- Jun 24, 2021
- Reaction score
Alcohol & Marijuana
Alcohol, scientifically known as ethanol, is a psychoactive substance that has been consumed by humans for centuries. When consumed, alcohol affects various systems within the body, leading to the alteration of physical and psychological states.
Alcohol is classified as a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, meaning it slows down brain activity.
It enhances the effect of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter, leading to slowed neural activity. It also increases dopamine levels in the brain's reward circuit, which are associated with the pleasurable effects of alcohol consumption. The slowed neural activity impacts cognitive functions (like judgment and reasoning) and motor coordination.
Initial consumption may lead to feelings of happiness or euphoria. Cognitive functions like decision-making and risk assessment are compromised. Coordination and reaction times are adversely affected. Slurred Speech and drowsiness are commonly observed with increased consumption.
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis plant. It is utilized for recreational, medicinal, and spiritual purposes. The primary psychoactive component of cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), although the plant contains numerous other cannabinoids that also influence its effects.
Cannabis can be smoked, vaporized, ingested (as in edibles), or applied topically. When smoked or vaporized, THC is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. When ingested, it is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. THC circulates through the bloodstream, reaching the brain and other organs throughout the body.
The CNS contains cannabinoid receptors, primarily CB1 receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). THC binds to CB1 receptors, influencing neurotransmitter release in the brain and altering normal neurotransmission. The binding of THC modulates the release of neurotransmitters, affecting various mental and physiological processes.
Users often experience a sense of euphoria or a “high”. Changes in time perception heightened sensory experiences, and altered spatial awareness are common. Short-term memory can be adversely affected. Motor skills and coordination may be impaired. Increased Appetite is often referred to as “the munchies”.
Persistent use can impact cognitive functions, particularly when used during adolescence. There are concerns about the impact on mental health, particularly in individuals predisposed to conditions like schizophrenia. While less common than with substances like alcohol or nicotine, dependency can occur with regular use.
Interaction between alcohol and cannabis leads to altered senses, mood changes, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem-solving, and impaired memory and learning. Studies have highlighted the synergistic effects of alcohol and cannabis, where coadministration results in increased impairment in behavioral and neurocognitive measures compared to a single use of either substance.
Alcohol can increase THC absorption, meaning the psychoactive effects of cannabis can be felt more strongly and quickly. In the presence of alcohol, significantly higher levels of blood THC and its main active metabolite are detected, which may explain the increased impairment observed following coadministration of cannabis and alcohol.
Limited data is available regarding the acute influence of cannabis on the motivation to consume alcohol, though some studies suggest that cannabis, relative to placebo, acutely reduced the amount of alcohol consumed on a subsequent drinking task.
The synergistic effect of combination can lead to increased impairment and a higher likelihood of experiencing negative side effects:
- Impaired Coordination: Both substances impair motor coordination and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Cognitive Impairment: Memory, attention, and decision-making can be significantly impaired.
- Anxiety and Paranoia: Some individuals may experience heightened anxiety or paranoia.
- Dehydration: Both alcohol and cannabis can lead to dehydration and dry mouth.
The phenomenon of experiencing the effects of alcohol and cannabis simultaneously is often referred to as "cross-fading". This can lead to enhanced intoxication, sometimes resulting in nausea, dizziness, and in severe cases, "greening out" (a term used to describe feeling sick after consuming cannabis).
Over-intoxication: The combined use can lead to severe intoxication, which may result in poor decision-making, risky behaviors, and blackouts.
Cardiovascular Risks: Both substances can increase heart rate, posing potential risks to individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
Mental Health Risks: Prolonged use of both substances can have detrimental effects on mental health, potentially contributing to conditions like depression and anxiety.
Dependence: There is a risk of developing dependence on one or both substances.
Chronic alcohol exposure generally increases endocannabinoid production, which may downregulate CB1 receptor signaling, potentially contributing to anxiety and relapse into drinking.
Cannabis produces anti-inflammatory actions, which could potentially mitigate some adverse inflammatory consequences of alcohol abuse.
Large hospital datasets indicate that cannabis use reduces the risk of alcoholic pancreatitis and gastritis.
Preclinical studies suggest diverse beneficial effects of CBD, such as neuroprotection from adverse alcohol effects in the hippocampus and reduced alcohol-mediated liver damage.
Start Low and Go Slow: If choosing to consume both, start with lower doses to minimize risks and understand your tolerance.
Stay Hydrated: Ensure to drink water to mitigate potential dehydration.
Avoid Dangerous Activities: Never drive, climb, swim, etc. under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or both.
Know Your Limits: Be aware of your own limits and ensure to consume responsibly.
If you decide to combine these substances, we recommend taking cannabis first, enjoying its effects, and when they pass their peak values, then add a little alcohol for a sedative and relaxing effect. Such a scenario, if adequate dosages are observed, minimizes the risks.
In light of these considerations, we strongly recommend a meaningful approach to this combination.
Last edited by a moderator: