CBD oil and Alcohol - The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

CBD oil and Alcohol - The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!
CBD oil and Alcohol - The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

We could all use a bit of stress relief from time to time. Whether it’s from work, school, or anything else, stress is everywhere. Sometimes you just need a little break. For some people, that comes in the form of hiking or meditation. For others, a bowl or a couple of drinks helps take the edge off.

If you’ve been looking for new ways to help ease your stress or anxiety, or even just trying to get better sleep, you’ve probably come across a ton of CBD products. But there’s so much out there, from CBD vaporizers to hemp-infused skin lotion, and it can be a bit too much to take in. For that matter, just what is CBD anyway? We’ll cover the basics of CBD, alcohol, and how the two interact so you can rest easy - literally.

What you’ll learn in this article:

  • What is CBD?
  • How do CBD and alcohol affect the body?
  • Is it safe to take CBD with alcohol?

 

What is CBD?

A lot like THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring part of the hemp plant. These compounds share a precursor, but their effects are quite different. THC is the more famous part of marijuana, which is reasonable seeing as it’s the part that gets you high. In fact, it’s the only part of marijuana that will get you high. CBD offers a host of health benefits without having the inebriating effect of THC.

What does CBD do?

CBD may help with anything from inflammation to anxiety, and many more ailments. Studies have shown that CBD use is associated with improved sleep, pain relief, and even relieving symptoms experienced by people with epilepsy. When taking CBD, just like alcohol or any other substance that could alter your state of mind, you’ll want to start slowly and see exactly how it affects you before taking large doses. Taking CBD affects different people in different ways, so personal experience will serve you better than anecdotal evidence. 

One of the more common and apparent effects of CBD comes from its sedative properties. For some people, this may only mean having an easier time falling asleep, falling asleep more quickly, or staying asleep longer and more consistently. For others, however, the sedative effects of CBD can also be much more powerful. 

What about alcohol?

We could all use a party every now and then. A chance to relax, hang out with friends, and, let’s be real, have a few drinks. As long as it doesn’t get too crazy, a party and a few beers can be just what you need to get your mind off the stress of the week. But what actually happens when we drink alcohol?

The immediate (and most apparent) effects of alcohol would be the removal of inhibition and loss of coordination. After a few drinks, we’re all a bit more loose-lipped than normal, and probably a bit wobbly as well. As we drink more and blood alcohol levels continue to rise, alcohol also begins to have a fairly powerful sedative effect on people, as well as further lowering inhibitions and impairing coordination. 

What happens when you mix CBD with alcohol?

So you went out for the evening with some friends. Cocktails were abundant, a cab was called, and you’re home and ready for bed. You get cleaned up, change into your pajamas, and then it hits you: you’re half-drunk and haven’t taken your CBD yet. So what next? Can you take it now, despite the alcohol? Is it even safe to mix alcohol and CBD?

Let’s start with the shortest and most important answer to those questions. Yes, you can take CBD and alcohol together. It’s entirely harmless as far as your physical health goes (the effect on your mental state may be noticeable, but we’ll get to that in a second). In fact, mixing CBD and alcohol has some positive effects on your health.

The Good

One positive effect of mixing CBD and alcohol is the ability of CBD to inhibit cell damage from alcohol consumption, particularly inhibiting the oxidative damage done to the liver as it processes alcohol. Another of the positive effects of mixing CBD and alcohol was shown by this study, which indicated that people taking CBD with alcohol resulted in lower blood alcohol levels while still exhibiting the same inebriated effects as those that had been given a placebo with their alcohol. The lower blood alcohol levels in these patients didn’t diminish the effects of the alcohol, despite the difference in blood alcohol content. 

The Bad and the Ugly

Ok, so there really isn’t much “bad” or “ugly” when you mix alcohol and CBD. But, there are a few effects to keep an eye out for, especially if you’re not accustomed to CBD and alcohol. You probably caught onto the theme of sedative effects with both alcohol and CBD. It makes sense that the two together can result in an amplification of this sedative effect. 

There are also a few less apparent effects of CBD and alcohol. One of these is the ability of alcohol to amplify the effects of CBD, and vice versa. If CBD helps you relax and feel lighthearted, then that will be doubled by the alcohol. By that same token, if alcohol lowers your inhibition and makes you less careful about your actions and words, CBD can ramp up that effect by further relaxing you. 

Can I add CBD oil to wine?

Objectively speaking, yes, you can absolutely add CBD oil to wine. In fact, you could add it to just about any drink, or you could even add it to your favorite foods. However, as with adding it to food or any drink, adding CBD oil to your wine may simply not taste good (you can always try this CBD liquid that’s designed specifically for putting in your drinks!)

It certainly won’t hurt you, and you’re practically guaranteed to be more relaxed by the end of a glass or two, but the flavor of some oils (especially more natural, raw hemp-y tasting oils) almost certainly won’t mix well with your favorite chardonnay. The texture of thick, viscous CBD oil may also be peculiar in your glass of wine. If you’re after a CBD and alcohol induced nap, this may be a great option for you, but as with all CBD and alcohol products, your mileage may vary. 

Will CBD oil hurt your liver?

In short, no, CBD oil will absolutely not hurt your liver. Actually, CBD oil may do just the opposite. As previously mentioned, one of the effects of taking CBD and alcohol together is the reduction of alcohol induced damage on the body, particularly the liver. It’s certainly not a cure-all, so don’t get too carried away with the alcohol while expecting CBD to keep you completely safe. It’s just a helping hand in keeping you healthy while you enjoy a few drinks. 

Does caffeine counteract CBD?

In a sense, one might say that caffeine counteracts CBD. That is, if CBD has a sedative effect, it could be balanced out by caffeine’s energizing effects. This may be true for some people, and a cup of coffee may help stave off the drowsiness from CBD taken for pain relief. However, just like alcohol and CBD, the effects of CBD and caffeine can also have varied results.

Conclusion

A bit of alcohol here and there can be a fun and tasty way to relax, just like a nice joint or a few CBD gummies. But, just like smoking, too much alcohol can result in a very, very bad time. CBD can help relieve some of the symptoms associated with overconsumption of alcohol. Of course, you can always just drink extra water and take it slow, but we all know that sometimes just isn’t how it ends up going.

If you’re interested in CBD and its effects when mixed with alcohol, you can also look up these topics for further research:

  • What alcohol has CBD in it?
  • Can you make CBD beer?
  • Is there liquor with CBD?
  • Does hemp beer have CBD in it?

 

Author bio:
Nick Branson is a writer and longtime smoker with a passion for science and education. His hope is to destigmatize the use of marijuana, both medicinally and recreationally.