Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is all the rage right now, so you might’ve seen various CBD products – including oils, gummies, lotions, and more-popping up online and even in the aisles of your local grocery store. Thanks to CBD’s growing popularity, however, you might also see CBD showing up in a few other unexpected places, like the ingredient list of your favorite cocktail.
Given CBD’s wide range of potential health benefits – it can help with pain, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and more – it’s easy to understand why more and more people are adding CBD products to their daily routine. However, when it comes to mixing CBD with other substances like alcohol, you might be wondering if it’s safe. Before you head to the bar – or start mixing your own CBD-infused cocktails at home – here’s what several experts had to say on combining CBD and alcohol.
How does CBD work?
Researchers are still learning more about how CBD works with the body, but we know that it has something to do with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
“The endocannabinoid system’s main function is homeostasis: homeo meaning same, stasis meaning state,” says Dr. Jeff Chen, who is the founder of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative as well as the CEO and CoFounder of Radicle Science. “So the endocannabinoid system’s job is to maintain an equilibrium state in light of changing conditions. For example, if there is inflammation, endocannabinoid release is triggered to reduce inflammation. If there is excessive neuron firing that is signaling pain, endocannabinoid release is triggered to reduce neuron firing and pain signals.”
Translation? Because the ECS plays a role in a wide range of bodily functions and processes – including sleep, memory, mode, and more – CBD might play a role in helping keep your body’s internal systems healthy and balanced.
Is it safe to mix CBD and alcohol?
Short answer? We don’t really know. Long answer?
“Alcohol and CBD are both metabolized by the liver, therefore, we discourage using them simultaneously,” suggests Dr. Felecia Dawson, a physician and cannabis advocate. “If the level of relaxation is not sufficient with a full spectrum CBD product and increasing THC is not an option, consider adding cannabinol, (CBN) or a sedating terpene (linalool, myrcene).”
So while your local cocktail bar might be serving up CBD-infused cocktails, you might want to hold off for now. Without any significant research done on the subject, it’s hard to say whether mixing CBD and alcohol is safe or not. However, Dr. Chen recommends weighing the risk versus the reward.
“The decision to use any product or treatment or drug is a weighing of risk and benefit. If a product confers a high risk and a low benefit, then it probably isn’t worth it. Conversely, if a product confers a low risk and a high benefit, then it probably is worth it,” Dr. Chen explains.
What’s an alternative to mixing CBD and alcohol?
If you still want to boost your relaxation – and you don’t live in a state where cannabis is legal – you can always try one of Dr. Dawson’s suggestions of looking for a CBD product that also includes cannabinol or CBN (also known as cannabinol, was actually the first phytocannabinoid isolated from cannabis back in the 1930s).
Another option? Instead of relying on CBD on an as-needed basis, try incorporating it into your regular wellness routine. It takes more than one dose of CBD to really “feel” any relaxation or stress-relieving benefits, so that might be why you aren’t noticing any relief.
“It can take up to 1-2 weeks to feel [the effects of CBD],” Dr. Dawson explains. “This is why it’s important to start low and go slow, increasing your dose every 2-3 days. Increasing your dose slowly will help you not miss your therapeutic window.”