CBD oil and alcohol: can you drink while taking CBD? Here's what you need to know about using CBD and alcohol together. Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways. Learn more about each product and what happens when they're mixed here. CBD and alcohol may amplify each other's effects, and mixing them together might produce unwanted consequences that you should know.
CBD Oil and Alcohol: Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking CBD Oil?
Despite CBD being non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high, we get a lot of questions about how CBD oil affects the human body and whether or not you can continue your daily life while consuming CBD.
One of the more common questions we’ve seen people asking online is, “can I drink alcohol while taking CBD oil?”
The simple answer to this is yes, but there are a few things you might want to consider before mixing CBD with alcohol.
To understand why, let’s first take a look at what CBD oil is and how it works in the body.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is one of over a hundred cannabinoid compounds in the cannabis plant. It is regularly used worldwide as a food supplement to support a healthy lifestyle.
It comes in many forms, including tinctures, topical creams, and water-soluble forms, as well as pioneering products such as our finely milled hemp powder, known as Hatcha.
CBD oil is commonly used to support the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a recently discovered network of receptors that runs throughout the body and interacts with the central and peripheral nervous systems.
CBD binds with these receptors, helping with homeostasis, which is your body’s ability to maintain a relatively stable internal state, regardless of what you are doing or changes in your environment.
Along with the many other cannabinoid compounds, CBD doesn’t tend to form part of our natural diet, so we can use CBD oil as a supplement to help ensure your ECS is working at its best.
Are CBD and Alcohol Safe?
Despite its many known adverse effects, including the potential for long-lasting organ damage, alcohol is a substance regularly used by many people around the world.
CBD has been deemed to be safe to use by the WHO, with the organisation finding that “CBD is generally well tolerated” and also noting that “there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
So, if both CBD and alcohol are safe to consume, can you mix the two?
The simple answer is yes, but as with anything, some risks can be associated with doing so.
When taken in moderation, the chances of any adverse effects are low. Since there is no evidence that taking CBD and alcohol together will result in any serious health problems, we strongly advise against excessive consumption of either substance.
Does CBD Oil React With Alcohol?
While CBD is deemed safe for consumption and alcohol is ok within limits, there is still limited research on the effects of mixing alcohol with CBD.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it reduces brain stimulation. CBD can be described as a relaxant, meaning that it brings a feeling of calm.
There are concerns that combining alcohol and CBD could intensify each other’s effects and therefore lead to drowsiness or behavioural changes in the consumer.
It is difficult to fully understand what the combination of alcohol and CBD means due to the lack of scientific exploration at this stage, so it is wise to err on the side of caution.
Regular excessive alcohol consumption can significantly impact your body, including causing damage to the brain, nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas, as well as increasing cholesterol and blood pressure.
Based on what we do know, it is recommended that if you are going to take CBD oil and alcoholic beverages at the same time, then you should do so in moderation.
What About CBD Infused Alcoholic Drinks?
Due to the popularity of CBD oils in recent years, it has been used to create numerous types of ingestible products, including CBD-infused sweets and treats.
Despite the unknown entities surrounding CBD and alcohol, many companies have combined the two substances to create CBD-infused beer or cocktails.
But the same concerns apply. It is hard to know the combined effects on individual people.
As with any product, particularly one containing CBD, we would always recommend caution before you try.
Check that the company you are buying from is reputable and trustworthy and if you decide to taste test, do so with care and consideration, and start small.
What Are the CBD and Alcohol Benefits?
CBD oil is most commonly used to improve wellbeing, with many people using it to help manage anxiety, stress, pain and insomnia.
While CBD oil is not a cure-all, it is thought to help manage these and other conditions.
Alcohol intake, on the other hand, is a substance that has been used for centuries for its psychoactive effects.
While alcohol can have some positive short-term effects, such as reducing anxiety, in the long-term, it is more likely to cause problems such as liver damage, addiction and mental health issues.
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that can lead to numerous health complications, including organ damage, mental health, and social issues.
We advise speaking to a medical professional if you are worried about your alcohol consumption.
CBD oil is not known to cause addiction or serious health problems, and its long-term effects are largely unknown.
However, it is always important to be cautious when taking any new substance and to start with a low dose to see how your body reacts.
Side Effects of CBD Oil and Alcohol
CBD oil is generally considered safe, and most people who take it experience no adverse side effects.
