Mixing alcohol and marijuana (aka weed) can intensify the associated risks of each other. People often call this "cross-faded" when you're both drunk and high.

Mixing alcohol and marijuana (aka weed) can intensify the associated risks of each other. People often call this “cross-faded” when you’re both drunk and high. It matters which one you use first—alcohol or weed—because it affects how they interact. Whether you start with alcohol or weed, knowing how they might affect you is super important. Being careful about what you put in your body, knowing your limits, and putting safety first is the key to staying safe and healthy.

Alcohol First, Marijuana Second:

  1. Enhanced Intoxication. Consuming alcohol first can intensify the effects of marijuana due to alcohol’s ability to enhance the absorption of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. This can lead to a more potent high and potentially increase the risk of adverse effects such as paranoia or anxiety.
  2. Delayed Perception. Alcohol’s initial impact on cognitive functions such as judgment and coordination may mask the onset of marijuana’s effects. This delay in perception could lead individuals to consume more marijuana than intended, potentially resulting in overconsumption and its associated consequences.
  3. Increased Impairment. Combining alcohol and marijuana can exacerbate impairment levels, affecting motor skills, reaction times, and decision-making abilities. This heightened impairment poses significant safety risks, especially when engaging in activities such as driving or operating machinery.

Marijuana First, Alcohol Second:

  1. Mitigated Alcohol Effects. Consuming marijuana before alcohol may lessen the effects of alcohol due to the calming and sedative properties of cannabis. This could result in individuals feeling less intoxicated from alcohol than they would if they consumed it alone.
  2. Altered Perception of Intoxication. Starting with marijuana may alter individuals’ perceptions of their level of intoxication from alcohol. They might feel less aware of their alcohol consumption, leading to potential overindulgence and even result in alcohol poisoning.

Risks and Considerations:

Regardless of the order of consumption, combining alcohol and marijuana carries inherent risks:

  1. Increased Impairment: Mixing alcohol and marijuana can intensify cognitive impairment, leading to decreased coordination, slower reaction times, and impaired judgment.
  2. Personal Safety Endangerment: Both alcohol and weed can affect a person’s judgment. When people combine the two drugs, this effect may intensify. Their combined use can cause blackouts, memory loss, and an increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. (1)
  3. Heightened Risk of Accidents: Individuals under the influence of both substances are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and experience accidents, including motor vehicle collisions.
  4. Adverse Health Effects: Combining alcohol and marijuana can strain the cardiovascular system and increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
  5. Overconsumption: Mixing alcohol and marijuana may lead to overconsumption of either or both substances, increasing the likelihood of negative outcomes and alcohol poisoning.
  6. Legal Implications: In many jurisdictions, driving under the influence of either substance or both is illegal and can result in severe legal consequences. In Indiana, it is illegal to consume alcohol when under the age of 21 and marijuana is illegal at any age.

Can You Overdose On Alcohol & Marijuana?

Another risk of an alcohol and marijuana combination is that you may take too much of either substance. Although using too much marijuana isn’t usually life-threatening, inhalation burns and asthma attacks from smoking cannabis can be deadly. (2)

Drinking too much alcohol can be lethal. If you’re using an alcohol and marijuana combination, you can be more likely to get alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. (3)

Greening Out,” refers to the undesirable reaction when combining alcohol and marijuana. Physical symptoms like nausea and vomiting are common, as well as sweating and dizziness. Psychological symptoms may occur such as anxiety and distress. These symptoms can be even more intense if the marijuana is consumed as an edible. (4)

Navigating the intersection of alcohol and marijuana consumption requires careful consideration of the effects and risks involved. Keep in mind that using alcohol in combination with marijuana can intensify the risks associated with each substance individually. Responsible consumption, awareness of personal limits, and prioritizing safety are essential. Know the risks and remember to make good decisions!

SOURCES:

(1) MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Weed and alcohol: What happens when you mix them. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/weed-and-alcohol#effects-of-mixing

(2) Sheikh, N. K. (2023, February 27). Cannabinoids. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556062/

(3) Is it safe to Mix Alcohol & Marijuana?: The recovery village. The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. (2022a, July 14). https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/alcohol-abuse/alcohol-and-marijuana/