CBD oil and alcohol: can you drink while taking CBD? Here's what you need to know about using CBD and alcohol together. Should you mix CBD oil in alcohol? Alcohol dissolves cannabinoids, but the two are definitely not a dream duo. On the other hand, studies point to CBD as the potential aid for people suffering from hangovers, withdrawals, and alcohol-induced toxicity.
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 Together?
Taking them together may reduce the health benefits offered by CBD. While CBD is a known antioxidant and neuroprotectant, this isn’t the case for alcohol.
As a matter of fact, alcohol is a toxin with no acknowledged safe dose, as reported by the largest global study conducted in 195 countries.
Since CBD oil is available virtually everywhere, people are wondering if they can boost its relaxing properties by mixing it with other substances like alcohol for recreational use.
After all, you can have CBD-infused gummies, honey sticks, protein bars, etc. — so why not add some CBD to a good ole’ booze?
Alcohol companies have jumped on the bandwagon, infusing different alcoholic beverages with CBD, such as beer or cocktails — but does it actually make sense?
What happens when you mix CBD with alcohol?
Can you use CBD oil to help with alcohol misuse, hangovers, and other related problems?
Continue reading to find out.
CBD vs Alcohol: How They Affect Your Health
CBD and alcohol are completely different in terms of how they affect human health. Here’s a quick comparison of both substances.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in cannabis. Along with THC and other active molecules, it belongs to a group of substances known as cannabinoids.
CBD has a different chemical structure than THC, the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana plants. You won’t get high off of CBD, but you can still reap a plethora of health benefits from using it.
The most common effects of CBD include relief from stress, anxiety, pain and inflammation, and sleep deprivation. It can also strengthen the immune system and help the body regulate communication between neurotransmitters.
The CBD products that are widely advertised online come from hemp plants. Hemp is known for higher concentrations of CBD and only trace amounts of THC. Hemp-derived products comply with federal law and can be legally purchased in all 50 states.
CBD can also be extracted from marijuana. Such products will contain higher levels of THC and are legal only in the states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use.
There have been no reports of fatal overdoses from CBD. The cannabinoid has been tested in very high dosages – up to 1,500 mg daily – without life-threatening side effects.
The effects of alcohol are on the other side of the spectrum.
Also known as ethanol, alcohol is the main intoxicant in alcoholic beverages; in other words, it’s what makes you feel drunk.
Alcohol forms as a result of the interaction between sugar and yeast in certain carbohydrate-rich foods, such as grains, potatoes, or grapes.
It is also the most abused substance in the world. It can considerably alter your state of mind, compromising motor skills, judgment, and decision-making.
People often act without limits when under the influence of alcohol. It fuels them with courage, reduces shyness, and has a depressant effect on your nervous system.
The short-term side effects of alcohol include drowsiness, slurred speech, blurred vision, impaired judgment, problems with hearing, weak coordination, and blackouts.
The long-term risks of binge drinking are much more severe. Regular alcohol poisoning may lead to addiction, cause malnutrition, nerve damage, liver disease, and permanent brain damage. These are just a few consequences of alcohol misuse (1).
Does CBD and Alcohol Mix?
When people discuss the validity of mixing CBD with alcohol, they raise one specific argument — that CBD is alcohol-soluble. Ethanol extraction is actually one of the most common ways of making herbal supplements.
However, the alcohol usually evaporates once the active compounds have been stripped from the plant material — leaving the producer with a thick liquid that contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp molecules.
You generally don’t mix CBD and alcohol together. There’s a good reason why people advise against doing so.
CBD improves the functioning of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is the major regulatory network within our bodies that helps the body maintain the balance between important biological processes — such as pain perception, mood, memory, reproduction, immune function, neuroprotection, body temperature, appetite, and more.
The ECS produces its own CBD-like compounds called endocannabinoids. An ECS that is deficient in endocannabinoids is likely to lead to further imbalances between the other systems and their organs — something that CBD supplementation is supposed to prevent.
CBD ‘encourages’ the ECS to produce more of its endocannabinoids while slowing their breakdown. Since more cannabinoids are circulating in your bloodstream, the body can efficiently return to homeostasis.
Alcohol ruins the effort you put into leveling the endocannabinoid deficiencies.
Why Mixing CBD and Alcohol Isn’t A Good Idea
Alcohol has a potent sedative effect on the user. People often drink it to promote feelings of relaxation and to reduce stress and tension.
However, the potential short-term benefits are outnumbered by a long list of dangerous side effects. Alcohol misuse may wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. It can cause severe damage to your organs in addition to the social harm caused by those who become addicted to alcohol.
Mixing CBD with alcohol diminishes its health benefits because it causes damage to the ECS. As a result, endocannabinoid deficiencies may deteriorate.
There are some studies that suggest taking a small dose of alcohol with a large dose of CBD to induce stronger sedation and reduce anxiety.
One study was conducted on 75 people to analyze the efficacy of CBD in reducing anxiety and improving sleep patterns. After 30 days, the participants had lower anxiety markers and experienced deeper sleep (2).
The research team has found that adding 1 gram of alcohol for every 2.2 pounds of total body weight to a single dose of 200 mg of CBD resulted in significant improvements in motor performance and alterations in time perception. The subjects didn’t report these effects when they took CBD alone.
However, this isn’t the best study to conclude from because it was conducted on a small sample and used a much larger dose of CBD than most people take in their routine.
There aren’t many studies on the effects of mixing CBD with alcohol, but considering their contrasting effects on our health, they shouldn’t be taken together.
Does CBD Help with Hangovers?
Judging by the benefits of CBD, many people believe that you can use CBD oil to help with at least several negative effects of alcohol misuse.
