Combining Alcohol and Marijuana

in Addiction
Published May 9, 2021
alcohol and marijuana

Some people choose to consume alcohol and marijuana together with the intention of intensifying the effects of THC. Combining the two substances is popular at parties and is commonly known by the term “crossfading.” While this practice doesn’t always lead to adverse side effects, it should be done with extreme caution. Someone who has never used marijuana before or is not experienced with the drug is more likely to experience negative side effects. It is important to note that one individual’s reaction to using marijuana and alcohol together may differ from another person’s.

The Results of Combining Alcohol with Marijuana

Drinking alcohol will intensify the effects of marijuana is because it increases the absorption of THC, otherwise known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. When this happens, it, in turn, results in a stronger high or a sense of relaxation and pleasure. Even just small amounts of alcohol can impact the way the body will react to marijuana which is why it is essential to use caution.

The Dangers of Using Alcohol and Marijuana Together

There are certain risks involved with using alcohol and marijuana together. Drinking before using marijuana can increase the risk of unpleasant side effects often referred to as a “green out.” A “green out” occurs when an individual has ingested too much marijuana, and their body cannot regulate itself. While these side effects are not often severe, they can be very distressing, especially to someone who has never experienced them before. Some of the side effects of this can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Impaired memory
  • Anxiety
  • Low blood pressure

It is important to remember that these negative side effects can be exacerbated if an individual uses prescription medication or has any health problems. An individual should always consult their doctor before using marijuana or alcohol if they are taking medications to be informed about how their body may react.

In addition to these possible risks, an individual using marijuana and alcohol together will experience an increased level of impairment. An individual choosing to do this should ensure they are in a safe, controlled environment around people they trust. They should absolutely not drive or operate any sort of machinery.

In 2010, a National Alcohol Survey was conducted that examined links between those that used both alcohol and marijuana. It determined that those who use both substances tend to not only usually use them together but use more significant amounts of them. It also determined that simultaneous use of these substances was connected to more significant consequences such as drunk driving arrests and social problems. While it may not be the case for every individual, the survey results suggested that simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana can be connected to riskier behavior.

Identifying a Substance Use Problem

An individual who finds themselves frequently consuming alcohol and marijuana — whether together or separately — may find that they need more of the substances to experience the same effects. At this point, it is possible that they have become dependent upon one or both of the substances. If they are trying to determine whether or not they have a substance use problem, there are some questions they can ask themselves. It is crucial that they answer the questions as honestly as possible.

These questions include:

  • Do they want to cut back using marijuana or alcohol but find that they can’t?
  • Do they have cravings or urges to use marijuana or alcohol?
  • Do they find themselves spending a lot of time recovering from marijuana or alcohol use?
  • Are they struggling in their relationships due to their substance?
  • Are they failing to keep up with their responsibilities due to their substance use?
  • Do they continue to use a substance even when they know it is putting them in danger?


Seeking Treatment

If you believe you have a substance use problem, there is help available. It is important to speak honestly with your primary care doctor regarding your substance use. They will be able to provide you with any necessary medications and determine whether or not a medical detox is needed. A medical detox occurs in a facility under round-the-clock medical supervision. During this time, the body goes through its natural process of cleansing, and the individual is treated for the withdrawal symptoms that accompany this process. A medical detox helps increase the chance of a long-lasting, successful recovery.

Using alcohol and marijuana simultaneously will increase the effect of the THC in marijuana. When this happens, it results in a stronger high. Combining these two substances increases the risk of negative side effects such as nausea or vomiting, dizziness, anxiety, and changes in heart rate. An individual who is inexperienced with marijuana should take caution when using it along with alcohol because they are at greater risk for negative side effects. Studies show that using these two substances together often leads to heavier consumption of both and potentially dangerous behaviors. If you have a substance use problem, there are resources available to you. Reach out to your primary care physician, and they will provide any referrals necessary for medical services. At Gallus Medical Detox Center, we offer private and dignified care for those going through the detox process. While detoxing can be uncomfortable and frightening, we will ensure you are made as comfortable and safe as possible throughout the process. Call us today at (866) 296-5242 to learn more about detoxing from marijuana and alcohol.