Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Most states that have legalized medical marijuana laws prohibit the concurrent use of alcohol. This is primarily because using medical marijuana and alcohol at the same time can lead to injury, illness and, in very rare cases, death. Additionally, there is some evidence to support the claim that having more alcohol in your system causes the blood to absorb THC more quickly. This is not the intention for medical marijuana.
A notable exception among states is California, where it’s now legal to consume marijuana-infused wine. If you are currently using medical marijuana or thinking about trying to acquire a card, it’s important for you to know the potential consequences of combining these two substances.
Side Effects of Marijuana and Alcohol
On its own, the side effects of marijuana when abused can include:
An altered state of consciousness, which is virtually always referred to as a “high.”
An inability to perceive time and space well. Sometimes sight, taste, hearing and smell are enhanced while high.
Increased heart rate and pulse, accompanied by dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes and “the munchies,” which refers to an increased appetite.
Feeling of paranoia, anxiousness, fear or self-consciousness.
Meanwhile, the short-term side effects of alcohol include:
Vomiting, upset stomach or diarrhea
A decreased ability in perception and coordination
Memory lapses, normally referred to as “blackouts.”
If you combine these two substances, you can increase your risk of experiencing any of these side effects simultaneously, which can be dangerous at worst and uncomfortable at best.
Consequences of Combining Medical Marijuana and Alcohol
If you subtract tobacco from the equation, alcohol and marijuana are the two most commonly mixed drugs in the US. Some people concurrently use marijuana and alcohol, otherwise referred to as “cross-fading,” because it creates a unique kind of high. In other instances, people become so intoxicated that they smoke marijuana without rationalizing what the consequences could be.
If you drink alcohol before smoking marijuana, you run the risk of “greening out.” Greening out refers to a situation in which you feel ill after smoking marijuana. You could be sweaty, pale, get “the spins,” become nauseous or even throw up. In other cases, you could develop paranoia, anxiety or even have a panic attack. It’s important to know that smoking marijuana prior to drinking alcohol does not produce the same effect.
Beyond the potential for greening out, you’re more likely to overdo one or both substances if you concurrently use them. Your judgement may be impaired enough that you accidentally drink more than your body can handle. Overdoing marijuana is not life-threatening, but alcohol poisoning most certainly can be. Normally, the body expels excess alcohol by vomiting, but this may not be possible with marijuana due to its antiemetic effect.
Another consequence of combining alcohol and marijuana can include driving impairment. Alcohol’s role in impaired driving is fully understood, but many people are unaware that marijuana can also cause impaired driving. Therefore, combining the two substances undoubtedly can lead to trouble behind the wheel.
In the end, the consequences of combining alcohol and marijuana vary from person to person. If you’re using medical marijuana, it’s best to just forego drinking alcohol while using cannabis.
Speak With a Qualified Physician Before Using Marijuana for Medical Reasons
Before you decide to ignore laws regarding medical marijuana and alcohol use, it’s important to consult a physician who is well-versed with the effects of medical cannabis. Contact us today for any questions you may have regarding medical cannabis. Once you’ve secured your prequalification, you can schedule an appointment with a qualified doctor close to where you live.
Our mission is to help people with certain health conditions, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain or any other ailment that is approved in their state as a qualifying medical condition for marijuana, to locate, book appointments and consult with licensed physicians who are open to recommending cannabis as a treatment for their illnesses. MD only condones the use of medical cannabis for recognized ailments in accordance with laws and regulations.
Using Marijuana Doctors offers you certain benefits:
· You can find a local physician for free, who is qualified to issue a medical marijuana card.
· You can compare the ratings and reviews of different health providers.
· Our website offers a one-stop shop for making medical cannabis appointments and accessing state-by-state laws.
· After pre-qualifying, you will receive confirmation within 24 hours with directions
You also have access to 24-hour customer service. We’re here for you, day or night, to answer your questions and help you live a more fulfilling life.