The most common side effects of CBD oil are:
- dry mouth
- changes in appetite
These side effects are usually mild and temporary.
However, it is essential to know that CBD oil can interact with other medications. As such, it is always advisable to speak to a medical professional before starting any new supplement.
Consuming alcohol can cause several short and long-term side effects, including:
- impaired judgment
- slurred speech
- loss of coordination
- decreased reaction time
- increased risk of accidents
- memory problems
- liver damage
- high blood pressure
As you can see, the side effects of alcohol are much more severe than those of CBD oil.
It is also important to note that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, and withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, anxiety, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
Can CBD Lower Blood Alcohol Levels?
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in your blood.
It is measured by the weight of alcohol in a certain blood volume and is used to determine if someone is legally drunk.
There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may help to reduce blood alcohol levels.
A study done in the 1970s found that when people took 200mg of CBD with alcohol, their BAC was significantly lower than when they took alcohol with a placebo.
However, it is essential to note that this study is outdated and used a very high dose of CBD.
It is also worth noting that other studies have found conflicting results.
Some animal studies had found that CBD did not affect blood alcohol levels when it was given to rats alongside alcohol.
It is important to remember that more research is needed in this area, and we would always recommend caution before you try combining CBD oil with alcohol.
How Long After Taking CBD Oil Can I Drink Alcohol?
If you are taking CBD oil, it is advisable to wait at least four hours after your last dose before consuming alcohol.
This will give the CBD time to leave your system and will help to reduce the chances of any adverse side effects.
As mentioned above, it is always essential to start with a low dose of CBD oil and increase gradually as needed.
The Bottom Line
Everybody is different, and how one person reacts to something won’t be universal.
Someone who drinks regularly might not feel the effects of a bottle of wine, whereas an occasional drinker might feel tipsy after one glass.
In the same way, people can react differently to hemp-derived CBD products, so it is difficult to say with certainty how you personally would respond to combining CBD and alcohol.
You can minimise risk by drinking alcohol responsibly and in moderation and using a good quality CBD product from a trusted brand. If you’re unsure, don’t do it.
Can You Mix CBD Oil With a Drink?
Yes, you can mix CBD oil with a drink. Water-soluble CBD oil is the best type of CBD oil to use for this purpose, as it will mix more easily with drinks than other types of CBD oil.
Can You Take CBD Oil After Drinking Alcohol?
Yes, you can take CBD oil after drinking alcohol. There are no known interactions between CBD and alcohol. However, taking CBD oil with alcohol may amplify each other’s effects.
Can You Drink Wine While Taking CBD Oil?
Yes, you can drink wine while taking CBD oil. However, we would always recommend starting with a low dose of CBD to see how your body reacts before increasing the amount you take.
Does CBD Feel Like Alcohol?
No, CBD does not feel like alcohol. CBD is a non-intoxicating compound, so it will not produce the same effects as alcohol.
Can CBD Help Treat Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?
There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may help to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD). A study done on human and animal subjects found that CBD may help to reduce alcohol cravings in people with AUD. However, more research is needed in this area.
CBD And Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix Them?
Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner based in Oregon.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- CBD and Alcohol in the Body
- What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
- CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
- Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular compound found in hemp plants that can potentially help alleviate anxiety, improve sleep and relieve pain, along with other purported benefits. In a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll, 60% of respondents said they’ve tried a CBD product, and 64% think CBD is safer than alcohol.
CBD can be derived from both hemp and cannabis sativa plants, the latter of which also contains detectable amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC). Delta-9 THC is the main component of cannabis that causes intoxicatingly psychoactive effects.
Research regarding what happens when humans consume CBD and alcohol together is sparse. As a result, consumers generally have access to limited information when deciding whether to mix CBD and alcohol.
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CBD and Alcohol in the Body
Alcohol and CBD affect your body in different ways, although consuming either substance can result in similar effects, such as sleepiness or sedation.
When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream quickly, and its effects can occur within ten minutes. Alcohol affects the way your brain functions, potentially impairing coordination and your ability to think clearly and altering both mood and behavior.
Depending on the amount you consume, alcohol can affect your speech, memory and judgment. Drinking alcohol can also affect your balance, raising the risk of falls and other injuries.
