What Mixing Weed and Alcohol Does to Your Mind


    Anyone who has ever mixed alcohol and weed together at a party knows that it gives you a completely different effect or feeling, known as the ‘Crossfade.’ However, while many of us may know the feeling, there are few and far between that understand the science behind it, until now.

    In order to gain a better understanding of this effect, let’s first begin with the basics of getting stoned/getting drunk. When we smoke marijuana, TCH reacts to our brains cannabinoid receptors, therefore giving us that nice, fuzzy feeling that we experience. Alcohol, on the other hand, depresses our central nervous system. Anyone who has ever dabbled with either knows that each of them provides an entirely different experience. Gary Wenk who works with psychology and neuroscience at Ohio University says that the two are as comparable as “Apples and vegetables.”

    In lamens terms, alcohol affects our motor skills, while THC reacts to our basic cognitive skills.

    However, different people experience different encounters when drinking or smoking weed.

    “Not everyone responds to alcohol and marijuana the same [way],” says Scott Lukas, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.

    So, how exactly do the two drugs react with one another while in your system?

    According to one study, participants were grouped into three categories: placebo, low-dose, and high-dose marijuana. Subjects were either given placebo or ethanol in doses of 0.35 g/kg or 0.70 g/kg. Then, thirty minutes later, they were given either a placebo joint or an actual joint. About 50 minutes after drinking, plasma ethanol levels rose sharply, however, they dropped quite quickly.

    Much quicker than those who had only been drunk, meaning that cannabis alters the bioavailability of alcohol.

    However, one interesting find was found in another study. Drinkers were given marijuana after drinking. Many found that they felt the effects of the THC much more quickly than usual and that they experienced euphoria and higher plasma THC levels than those who had only consumed placebo alcohol. 

    Of course, this makes sense to anyone who has ever drank before smoking, because as many of us know, we can oftentimes experience an effect over overdoing marijuana, which gives us the spins, nausea and a cloud-like feeling. Many refer to this as “greening out” which is a phenomenon that is much more likely to occur when we have drank.

    Psychology today explains the feeling as:

    “Greening out is a term used to describe a situation where a person may feel sick after smoking marijuana. The individuals may go pale and sweaty, feel dizzy with “the spins,” nauseous, and may even start vomiting. This is often followed by the need or strong desire to lie down.”

    Basically, if you are going to use the two together, use them both in moderation. Lukas explains that using the two together won’t do any more damage than using them separately, however, they may exacerbate one another. Stay hydrated, use your common sense, and make sure you are in a safe and comfortable environment. Furthermore, if anything, you could save yourself some cash on both substances if used in moderation. (Please understand that we are not endorsing illegal activities. We are merely explaining how the two work together and ask that you use your own personal judgment.)

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