Drug and alcohol interactions are extremely common and many prescription drugs are suggested to not be mixed alcohol due to potential problems. Cannabis has far less interactions than many other drugs on the market, though those interactions can vary greatly based on the strain of cannabis and its cannabinoid concentrations. Currently, there are still limited studies on the interactions between cannabis and alcohol, there have been some interesting findings on connections between the two.
A recent study from the University of Iowa published in 2015 found that THC levels in the blood are increased when alcohol is consumed along side of cannabis. The study, which was published in Clinical Chemistry, looked at occasional cannabis consumers who ingested cannabis a maximum of a few times a week. The study concluded that alcohol increased the distribution of THC, as well as changed the way the body metabolized and absorbed THC. These findings were not surprising to the researchers, however, because of alcohol’s consistent interactions with other substances.
It is important to consider the increased THC levels, particularly in relation to driving under the influence. Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous and has serious implications for individuals and the community alike. It is important to be aware of this possibility of heightened levels of THC when being mixing cannabis with alcohol. These findings could also add increased complications for state law enforcement in the process to determining testing for driving under the influence charges in relation to cannabis.
Another study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, found that people who consumed cannabis had differential consumption patterns with alcohol. The study from 1985 found that when cannabis was available, people consumed less alcohol.
When both cannabis and alcohol were available in a social setting, 14 out of 16 people drank significantly less alcohol, compared to when only alcohol was available. 12 out of 16 people, however, did consume slightly more cannabis when both products were available as well. The study concluded that in social situations people are more likely to drink less alcohol with access to cannabis, but also consume more cannabis with access to alcohol.
Outside of increased THC levels in the blood, there have been no direct drug interactions found between cannabis and alcohol, but there are some important aspects to consider. In situations that involve the recreational use of cannabis and alcohol, there can be some effects that need to be kept in mind. If a person over consumes alcohol while consuming cannabis, the cannabinoids can reduce nausea and inhibit vomiting.
Though in a medical application these qualities of cannabis can be very beneficial, they can effect the body’s ability to detect when it needs to expel toxins. The inability to vomit after over consuming alcohol can lead to increased potential for alcohol poising if toxicity isn’t properly reduced through expulsion.