Unlike alcohol, CBD doesn’t contain intoxicating properties. Instead, CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which comprises receptors throughout your body—particularly the central nervous system—to produce a variety of potential effects, including:
- A calming of the central nervous system
- A reduction in anxiety symptoms
- Improvement in sleep quality
- A decrease in chronic pain symptoms
With that said, some of the effects can be less desirable, including:
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What Can Happen When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
With limited research available on potential interactions between alcohol and CBD, the effects of mixing the two substances is unclear. Potential interactions are also subject to variables, such as how much of each you consume and the amount of THC present in the CBD product, says John Mendelson, M.D., chief medical officer and founder of San Francisco-based Ria Health, which offers a medicine-based approach to drinking moderation and alcohol abstinence.
Depending on the amount, THC may interact with alcohol when you drink, says Dr. Mendelson. However, not enough research exists to know how THC in CBD products may interact with alcohol.
“The 0.3% THC allowed in hemp-derived CBD products can go up to amounts in the final product that may cause an interaction,” says Eloise Theisen, a nurse practitioner and the chief nursing officer at Leaf411, an online consumer resource on how to use cannabis safely and effectively. “We see levels of 1 to 4 milligrams of THC in some concentrated hemp CBD products.”
THC amounts in CBD are limited by the federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill of 2018) to 0.3% by dry weight to avoid being classified as cannabis, a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. THC levels are often listed on a CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which is typically made available on the manufacturer’s website.
However, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, so you’re relying on the manufacturer’s claims and third-party laboratory test results to determine amounts of THC present in specific CBD products. Only Epidiolex, a prescription drug used to treat certain types of seizure disorders, has been approved by the FDA.
Ideally, it’s best to buy CBD that contains the lowest amount of THC to avoid alcohol and THC interactions, says Dr. Mendelson. When choosing a CBD product, check the label and the lot number’s COA to find the amount of THC present in the product.
“Dose will be the most important thing,” says Dr. Mendelson. “If someone stays within the recommended alcohol consumption amounts of one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and a small dose of CBD at the manufacturer’s recommended level, there should be no significant reactions one way or another.”
Potential Harmful Effects of Using CBD and Alcohol Together
“I strongly advise my patients against consuming alcohol and cannabis together, whether it’s CBD or THC, since you can feel a stronger effect from both when using alcohol,” says Theisen.
Side effects depend on several factors, including the amount of alcohol, the CBD dose and the amount of THC present in the CBD product. Combining alcohol and CBD may cause drowsiness, impaired coordination and, in rare cases, vomiting, says Theisen.
Combining CBD and alcohol could also potentially increase the effects of the alcohol, causing the person to feel drunk or impaired faster, says Theisen.
“If someone took CBD in the morning to help with their anxiety and wanted to have a drink or two in the evening, that [combination] hasn’t been shown to be problematic,” says Theisen. “Taking them concurrently is where I get concerned because of potential side effects—whether from the alcohol or even the CBD.”
CBD as a Potential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
So far, studies on CBD use with the goal of reducing alcohol cravings and relapses are based mainly on responses or interactions in rodents rather than humans, says Theisen.
“That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some observational case reports where people have been able to use cannabis successfully to reduce their alcohol intake, cravings or relapses,” says Theisen. “However, in terms of actual data, it’s only in animals. But that data is promising.”
One study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research used rats bred selectively for high alcohol preference and consumption and found that when the rats received a low dose of CBD, the number of times they pushed levers that delivered alcohol decreased  Maccioni P, Bratzu J, Carai M. Reducing Effect of Cannabidiol on Alcohol Self-Administration in Sardinian Alcohol-Preferring Rats. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2020; 7(2):161-169. .
Meanwhile, consuming CBD alone may help alleviate the reasons some people drink, such as anxiety, insomnia, pain and post-traumatic stress, says Theisen.
“When I’m assessing a patient who is drinking a lot of alcohol, I always want to know why that is,” says Theisen. “Is it because they’re anxious? Are they using it to help with their pain or sleep? Sometimes we can reduce their alcohol intake by treating those conditions with CBD instead.”
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Is It Safe to Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?
Moderation is key to safety when consuming both CBD and alcohol, says Dr. Mendelson, who doesn’t recommend mixing the two substances due to the possible side effect of drowsiness, which could create a safety hazard while driving, operating machinery or working with kitchen equipment.
With that said, what little research exists on mixing alcohol and CBD is based mainly on studies of rodents rather than humans. As a result, it’s still unclear whether it’s safe to consume CBD and alcohol together.
