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Alcohol and Health

Should You Mix CBD and Alcohol?

August 4, 2023
9 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.
August 4, 2023
9 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.
August 4, 2023
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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.
August 4, 2023
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Reframe Content Team
August 4, 2023
9 min read

CBD products — tinctures, gummies, soaps, beverages, topical creams — have saturated the market in recent years. According to data by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 in 3 American adults reported using CBD products in 2020. And in 2022, sales of CBD products in the U.S. reached a staggering 4.17 billion dollars. 

It’s clear that CBD isn’t going anywhere, but many of us may wonder if we’re safe mixing it with other substances, particularly alcohol. Can you mix CBD and alcohol safely? The short answer is no. It’s wise to avoid mixing alcohol with CBD — or any other substance, for that matter — to prevent adverse interactions. But what, specifically, are the dangers of mixing? Let’s take a deeper look. 

CBD: The Non-Psychoactive Cannabis Compound

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Cannabidiol, or CBD, has come to the forefront of conversations surrounding natural wellness and alternative medicine. As one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, it's earned a reputation for its potential health benefits, despite its origins in the same plant as the often controversial tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Unlike THC, CBD won't leave you with a euphoric "high," but it might help you tackle a range of health concerns — scientifically, it's a very different molecule with very different effects.

Scientists believe that CBD exerts its effects primarily by interacting with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that plays a crucial role in regulating a wide range of functions and processes, including pain, mood, appetite, sleep, and immune system response. CBD is thought to work by preventing endocannabinoids — cannabinoids produced naturally in our body — from being broken down, thereby enhancing the ECS's regulatory capacity.

Early studies indicate that CBD might have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Some research suggests that CBD might interact with the glycine receptors in the brain, which play a role in transmitting pain signals through the nervous system. By modulating these receptors, CBD could potentially help to dampen pain.

Anxiety and mood disorders represent another area where CBD might offer benefits. Preliminary research suggests that CBD could influence the way your brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in mental health. This interaction could help regulate mood and social behavior, potentially reducing anxiety and improving overall mental well-being.

Improvements in sleep patterns have also been reported among CBD users, although the exact mechanisms remain elusive. It's believed that by influencing the ECS and other areas of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, CBD might help to promote better sleep.

While the therapeutic potential of CBD appears promising, research in these areas is still very much ongoing. Although many of the benefits of CBD are supported by anecdotal evidence, randomized controlled trials — the gold standard of scientific research — are needed to definitively establish these effects and to fully understand how CBD works at a cellular level. As our understanding of this fascinating compound grows, it could unlock new avenues for managing a wide range of health issues.

Mixing CBD with alcohol: Tips for a safe and enjoyable experience

Alcohol: A Widely Misused Substance

As we know, alcohol is an integral part of many cultures worldwide, known for its relaxation and sociability-enhancing properties. People may also use it to relieve many of the same issues that CBD is used for: anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain. 

However, there's a flip side to the “medicinal alcohol” coin. According to a 2021 survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 29.5 million people ages 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder in the past year. Excessive or chronic consumption of alcohol can lead to a myriad of health issues, including impaired cognition, addiction, liver diseases, and a range of cancers

How Do CBD and Alcohol Interact?

So can you take CBD with alcohol? While both CBD and alcohol have been individually studied for their impacts on health, the science behind their interaction is relatively uncharted territory. 

Some research suggests that combining CBD and alcohol could potentially intensify the effects of each. This means that when consumed together, these substances could lead to heightened levels of sedation and drowsiness, and even potentially impair motor control.

Interestingly, initial studies have proposed that CBD might reduce blood alcohol levels, although it's important to note that this does not necessarily correlate with reduced impairment.

What About CBD Drinks and Their Effects?

Another question that comes up is about a different beverage altogether — what about CBD infused alcohol? While they are not currently available in the U.S. and are not approved by the FDA, some have been making CBD infused drinks on their own by mixing the two.

What are the CBD drink effects like? Pretty much as one would expect, infusing alcohol with CBD will have a similar outcome as consuming one alongside the other. In short, it’s a potentially dangerous combo, given the interaction between the two.

How To Stay Safe

Navigating the landscape of cannabidiol and alcohol use can be complex. Here are some steps we can take to ensure our safety and well-being:

  • Exercise caution: In the absence of robust research on the interactions between CBD and alcohol, it's wise to approach the combination of these substances with caution. Avoid mixing the two to prevent the risk of adverse outcomes.
  • Stay updated: As research progresses, new findings will shed more light on the subject. Keep an eye on the latest scientific studies related to CBD and alcohol to stay informed.
  • Pay attention to your body: Each person's body might react differently to CBD and alcohol. It's crucial to listen to your body and prioritize your well-being above all else.
  • Seek professional advice: If you're contemplating using CBD for health-related purposes, consult a healthcare provider. They can provide insights into the safety of CBD, as well as its potential interactions with other substances, including alcohol.

With the pervasive presence of both alcohol and CBD products, it's vital not to lose sight of the choices we make and their long-term impacts on our health. While we're still learning about the complex interaction between CBD and alcohol, it's important to approach this duo with caution so that we’re putting our health first. The choices we make today will impact who we are years down the road — let’s choose wisely! 

Unlock Optimal Well-Being 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!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

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 through the App Store or Google Play 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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