How Alcohol Interacts with Marijuana

How Alcohol Interacts with Marijuana

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means that, when absorbed into the bloodstream, it slows bodily functions and response times. Too much alcohol can lead to intoxication and alcohol poisoning, and alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol addiction, overdose and even death. Marijuana, or cannabis, is also a depressant. It slows down the messages that travel between the brain and body, which means that it slows down bodily functions and response times in much the same way as alcohol does. When consumed in large amounts, marijuana can also lead to hallucinations. Marijuana is either smoked or eaten, and it usually comes in three forms: marijuana, hashish and hash oil.

Because it can take up to two hours to feel the full effects of marijuana after ingesting or smoking it, it is easy to use too much. Unfortunately, using marijuana and alcohol at the same time can result in dangerous levels of both drugs in the blood stream. Regular use of marijuana can also lead to some of the following long-term side effects:

  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Learning difficulties
  • Chronic colds and sore throats
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Infertility
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cancer, if smoked with tobacco

Those who use marijuana and have a family history of mental illness are more likely to develop depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and psychotic symptoms from drug use. In other words, these drugs can devastate a user’s health and mental wellbeing.

Using marijuana with alcohol can be dangerous. Alcohol and marijuana intensify each other’s effects by causing dangerously low respiration levels, heart rate and bodily response times. Marijuana also inhibits vomiting, which is the body’s natural response to consuming too much alcohol. In other words, people may need to vomit from drinking too much, but they may be unable to do so if they have also abused marijuana. Or, because marijuana is anti-emetic (a drug used to stop nausea and vomiting), people may choke on their own vomit, because the marijuana reduces the body’s ability to purge alcohol. These problems increase the risks of alcohol poisoning and death. Using alcohol and marijuana together also increases the risk of addiction to both substances, especially since the body becomes tolerant to the drugs, which means that it will need more of each to achieve the same level of intoxication.

Find Help for Marijuana and Alcohol Abuse

Using marijuana as a way to get high can lead to long-term problems. Combining marijuana with alcohol increases the risk of addiction, accidental overdose and death. If you or a loved one struggles with marijuana and alcohol abuse, then know that our staff can help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak with our admissions coordinators about professional treatment options.