Forbes Health covers CBD and cannabis products in accordance with FTC guidelines. Learn more about Forbes Health’s practices and policies regarding how we cover CBD and cannabis as a publisher.
Everything That Happens When You Mix CBD and Alcohol
CBD and alcohol have tumultuous – yet similar – histories. Each faced government resistance and came out on top. But while their backgrounds share some common ground, CBD and alcohol’s effects on the body and central nervous system differ in some areas and are eerily similar in others.
So is CBD helpful or harmful when mixed with alcohol? The jury is still out, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to mix CBD oil and alcohol. Before you make any rash choices, consider what happens when you mix CBD with alcohol.
This article will review what studies say, our findings, and years of knowledge surrounding CBD and how CBD and alcohol interact with each other when mixed and more.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” a major chemical compound (cannabinoid) found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species (a.k.a. “hemp” or “marijuana”).
Historically, cannabis is best known for its THC-induced effects, specifically the euphoric high. But this is where CBD and THC go their separate ways. While THC is intoxicating, CBD isn’t.
CBD is also federally legal, unlike “marijuana,” cannabis containing over 0.3% THC. The extract comes in a variety of forms, like CBD oil, edibles, and vapes.
One important (and possibly harmful) similarity is that alcohol and CBD oil both use the CYP450 liver enzyme. This forced combination of alcohol and CBD trigger a negative interaction, as is the case with many prescription medications .
What Happens When You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
We have very little research on CBD oil and alcohol. The information available either relies on small human sample sizes or rodents. These give us a vague idea about the effects of alcohol and CBD.
Studies show CBD’s interaction with alcohol is strangely contradictory. Rather than being completely good or bad, the effects of alcohol and CBD lie somewhere in between.
1. CBD Could Increase Intoxication
CBD and alcohol are both nervous system depressants, meaning they mentally relax you. Combining alcohol with CBD might increase alcohol-induced fatigue and drowsiness, making you feel tired and sluggish.
A 1979 clinical trial published in Psychopharmacology suggests that mixing CBD and alcohol causes severely impaired motor function and distorted time perception. Subjects who only took CBD didn’t report those effects.
The effects of alcohol on mood are almost comedically well-known. We also have strong reasons to believe CBD, like alcohol, decreases anxiety. Consequently, it helps further reduce inhibitions – which can be good or bad, depending on how you react.
If you want to dial up your drinking experience, CBD might help get you drunker faster.
2. CBD May Help With Alcohol-Related Nausea
Paradoxically, CBD appears to enhance alcohol’s “good” effects while fighting the negative ones. Nausea and vomiting are classic signs you’ve had too much alcohol, with your body trying to purge the excess.
But if you’re worried about throwing up, CBD might help prevent or relieve nausea. For instance, a 2001 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology observed antiemetic effects in rodents receiving CBD.
But while this helps curb the unpleasant experience, repressing alcohol-induced nausea with CBD (or any method) isn’t a good idea. Vomiting is a sign of toxicity. Your body tries to eliminate the poison (in this case alcohol) from your stomach to prevent further harm.
Like it or not, purging excess alcohol is necessary for your health and safety. Repressing the function will make it harder to flush your system and could cause alcohol poisoning .
3. There’s a Chance CBD Can Lower Blood Alcohol Levels
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) determines how intoxicated you feel, although the intensity varies based on tolerance. As blood alcohol levels spike, so does the risk of poisoning.
Ironically, mixing alcohol and CBD, in this case, might help.
The above study from 1979 gave 10 human participants 200 mg of CBD, along with alcohol. Researchers noted that CBD reduced blood alcohol levels, while nothing changed with placebo.
However, the study is old and very small. Although promising, this is far from conclusive and we should take it with a grain of salt.
4. Alcohol and CBD Reduce Blood Pressure
We often hear how high blood pressure is bad, but low blood pressure is just as harmful.
Cannabis and alcohol are both vasodilators. In other words, they relax and open blood vessels, which is why medical marijuana became a popular remedy for glaucoma.
Alcohol isn’t health food or an anti-blood pressure drug. Low BP forces your heart to work harder. Eventually, the strain could be too much, causing you to pass out – although death is possible in rare cases.
5. CBD Might Protect Against Alcohol Damage
If this is true, the implications can be huge. There’s a good amount of animal research dedicated to the protective effects of CBD.
For example, one 2013 rodent study in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior looked at rat subjects with alcohol-related neurological damage. It revealed a mind-blowing 49% less brain cell loss when the rats received CBD.
