CBD and Alcohol: Frequently Asked Questions

Many of you may be quite familiar with the effects of alcohol, but there’s still a lot to unveil about the effects of combining CBD and alcohol. There are many questions that remain unanswered because the issue has not yet been adequately studied. However, we have reviewed the most recent scientific findings to give you some answers. In this FAQ, you will learn all there is to know about CBD-infused alcoholic drinks, whether they are safe, what the possible side effects are, and much more. Here we go!

1. What are the effects of CBD cocktails?

Basically, it comes down to how CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system.

CB1R or CB1 receptors are mainly located in nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, but are also found in some peripheral organs and tissues, and parts of the reproductive system, gastrointestinal tract and urethra. They are responsible for coordination, movement, pain, anxiety, fear response, appetite, memory, mood, energy and others.

CB2R or CB2 receptors are mainly found in the leukocytes in the tonsils and spleen. Immune cells also express CB1, although there are fewer of them than CB2. The CB2 receptors are responsible for regulating immune and inflammatory responses.

It is important to understand that not all CBD responses are the same because all human bodies are different. For example, there are at least seven genetic mutations in the CB2 receptor, which can change the way one person responds to CBD compared to another. As a result, how one person reacts to a mixture of CBD and alcohol can be vastly different from someone else’s response.

You can find more interesting and useful information on this topic in our article about the endocannabinoid system.

Given that the process of how the body metabolises CBD is not well understood and hasn’t been sufficiently researched, it’s difficult to make any definitive statements about what to expect when you mix it with alcohol. However, we can still make some general assumptions based on the existing research, namely that mixing CBD and alcohol can lower blood alcohol levels while possibly reducing some of the toxic effects of alcohol on the liver.

Based on the limited amount of research available to us, it is impossible to tell if a glass or two of CBD wine could lead to any adverse health effects. More evidence is needed to give a definitive answer.

2. How might you feel after consuming CBD and alcohol together?

As we mentioned before, the differences in people’s bodies can produce a variety of possible reactions when mixing CBD and alcohol. The effects will be linked to the feelings that a person might experience. Below, we have listed some of these effects that can commonly be experienced:

  • It can cause drowsiness.

CBD and alcohol are both classified as central nervous system relaxants. Also, two studies have shown that CBD can enhance sleep quality and that low doses of alcohol may improve the first half of the sleep cycle.

  • It can lower blood pressure.

CBD and alcohol are also considered vasodilators, which means they can cause blood vessels to relax and widen. When alcohol and CBD are combined, this effect can be exacerbated, causing an even greater drop in blood pressure levels. If the effect is too strong, it can cause the pressure to drop too low, making it difficult for the heart to push enough blood and oxygen to the brain.

  • CBD may combat alcohol’s side effects.

CBD can relieve nausea or alcohol-related headaches. As we mentioned before, some studies even suggest that CBD may lower blood alcohol levels.

3. What are the possible side effects?

Again, not enough research has been done to pinpoint all the side effects of mixing CBD and alcohol. For now, what scientists do know is that CBD can be helpful in treating alcohol addiction and withdrawal symptoms. But it also has some of the same side effects of drinking alcohol, so you run the risk of amplifying them by mixing the two.

Combining the two products can happen either voluntarily by drinking CBD-infused cocktails or accidentally when you take CBD and then drink alcoholic beverages later in the day.

4. Can CBD protect the liver?

According to this study, there is a link between alcohol abuse and chronic liver injury. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcohol are the two most common causes of liver disease worldwide. Nearly all patients with a history of HCV infection and alcohol abuse develop chronic liver damage.

Scientists are currently testing whether CBD and alcohol can regenerate liver tissue and cells in mice, hoping to use these results to conduct tests in humans. The autophagy process, which is the body’s way of cleansing and regenerating damaged cells, improved in mice that participated in the preliminary stages of these tests.

Scientists still don’t have a definitive answer on whether CBD can positively impact liver health or not. One of the recent studies on mice demonstrated that CBD could potentially lead to liver injury. However, the dosage of CBD taken orally, as determined by the researchers, was actually much higher than the average human dose. Moreover, even such orally ingested doses were largely well-tolerated by the mice.

Another less recent study investigated the effects of cannabidiol on liver and brain damage. The results indicated that after low-dose CBD injections of 5 mg, the mice experienced a normalisation of liver functions. The results are primarily associated with CBD’s anti-inflammatory activities and its interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors.

5. Can CBD help fight alcohol addiction?

According to this study, CBD can help alleviate several symptoms of alcohol addiction, including alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity (alcoholic steatosis, in particular), cue-triggered and stress-induced seeking of alcohol, self-drinking, withdrawal-induced seizures and impulsive discounting of deferred rewards.

In addition to several studies on rats, there was also a study on humans. The result of a study of 24 smokers was that using a CBD inhaler for one week was able to reduce cigarette use by 40%. These results suggest that CBD could help curb addictive behaviours.

