Cannabis has changed my life and is helping me through alcohol abuse recovery.
I grew up in a military home, under the weight of domestic violence and alcohol abuse, which led to a long recovery. I have very detailed memories of my father abusing me and also abusing my mother in front of me.
My parents divorced when I was 12. My paternal grandfather passed away at the same time and that really took a toll on me. One day, I found my father’s liquor cabinet and I started drinking. I was also on Concerta for my ADHD, and got real bad into smoking Spice. When I was 17, I did manage to quit all of that cold turkey….
When I turned 19, my fiancé was pregnant with our son. Maybe from the pressure, I started drinking again. In 2014, I was arrested for domestic violence. I picked up a DWI and then in February 2016, I got my second (literally as soon as my probation ended from the first one) then a 3rd in September 2016. Anyone could see where this was going…
I got my medical cannabis card in March of 2017. I have not had a drop of alcohol since. That card was the best decision I ever made in my life.
Cannabis has saved my life and that of my family. My fiancé is now my wife – she has thrown me in jail and has bailed me out of jail. We now have three amazing sons and we’re still holding strong.
The Science on Alcohol Abuse Recovery: From RxLeaf
There is a lot to unpack in this patient story. For starters, this patient never combined cannabis and alcohol once they were quitting their family cycle of alcoholism.
However, one common thing patients do, especially during alcohol abuse recovery, is slowly cut out their alcohol intake and increase their cannabis intake. This can have problematic results for those trying to cut out one substance or another.
What Happens When You Mix Cannabis and Alcohol?
Perhaps it’s best to discuss the combination of cannabis and alcohol. As we know, at least recreationally, people combine these substances all the time. But is it dangerous to mix? If you use cannabis medicinally, is it okay to have a glass of wine with dinner, or let loose on the weekends?
Anecdotally you might already know what happens when you combine cannabis, particularly THC-rich strains, with excessive alcohol. Suddenly a pleasant experience turns sideways, and you become increasingly intoxicated to the point of no return. It’s incredibly unpleasant and often deeply unexpected.
Researchers have explored what happens at a biological level when THC and alcohol mix in the human body. In a small study, researchers gave a group of male participants varying doses of smoked THC, then part of the group was also given various levels of ethanol. Ethanol is the purest, laboratory-grade of alcohol.
After analysis, the results indicated that alcohol created higher plasma THC levels. Participants also reported they felt the effects more quickly and stronger than in the placebo group. This tells us there is a biological reason why you suddenly feel extremely intoxicated if you chose to combine the two.
Recreationally it’s Commonplace, But is Mixing Cannabis and Alcohol Safe?
If you rely on medical cannabis for the treatment of disease and illness, do you need to abstain from drinking alcohol?
It is a personal choice. After all, in many places, both options are legal for adult use. But as a patient, the risks increase the more you drink, no matter whether or not you choose to keep simultaneously medicating.
Combining cannabis with alcohol increases the experience and the adverse effects of cannabis and alcohol. In reality, this means you may feel increased feelings of anxiety, paranoia, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting should you combine.
Impacts on the Decision Making Process
Furthermore, the combination impacts your decision-making process. If you unwisely choose to get behind the wheel, “Drivers positive for both agents [cannabis and alcohol] had greater odds of making an error than drivers positive for either alcohol or cannabis only.” The numbers are clear that driving while under the influence of either agent is already dangerous enough. Together, it’s exponentially so.
With that said, should you mix alcohol and cannabis as a medical cannabis patient? So long as you do not put yourself or anyone else in danger (ex: driving under the influence), it is a personal decision.
One glass of red wine over dinner likely won’t lead to dramatically increased intoxication, but two or three could. Be wary of combining the two in excess, and take steps to stay safe.