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Alcohol and Marijuana Interactions

Peanut butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Cheese and crackers.

Many things go well together, but alcohol and marijuana tend not to.

Some people use marijuana before, while, or after drinking; however, these two substances have negative interactions with one another. Here are some reasons to reconsider pairing alcohol and marijuana:

  • Pot can intensify the effects of alcohol depending on dosing, timing, etc.

    COMBINING ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA 1 + 1 > 2 Alcohol, as a central nervous system depressant, slows the body down. Marijuana slows the body down, too.  When used together, a drug interaction called "potentiation" happens.  The effects of both are magnified, such that 1 + 1 is greater than 2 -- in other words, there's the effects of the alcohol, there's the effects of the marijuana, and then some.  The "and then some" part is really hard to predict, other than knowing that a person could be at a particular blood alcohol level yet could be showing the depressant effects muchgreater than that level. 
  • Pot inhibits vomiting.

    Vomiting is a sign of alcohol poisoning, it's your body's last effort to rid itself of the booze. However, having marijuana in your system makes vomiting more difficult because it's an anti-emetic, so you're actually more likely to choke on your own vomit. Not being able to expel alcohol from your system also makes you more prone to alcohol poisoning
  • You never know how your body will react.

    Everyone handles alcohol and marijuana differently, so your reaction is very unpredictable. Some people vomit profusely. Some get a bad case of the spins. Some pass out. The fact is there is no way to know how you will respond with these two drugs in your system.

A word of caution: alcohol doesn't mix well with any drug, not only marijuana.

By mixing alcohol and any other substance, legal or not, you can intensify the side effects, create negative interactions, and put yourself in danger. Always consider what is in your system before you drink, whether it's cocaine, allergy medicine, marijuana, or antibiotics-any drug can have an adverse reaction.

For more information and reference list, check out our alcohol brochure.

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