This article by Madeleine Taylor was originally published on SundayScaries.
Most medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, come with warnings about mixing with alcohol. This is because both alcohol and medicines alter a person’s brain chemistry and if drugs are mixed with alcohol, it can have an unpredictable effect on the brain and body. The wrong mix of medication and alcohol can be fatal.
The awareness of the dangers of mixing medication and alcohol has led many people to ask if it’s safe to mix CBD and alcohol. The truth is, mixing hemp or CBD oil and alcohol can actually prove helpful for some people in an indirect manner. What’s more, using CBD oil can help a person curb their craving for alcohol, making it an effective treatment for alcoholism for some people.
CBD and Alcohol
Though more research is needed, like with cannabis, there is some evidence that using CBD and then drinking can result in a lower blood alcohol content. This means you can drink the same amount of alcohol as usual but suffer less of a toxic effect on the body. Some believe CBD reduces the risk for alcohol poisoning—though nobody would suggest you take CBD and then binge drink just for the sake of testing the theory.
One study showed that transdermal CBD patches applied to rodents significantly reduced the brain damage associated with drinking too much alcohol. It could be that CBD protects the brain from the dangers of alcohol, which means it could be safer to enjoy an alcoholic beverage without concern for the long-term effects.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you won’t get drunk, nor does it make it safe to drink and then operate a vehicle, or to drink in large quantities. However, there is evidence that CBD, which comes from the cannabis plant, enhances function after drinking and slows a person’s response time to alcohol. CBD also balances out the reaction to alcohol from a reward standpoint. This means it could prevent someone from developing an addiction to alcohol because they do not experience that exciting rush from drinking.
There is also some evidence that the positive effects of mixing, say, a tincture that contains high CBD and alcohol could extend beyond the brain into other parts of the body. One study showed that CBD protected the livers of mice from exposure to alcohol.
The positive effects—or reduction of negative effects—when mixing alcohol and CBD has led to some savvy bartenders creating CBD-infused cocktails. Though this is illegal in many areas and has yet to catch on so far in any widespread manner, it’s likely that, as more people discover the benefits of CBD oil and other CBD products, more and more businesses will use it to enhance and market their products.
Using CBD to Treat Alcoholism
Perhaps the most notable link between CBD and alcohol is the potential for the compound to help those with an addiction to alcohol. This is the case whether a person has developed full-blown alcoholism, or they just tend to overdrink but haven’t yet made it to the point of having an addiction. Essentially, CBD can help a person have a healthier relationship with alcohol.
One of the biggest challenges alcoholics face is their withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. They not only give up the rush alcohol produces in their body, but their body will respond in negative ways. For instance, many people who are heavy drinkers and stop find they develop a tremor. Alcoholics going through withdrawal also tend to experience a general sense of nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, and irritability.
CBD has been shown to ease these symptoms in a variety of situations and could be an effective tool for helping a person kick their addiction to alcohol long-term. Not to mention the cost considerations for treating alcoholism. Many people would benefit from spending time in a long-term care facility to help them deal with their addiction, but these places are often cost-prohibitive. CBD is an affordable option for people who want to break their addiction to alcohol but don’t have the money to invest in an inpatient program.
CBD helps people who are struggling with alcohol and makes it easier to overcome their addiction by supplementing what the body can no longer do properly because of the damage from long-term over-drinking. It also substitutes the feelings produced by drinking. CBD acts as a natural “replenishment” of the body’s depleted supply of endocannabinoids, which are erased over the course of alcohol abuse. It can also reduce cravings for alcohol as a person goes through detox.
CBD can be helpful for getting a person through withdraw and then for helping them avoid the temptation to drink once they’ve kicked their drinking habit.
Unfortunately, the stigma that still surrounds CBD has kept it out of the hands of many people suffering from alcoholism. Too many people assume that using CBD to treat alcoholism is just trading “one drug for another.” Others falsely believe that CBD is even more dangerous than alcohol or that it will produce psychoactive effects and not allow a person to recover from alcoholism in their normal functioning state.
The truth is CBD is not psychoactive. There are a number of misunderstandings and myths out there about CBD and too many people link it to marijuana and THC because it is derived from a similar source. CBD does not get you high or stoned. It does not interfere negatively with your body’s natural ability to perform and, as a matter of fact, many people find it has a positive effect on their performance. People who are not struggling with alcoholism use CBD to help them focus, feel more relaxed, and to meet the demands of everyday life in their optimal condition.
If you are struggling to overcome alcoholism or you’re wondering if CBD can help you approach alcohol consumption in a healthier manner, it might be time to give it a try.