Although CBD oil doesn’t help with acute intoxication or impaired motor skills, it may help lessen the symptoms associated with hangovers, such as headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, and increased blood pressure.
CBD has strong antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, which makes it a decent option for nursing hangovers and reducing the damage caused by alcohol.
If you want to enjoy the relaxing effects of CBD, but without getting buzzed, you can mix it into virgin versions of your cocktail recipes.
CBD Oil & Alcohol Withdrawals
Is it possible that CBD helps with alcohol withdrawals in a similar way that can mitigate hangovers?
Unfortunately, there’s not much research into it, but CBD may be able to reduce the chances of alcohol withdrawal by supporting homeostasis and easing some other symptoms.
In a 2014 study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the authors concluded that CBD can reduce alcohol-induced liver toxicity in mice. The study found that CBD prevented steatosis (fatty liver disease) caused by alcohol abuse (3).
A 2016 review of studies posted in the journal Neurotoxicity Research found little evidence to support the positive effects of CBD on alcohol withdrawals, but it did mention the role of CB2 receptors in treating alcohol addiction (4).
Dr. Melanie Bone, a medical cannabis practitioner working in Florida states that CBD may reduce the damage caused by problematic drinking. By strengthening the body’s defensive mechanisms and reducing alcohol cravings, CBD oil may help minimize the harms of alcohol abuse.
These are very promising findings. With more clinical research analyzing the effects of CBD on damage caused by binge drinking, therapists may use it as an adjunctive treatment for those trying to recover from addiction.
CBD Before vs After Drinking Alcohol
Like we said, taking CBD after drinking alcohol may help you ease the pesky symptoms of hangovers, protect your body against alcohol-induced damage, and support post-drinking recuperation.
On the other hand, taking CBD before drinking may contribute to lower blood alcohol levels. The blood alcohol levels are referred to the amount of alcohol in your blood after drinking. The higher these levels, the greater the impairment in cognitive function and motor performance.
Although the evidence that CBD affects blood alcohol levels, one study conducted on 10 people found that a dose of 200 mg of CBD significantly reduced the amount of alcohol in their blood. However, it’s not clear whether lower amounts of CBD would yield the same result.
Long story short, studies show conflicting results, reporting no significant influence of CBD on blood alcohol levels.
CBD for Recovering Alcoholics
Considering the health benefits of CBD, some people decide to support their recovery from alcoholism with CBD oil.
But is CBD safe for recovering alcoholics?
According to the World Health Organization, CBD is a safe compound, with no severe side effects. Its abuse potential is comparable to placebo, and people tolerate it even in doses as large as 1500 mg daily without any negative reactions.
Several studies have found that high doses of CBD oil can cause a few mild side effects, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Appetite fluctuation
CBD can also change the way certain medications are processed by the liver. CBD is the inhibitor of the system of enzymes (CYP450) that metabolize drugs. When you take CBD along with your medication, it may cause a negative interaction, resulting in subtherapeutic effects or toxic concentrations of the drug in the bloodstream. If your medication has a grapefruit warning, you shouldn’t take it with CBD oil.
We recommend consulting a holistic doctor to establish the right routine for both the CBD and your meds.
Does CBD Protect Cells Against Alcohol-related Damage?
Binge drinking can cause severe damage to cells, increasing the likelihood of inflammation and chronic diseases, such as pancreatitis, hypertension, and certain types of cancer.
CBD has neuroprotective properties, which means it could reduce damage caused by alcohol abuse.
In one study on rats, a CBD cream lowered the brain-cell damage caused by heavy drinking by up to 49% (5).
Another study found that CBD administration to mice resulted in better protection against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by triggering autophagy, a process that supports cell regeneration (6).
One study has found a correlation between the use of CBD-rich cannabis extract with an increased risk of liver toxicity in mice. However, the mice were force-fed with ridiculously large amounts of CBD, and the study’s results weren’t replicated in humans.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Alcohol
Research suggests that small doses of alcohol may intensify the effects of large doses of CBD — resulting in sleepiness and greater relaxation.
However, taking CBD alongside alcohol is counterintuitive because alcohol indirectly damages the endocannabinoid system — something that CBD is supposed to prevent.
In animal studies, CBD has shown the potential to protect cells against alcohol-induced damage, reduce blood alcohol levels, and control withdrawal symptoms from addiction.
Until more studies are done on this subject, it remains unclear whether mixing CBD and alcohol can be safe, even in small amounts.
- Rehm, Jürgen. “The risks associated with alcohol use and alcoholism.” Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism vol. 34,2 (2011): 135-43.
- Shannon, Scott et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal vol. 23 (2019): 18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
- Yang, Lili et al. “Cannabidiol protects the liver from binge alcohol-induced steatosis by mechanisms including inhibition of oxidative stress and increase in autophagy.” Free radical biology & medicine vol. 68 (2014): 260-7. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.12.026
- Kleczkowska, Patrycja et al. “Cannabinoid Ligands and Alcohol Addiction: A Promising Therapeutic Tool or a Humbug?.” Neurotoxicity research vol. 29,1 (2016): 173-96. doi:10.1007/s12640-015-9555-7
- Liput, Daniel J et al. “Transdermal delivery of cannabidiol attenuates binge alcohol-induced neurodegeneration in a rodent model of an alcohol use disorder.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 111 (2013): 120-7. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2013.08.013
- Wang, Yuping et al. “Cannabidiol attenuate alcohol-induced liver steatosis, metabolic dysregulation, inflammation, and neutrophil-mediated injury.” Scientific Reports vol. 7,1 12064. 21 Sep. 2017, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10924-8
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.