Excessive long-term alcohol consumption can destroy your liver. But a 2014 study from Free Radical Biology and Medicine reveals that CBD could protect the liver from alcohol-induced damage. CBD promoted the regeneration of new liver cells and fought oxidative stress – an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants that’s known to harm cells
6. CBD Could Reduce the Urge to Drink
We all know the classic cycle after a night of heavy drinking. You go out planning to drink in moderation, but somewhere things get out of hand and you lose count. The next morning all you can say is “I’ll never drink again.” But most people know it’s a short-lived promise.
CBD, however, might help the same thing from repeating itself next Friday. A 2019 review in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology examined preclinical data and human studies. The authors concluded that CBD may reduce the urge to binge drink.
Again, this isn’t conclusive evidence, but it makes a strong case for further research into the effects of CBD with alcohol.
Does CBD Oil Help With Hangovers?
“Hangover” is the single-word refutation to anyone who loves getting incredibly drunk. Even seasoned drinkers know of this inevitable outcome. Hangovers are nasty and can last a while, with common symptoms being fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and headache.
If you slipped up and had a few too many shots, it might be handy to have some CBD oil on hand. Earlier we mentioned how CBD’s antiemetic benefits can keep you from getting sick while drinking.
Whether you’re nauseous the night before or queasy the morning after, CBD can reduce or relieve the symptom and make your hangover more manageable.
There’s also ample evidence to suggest CBD could help with headaches, as indicated in a 2011 review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research .
Keep in mind that hangover headaches are a consequence of dehydration , caused by your liver and kidneys working overtime to eliminate the poison. Keep yourself hydrated with water or sports drinks and let the hangover pass…
Can You Mix CBD and Alcohol?
The question of whether or not you can mix the two is still debated. Medical researchers don’t have enough evidence to pinpoint the exact consequences of mixing CBD and alcohol. Evidence is preliminary, human studies are small, and animal research is sparse.
What we do know paints a contradictory picture, with pros and cons forming an uncanny balance. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume the potential effects we covered are true.
CBD can increase intoxication but also prevent the negative consequences of excessive drinking. Cannabidiol reduces blood alcohol levels and protects the liver, but combining the substances can also lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
CBD can keep you from getting sick, yet risk triggering alcohol poisoning in the process. Of course, you may not even feel the need to drink much if you take CBD.
So can you mix CBD and alcohol? Yes, you can mix CBD and alcohol – the real question is should you do it? That’s a matter of opinion and how willing you are to take the risk.
How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can You Take CBD Oil?
There hasn’t been any research about how long you should wait after drinking if you use CBD oil. The effects of ingestible CBD last four to eight hours. Both CBD oil and alcohol stay in your system long after that time has passed – often days or weeks.
However, the key here is to avoid the effects of CBD oil colliding with alcohol in the liver. Theoretically, if you no longer feel the effects of alcohol, you probably won’t have an issue taking CBD oil.
Give yourself at least eight hours to get well past the intoxication stage.
Can CBD Help With Alcohol Addiction?
CBD’s ability to help reduce addictive behaviors has generated a lot of hope for addicts and doctors alike. Studies are limited (like virtually everything CBD-related), but they at least involve some human testing.
For example, a small 2013 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors showed CBD reduced cigarette consumption in smokers by 40%.
It’s great that smokers might benefit from CBD, but what about alcohol? Apparently, a 2018 study in Neuropsychopharmacology on alcoholic rats showed that CBD reduced the subjects’ desire to seek alcohol and other drugs.
Even more impressively, the rats showed no alcohol or drug-seeking behavior for five months after stopping CBD treatment. However, it’s unknown whether this approach will work on humans.
With the positive results from studies of using CBD to help alcoholism, it’s important to be aware of the effects and symptoms caused by consuming too much alcohol and why you should consider using CBD.
Here are examples of the effects and symptoms caused by alcoholism.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Alcohol
Mixing CBD with alcohol might compound their effects, triggering grogginess, sedation, and possibly fainting. At the same time, preliminary (mostly animal) research indicates CBD could protect from alcohol-induced health issues, like liver damage, alcoholism, and withdrawal.
Whether you use CBD oil, CBD gummies, or anything else, try to keep CBD and alcohol far apart.
There’s no need to take unnecessary risks. Until we have more information on interactions between CBD oil and alcohol, it’s better to be safe than sorry.