overwhelmed. 

While alcohol and Delta-8 interplay in everyone’s bodies differently, there are some common, undesirable side effects of mixing the two together:

  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Sweating
  • Feeling too drunk or too high
  • More pronounced alterations in judgment
  • Increased risk of alcohol poisoning

That last point should give us pause: the biggest danger of mixing Delta-8 and alcohol is that it increases your risk for alcohol poisoning. This is because Delta-8 is often used as an antiemetic: it suppresses feelings of nausea and our body’s ability to vomit.  

Alcohol is toxic in excessive amounts, and Delta-8 robs our body of its strongest defense: the ability to mechanically rid itself of alcohol by vomiting before more enters our bloodstream.

The form in which we take it doesn’t matter either: for example, mixing Delta-8 gummies and alcohol carries the same risks as other forms. In fact, the Delta-8 effects from gummies tend to take longer to set in and last longer than other ways of using it.

Alcohol isn’t the only substance that doesn’t play nice with Delta-8. Mixing Delta-8 and antidepressants, for instance, can have unpredictable effects and cause extreme drowsiness and blood pressure fluctuations. It can also make the medication less effective. And guess what? Alcohol does the same thing!

Delta-8: Not FDA Evaluated Or Approved

Consider, too, that Delta-8 products are not regulated. Because they’re not evaluated or approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there’s no oversight. This means there can be harmful by-products hiding in products, and the listed strength may not be accurate. When mixed with alcohol, this can result in surprising effects.

The FDA has seen an uptick in adverse events of people who consumed Delta-8 — even without bringing alcohol to the mix. Between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2022, 55% of these reports required medical intervention due to hallucinations, vomiting, tremors, confusion, dizziness, anxiety, and loss of consciousness. 

More research is needed to understand the scope and severity of adverse events when Delta-8 products and alcohol are combined. 

The Verdict — To Mix or Not To Mix?

We've sifted through the science and possible effects of mixing alcohol with Delta-8-THC. The verdict? It's best to keep the two apart. 

The potential risks of combining these substances outweigh the benefits. Our body is a beautifully complex system, and mixing substances can create unpredictable effects — especially when we consider how little oversight there is regarding cannabis, including Delta-8 products.

Here’s what we can do instead:

  • Get in the know. It’s essential to stay informed about what we’re putting into our body. The more we know, the better decisions we can make.
  • Choose one or none — but not both. If we're considering using alcohol or Delta-8-THC, pick one or the other. Mixing them can make for an overly intense — and even dangerous — experience.
  • Seek alternatives. If we're trying to cut back on drinking, Delta-8-THC might seem like a good alternative. But you can also try the many other ways to relax and have fun that don't involve substances.
  • Find your people. Lastly, let's remember we're not alone in this journey. Reach out to friends, family, or professional counselors if you need a hand along the way. Reframe is a great resource, with a vast online community of like-minded people.

So there it is! An exploration into Delta-8-THC, its interactions with alcohol, and how we can take steps towards making informed choices.

Take Control and Thrive With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

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The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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