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Recreational Markets Opening Up: Beware the Crossfade

Lydia K. RN
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When combining alcohol and cannabis, you can get into a spot of trouble called ‘the crossfade,’ an unpleasant, too high, green out that may actually be life-threatening.

Crossfade is popular among recreational cannabis consumers, but before you engage in this practice there are a couple of things you should know. Otherwise, your pleasure seeking may turn into a regrettable night before you know it.

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What the Heck is Crossfade?

Crossfading is the practice of combining cannabis and alcohol in the hopes of achieving a “higher high” than you could get with just one of these choices.  Both alcohol and cannabis depress the central nervous system, so theoretically, this duo should have an ultra relaxing effect on you. But science says it’s a very bad idea, and here’s why.

Crossfading Can Lead to Elevated Blood THC Levels

If you’ve been keeping up to date with cannabis trends, you may have noticed that a good number of beverage companies are gunning for the cannabis-infused drinks space, beer companies included. In most regions, however, the addition of THC to alcoholic drinks will not be permitted. There are exceptions, such as Two Roots in Nevada.

Other cannabis-infused beers contain CBD only, which is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis with many healing benefits. Regulations on mixing alcohol and THC are fierce in most states, so it’s not likely that you will be enjoying the patio with anything other than CBD beer, in the near future.

The reason for this is science; studies have shown that combining alcohol and cannabis may tempt you to abuse these.  Likely, it is a result of poor judgement brought on by alcohol consumption.  But, according to one study, the combination leads to significantly higher blood levels of THC than if you just consumed cannabis alone.

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Green-Out is Never Fun

Different studies have been carried out to draw the relationship between combining alcohol and cannabis. In one study participants smoked cannabis before drinking the alcohol and the results showed that their blood concentration of alcohol was actually lower than for those who had not smoked weed at all. Interesting discovery right there, but why did this happen? Cannabis alters the motility of the small intestine in such a way that the alcohol is absorbed at a slower rate.

Reverse this: drink alcohol then smoke cannabis, you are likely to reach that undesired state of ‘greening out.’  As much as greening out is not a life threatening event, it is also not the kind of experience you look forward to. You may find yourself lying on the floor having the spins, throwing up, sweating and even having heart palpitations. This feeling should go away after some time, but it will likely leave you the heck petrified and vowing not to repeat the mistake again, and actually, you shouldn’t.

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Crossfade Can Lead to Alcohol Poisoning

Cannabis has an antiemetic effect, meaning it suppresses the vomiting reflex. When a person drinks too much alcohol, toxins accumulate in their bodies and the body responds by inducing vomiting to get rid of them.  So when you drink too much and happen to have cannabis in your system prior to starting, you may be unable to throw up. This can lead to alcohol poisoning.

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So, crossfading is more or less a frat-boy party trick to get really wasted. It’s not a great idea and it can maybe end badly. Best to stick with one or the other, preferably the cannabis.

Lydia Kariuki

RN, Expert medical writer who is passionate about cannabis!

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