Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cannabis 101: Part 8

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Mixing alcohol with virtually any drug is generally not a good idea. In fact, mixing it with some drugs (particularly opioids and central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sleep meds) can prove fatal.

But, what about alcohol and cannabis? There’s no doubt: cannabis and alcohol is a popular combination. But what does the research say? Is mixing these two substances okay?

Overall, drawing a conclusion based on available research is subject to interpretation and personal biases. The same studies can be interpreted positively or negatively, depending on your perspective. On the one hand, studies have provided compelling evidence that alcohol increases blood THC levels (although no evidence suggests the converse–that THC increases blood alcohol levels). On the other hand, some research suggests people consume less alcohol when they use cannabis.

These two findings aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, they make sense. If THC reacts to alcohol by potentiating the desired effects on mood, then one would need less alcohol.

A study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Alcohol and Marijuana: Concordance of Use by Men and Women that examined consumption pattern differences in three different environments (only alcohol is available, only cannabis is available, both are available).

Here’s what they found:

- 14 out 16 subjects drank significantly less alcohol when both alcohol and cannabis were         available (compared to when only alcohol was available)

- 12 of the 16 subjects consumed slightly more cannabis when both were available (compared to when only cannabis was available)

Basically, when people have access to both substances, their consumption patterns change: they smoke a little bit more, but they drink a lot less! It was a small study, so we can’t necessarily generalize the findings; however, they do seem consistent with most people’s experiences.

That being said, one still needs to be cautious. For one, alcohol and cannabis together pose even greater dangers driving than when using either one independently. Second, if someone has had too much to drink–to the point they need to vomit to expel the toxins–know that cannabis inhibits nausea and vomiting. By preventing yourself from vomiting, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of suffering from alcohol toxicity.

Article by:
Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD., PhD. (tc)
Life Transitions / Grief Recovery Counsellor
CBD-Rich Hemp Sales Consultant
Redmond House, Winchester ON.
Tel: 613.774.4389