CBD And Alcohol
With CBD’s skyrocketing popularity seemingly taking the world by storm, it’s no wonder to finally see many alcoholic drinks companies now infusing some of their products with CBD.
But is this just a marketing gimmick? Can CBD be safely mixed with alcohol? Does anything happen if you mix CBD and alcohol? Can CBD be used safely for recovering alcoholics? All of these are questions we see pop up time and time again – so it’s about time we get you some answers!
What is CBD?
We know we cover this in almost every blog post, but we’ll quickly run over it once again, for the uninitiated who have found their way to this article.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. Unlike its famous cousin THC, it produces no psychoactive effects (sorry if that’s what you were after). However, it does come with a seemingly endless list of potential health benefits.
What is Alcohol?
In case you didn’t know, alcohol is the ingredient found in drinks like beer, wine, whiskey, vodka etc. It’s the alcohol in these drinks that gets you ‘drunk’ if you drink too much of them at once.
Alcohol is made when yeast ferments with the sugar, found in the base ingredient of each type of drink. For example – grain is used for beer, grapes for wine, apples for cider, and potatoes (typically) for vodka.
Which Effects Does Alcohol Have on Your Body?
Drinking too much alcohol in one session can cause a person to become drunk. This meaning they lose coherent thought and concentration, become lethargic, lose coordination and the ability to regulate other bodily functions. In extreme cases, drinking too much alcohol in one sitting, can cause irreversible damage to your organs and even kill you.
Consuming too much alcohol over the long term can cause irrevocable damage. Organ damage, brain damage, central nervous system damage and significantly increase the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.
As well as this, there is a long history of alcohol dependency and addiction worldwide. This condition can take a lifetime of abstinence to recover from and has the potential to devastate people’s lives.
Sounds awful, right? But if alcohol is so bad for you, why is it so popular all around the world?
The Positive Effects of Alcohol
If consumed responsibly and correctly, alcohol can also have some positive effects.
Because of alcohols ability to lower your inhibitions, it can function as an excellent ‘social lubricant’. By this, we mean it makes people feel more at ease around other people, which helps overcome the awkwardness some people feel in social settings.
As a social lubricant, it can make you feel more talkative, find things funny, and more likely have fun and dance. There’s a reason why alcohol is generally present in most big social gatherings. like bars, weddings, and dinner parties.
Alcohol can also help people unwind and relax. But, this effect is very temporary and is one of the main reasons for drink being a crutch or addiction for many people.
Mixing CBD and Alcohol
Because of CBD’s boom in popularity in the last few years, many companies have started mixing CBD with a massive range of products. In particular, in the US, there has been a considerable rise in the number of alcoholic drinks and cocktails mixing in CBD.
Whilst they aren’t as readily available in the UK, taking CBD around a similar time to drinking alcohol, will still have the same effect as both stay in your system for several hours.
Does Alcohol Affect CBD?
Whilst there is little research into the direct effect CBD and alcohol have on one another, the consensus is that they do not directly affect one another.
However, that is not to say they don’t indirectly have an effect.
Amplification of Alcohol and CBD’s Effects
For instance, taking CBD and alcohol together has been suggested to amplify specific effects that each can have.
Both CBD and alcohol have been shown to reduce levels of stress, and lower people’s inhibitions. However, when taken together, this effect can potentially be amplified, meaning the impact of each would become much more substantial.
This might not be a problem at lower levels, but if you are taking larger doses of more potent CBD, and consuming high levels of alcohol, this might lead to you feeling extra sleepy or lethargic.
CBD Could Help Reduce Alcohol’s Side Effects
It has been supposed that by taking CBD regularly, some people may be able to lessen specific adverse side effects associated with long term alcohol abuse.
For example, excessive long-term alcohol consumption .is well known to cause cell damage (hence the link with increased risk of disease and cancers). CBD has been shown in one study on rats to reduce brain cell damage, caused by excessive alcohol consumption by 49%.
Another study, also done on rodents, found that CBD consumption reduced the risk of fatty liver disease (steatosis), formed due to excessive alcohol intake. The study found that taking CBD encourages a state of autophagy, which is the bodily process of replacing dead or dying cells with new healthy ones.
CBD for Hangovers
We will come right out and say it here – there is no research done into CBD and its impact on hangovers. However, a quick Google search can reveal a treasure trove of anecdotal evidence. All suggesting that taking CBD can reduce the harshness of hangovers.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise given CBD’s clout in several other health-related areas.
For example, CBD works with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote a state of homeostasis. When you drink heavily, your CB receptors found within your ECS are negatively affected. So, when you consume CBD after drinking, you might just be helping to undo some of the damage done, by your drinking the night before,
CBD also has a reputation for reducing the severity and frequency of migraines which can play a significant part in a crippling hangover.
Then there is also an abundance of evidence, to show that CBD can be used to mitigate and reduce feelings of nausea and sickness. This can once again play a huge role in your hangover.
Finally, CBD is used by an enormous number of people to aid the control of anxiety and depression. Whilst the hangover blues might not be as harrowing as these conditions, it is safe to say that if CBD can help anxiety and depression. It might just be the kick you’re looking for, to pull yourself out of bed after a heavy night on the town.
Learn more about the effect of CBD oil on hangovers.
CBD and Alcohol Addiction
While CBD research in humans is still in its infancy, there is once again evidence from the animal kingdom, that taking CBD may help recovery from alcohol addiction.
A review of research into the role CBD could play in addiction recovery stated:
“CBD may have therapeutic properties on opioid, cocaine, and psychostimulant addiction. Furthermore some preliminary data suggest, that it may be beneficial in cannabis and tobacco addiction in humans.”
In this review of 14 studies, 9 were studies involving animals (usually rodents), and 5 were on human participants.
Within these studies, it was found that CBD use could mitigate some of the side effects associated with alcohol withdrawal. It could lower the risk of relapse as well as reducing the motivation to consume alcohol.
Can I Take CBD as a Recovering Addict?
One of the main concerns for recovering addicts is, whether they may become addicted to other substances. For many people, alcohol addiction is primarily governed by genetic factors, so this concern is understandable.
Thankfully CBD has never been shown to cause addiction. This was in fact noted in one study as a benefit for the use of CBD, based pharmacology in the treatment of alcohol dependency.
If you want to learn more about CBD and addiction, click here to view our featured blog post on the topic.
A Quick Summary
In short, there is a real lack of substantial human research into the effects that CBD and alcohol have directly on one another. But there doesn’t seem to be any harm in taking CBD and drinking alcohol.
CBD appears to be able to negate some of the adverse side effects associated with alcohol consumption. It also has the potential for helping to recover from alcohol dependency and addiction.
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