CBD is popping up everywhere. From supermarket shelves to CBD-infused food and beverages, there is no shortage of ways to add CBD into your daily routine. CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that’s being used with the hopes of helping anxiety, trouble sleeping, pain, mood, and more. CBD is known to interact with certain medications, making it a good idea to do your research before combining CBD and prescription drugs, mixing CBD with alcohol, or CBD and caffeine.
Read on to learn what science has to say about combining CBD with your favorite beverages and foods.
CBD and Alcohol: What Happens When You Mix?
If you live in one of the trendier cities in the US, you may have come across CBD-infused alcoholic beverages. This begs the question, what can you expect if you mix CBD and alcohol?
While many people understand that it’s not the best idea to mix THC (the cannabinoid in cannabis that causes the “high” feeling), or THC-rich cannabis extracts, with alcohol, some people assume that mixing CBD and alcohol is harmless thanks to the lack of psychoactive effects from CBD. However, cannabinoids, including CBD, interact with the enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism (the breakdown of alcohol in the body).
So, the question is, how does this interaction impact those who combine CBD and alcohol?
At this point, we honestly don’t know exactly how CBD and alcohol interact. There has been little research examining the effect, leaving us to speculate as to what might happen.
The only published study that directly examined the interaction between CBD and alcohol in humans was published forty years ago. In 1979, researchers had ten volunteers consume placebo and orange juice, 200 mg CBD and orange juice, alcohol and orange juice, and alcohol and 200 mg CBD in orange juice with one week between each treatment. They found that both the alcohol and the CBD plus alcohol groups displayed similar mental and physical impairments, however, there was one difference: CBD plus alcohol resulted in lower blood alcohol levels than did the alcohol alone.
This study didn’t find any increase or decrease in signs of inebriation when CBD and alcohol were taken together in comparison to when they were taken apart. However, with both of these compounds capable of inducing relaxation and sedation, it’s possible that using the two together could lead to unwanted side effects. More research is needed to know for sure.
The conclusion? The jury is still out on how the two mix. Maybe you’ll feel more relaxed, maybe you’ll get tired, or maybe you won’t notice any difference at all. It’s too early to tell, scientifically speaking.
CBD Might Help With Alcohol-Induced Damage and Alcohol Addiction
While we don’t know how you’re likely to feel when you mix CBD and alcohol, there is early research suggesting that CBD might protect the body from some of alcohol’s ill effects.
Too much alcohol consumption is known to be bad for your liver. In some cases, this can lead to liver necrosis and death. Because of this, it’s important to do what you can to protect the health of your liver when and if you go out drinking.
In a study on mice, researchers found that taking an oral CBD supplement 30 minute before alcohol consumption partially protected the liver by reducing oxidative damage while preventing the decrease in autophagy caused by alcohol consumption.
Another rodent study discovered that a CBD topical gel reduced neurodegeneration (think brain damage) caused by alcohol. This benefit could help to protect against cognitive changes that are linked to alcoholism while protecting the brain from alcohol-induced damage.
Lastly, animal studies suggest that CBD might be able to reduce relapse in alcoholics (and possibly other drug addicts as well).
So, Should You Combine CBD and Alcohol?
It’s too early for us to draw definitive conclusions regarding CBD and alcohol. As a general rule, it might be better to separate your CBD supplements and alcohol until more research is done to determine how they interact. This way, you can still benefit from the protective effects of CBD without risking an interaction between the two (such as getting drunk faster or falling asleep when you don’t mean to).
What About CBD and Caffeine?
Another hot product these days is CBD-infused coffee. You can find it at coffee shops in Brooklyn or from online manufacturers that will deliver CBD coffee right to your doorstep.
Similarly to CBD and alcohol, we don’t really know how these two compounds interact with one another. The idea behind CBD-infused coffee is that the calming effects of the CBD might be able to counteract the jittery side effects of caffeine in coffee. Adding CBD oil into your coffee post brew or taking a CBD Softgel with your coffee may provide that focus even with the kick of caffeine.
Yet, this theory doesn’t consider differences in dosages and individual response to CBD. Animal studies have found small amounts of CBD can have a stimulating or energizing effect, while larger doses act as more of a sedative. What’s more, each person is likely to respond differently to CBD and to caffeine, making the ideal dosage of each, if combined, unknown and variable.
Should You Take CBD with Food?
The last concern that people have when it comes to mixing CBD with beverages and food is whether or not you should take CBD on its own or with food. As a general rule, CBD is likely to be absorbed better if you take it with food, making CBD-infused restaurant meals a solid idea.
In fact, there is one nutrient in particular that might boost the efficacy of your CBD supplement: omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are particularly important when it comes to the health and function of the endocannabinoid system, the same system on which CBD exerts many of its beneficial effects.
In order to get the most out of your CBD, consider drizzling high-quality, organically grown, third party tested CBD oil on top of omega-3 rich wild-caught salmon or mixing it into smoothies with omega-3 rich flax seeds, chia seeds, or walnuts.
Closing Thoughts: Mixing CBD and Alcohol, Food, and Other Beverages
As it stands now, scientists have not found any dangerous effects of mixing CBD and alcohol, caffeine, or other foods and beverages. That said, the research is preliminary, with more needed to determine the best course of action.
What’s more, some experts worry about the inconsistent dosages offered by things like CBD-infused food and beverages. If you’re looking to treat a specific condition, there is likely an ideal daily dosage for you. Once you find this dosage, adding in extra CBD might not benefit you, and could even reverse some of the benefits or cause unwanted side effects.
However, if you’re just looking to add in a bit of CBD here-and-there for general health rather than for specific outcomes, CBD-infused food and beverages may be a direction that you choose to go. Just be careful when mixing CBD and alcohol or caffeine as every person is likely to experience a different effect.