6. Can CBD lower blood alcohol levels?

Although CBD may lower alcohol levels in the blood, it in no way will influence or diminish any of alcohol’s general effects. And regardless of what some studies report about this fact, more research into the interaction between CBD and alcohol is needed to give a definite “yes” or “no”.

7. Are there any CBD cocktail bars?

There are some cities in different parts of the world where you can find such bars and propose to organise your own home bar, experiment and surprise your guests. Just to name a few: London (United Kingdom), New York City (United States), Houston (United States), Bangkok (Thailand) and Hong Kong (People’s Republic of China). As CBD grows in popularity each year, more and more places are appearing where you can try CBD-infused cocktails. However, we remind you that it is very important to take cannabidiol products only where they are allowed.

8. Can CBD replace alcohol in a cocktail?

Alcohol replacement can be very serious and even life-threatening if mishandled, so it is always crucial for people with alcohol use disorders to consult a doctor before quitting alcohol, even if they are taking CBD to relieve symptoms.

Additionally, CBD cocktails can be handy for those looking to enjoy a relaxing cocktail without alcohol. Just add CBD oil to your favourite cocktail recipe, steer clear of alcohol, and enjoy your CBD-infused drink in a social setting.

Finally, more research is needed to be sure, but CBD may help mitigate the dangers of alcohol withdrawal by relieving symptoms and promoting internal balance.

9. Is CBD effective against hangovers?

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause various unpleasant symptoms such as high blood pressure, gastrointestinal tract disorders with frequent diarrhoea, fatty liver disease, pancreatitis and sexual dysfunction. Moreover, the consumption of strong alcoholic drinks can lead to decreased serotonin levels and the feeling of anxiety and depression. This study found that CBD products may possibly be able to boost serotonin levels by activating the serotonin receptors responsible for your mood and productivity. Also, cannabidiol can modulate serotonergic transmission and reverse anxiety symptoms.

Several studies report that CBD can help with other symptoms. For example, it can be useful for relaxation, reducing pain and improving sleep quality.

10. Can I drink alcohol if I am taking CBD regularly?

It is difficult to answer this question. Since studies have not yet fully explored the relationship between different doses of CBD and alcohol, you should take both in moderation and consult your medical specialist for assistance.

Most of the existing research has focused on animals, and the doses of both CBD and alcohol have been high. There is currently not enough research examining the effects of moderate doses on humans. So until more research is available, it remains unclear if CBD and alcohol can be safely combined.

Unfortunately, the data are simply not enough to say whether cannabidiol can reduce the risk of any side effects from alcohol consumption.

11. Final thoughts

For now, many questions on this topic will remain unanswered. We hope that more research will be conducted to examine the interaction of CBD and alcohol in both animals and humans. At this time, we strongly recommend that you consume CBD with alcohol in moderation and put legal and safety considerations first. If you’re not entirely sure whether you can take both together, consult with a medical practitioner. If you have a question of your own on this topic, please share it with our team of professionals. Also, don’t forget to follow our blog to read more interesting and engaging content about CBD and related topics.

12. Sources

  1. Cannabidiol protects liver from binge alcohol-induced steatosis by mechanisms including inhibition of oxidative stress and increase in autophagy (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112960/)
  2. This is What Happens When You Mix Alcohol With CBD (https://dailycbd.com/en/alcohol-interactions/)
  3. The CBD Craze: How It Affects the Vascular System (https://ispyphysiology.com/2019/06/05/the-cbd-craze-how-it-affects-the-vascular-system/)
  4. What Does Alcohol Do To Your Veins And Your Circulatory System? (https://www.stepsrc.com/alcohol-veins-circulatory-system/)
  5. Can CBD Stop a Hangover? (https://dailycbd.com/en/cbd-hangover/)
  6. What Happens If You Mix CBD and Alcohol? (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-and-alcohol)
  7. Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6539990/)
  8. Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098033/)
  9. CBD cocktails: Eight cannabidiol-infused drinks to try in London (https://www.standard.co.uk/reveller/bars/cbd-cocktails-london-bars-cannabidiol-a4366006.html)
  10. Popular Montrose bar now serving CBD-infused cocktails (https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bellaire/news/article/CBD-cocktails-Montrose-Present-Company-patio-bar-14416040.php)
  11. Here’s every joint cooking with CBD across Thailand (that we know of) (https://coconuts.co/bangkok/food-drink/heres-every-joint-cooking-with-cbd-across-thailand-that-we-know-of/)
  12. Alcohol, oxidative stress and free radical damage (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16923312/)
  13. 5 Benefits of Combining CBD and Alcohol (https://www.calyxwellness.co/blog/learn/5-benefits-of-combining-cbd-and-alcohol/)
  14. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/)
  15. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/)
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