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Alcohol and Weed: The Risks and Dangers of Mixing

Alcohol and Weed: The Risks and Dangers of Mixing

Learn about the potential dangers and interaction effects of mixing alcohol and weed, so you can keep yourself safe.

Mixing Weed and Alcohol

In the United States, a significant portion of young adults between the ages of 19 and 30 engage in substance use, with about 82% reporting alcohol consumption and 42% acknowledging marijuana use.

With more states legalizing recreational weed, crossfading is becoming more common. 

However, mixing weed and alcohol can lead to significant physical and mental health issues, raising the risk of injuries and accidents. 

In this post, we'll delve into the dangers of crossfading, including its effects on cognition, behavior, and overall well-being.

What is Crossfading?

Crossfading is when someone uses different substances simultaneously, with the most common combination being alcohol and marijuana. It typically involves being both drunk and high at the same time. This term is often used in social situations where people consume alcohol and marijuana together. While some may see crossfading as a way to enhance their experience, it's important to understand the risks involved in mixing substances.

Risks and Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Weed

Mixing alcohol and weed poses various risks and dangers that individuals should be aware of. Here are a few examples:

Increased Risk of Reckless Behavior

Mixing alcohol and weed can impair judgment, increasing the likelihood of risky activities such as drunk driving, unsafe sex, or disregarding personal safety. For example, a study in France found that about 40% of drivers involved in fatal accidents while under the influence of cannabis also exceeded the legal alcohol limit.

Worsening Mental Health

The combination of alcohol and weed can make existing mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or psychosis worse. The combination can heighten negative feelings and even trigger paranoia, increasing distress and the risk of harm to oneself or others.

Increased Physical Health Risks

Combining alcohol and weed can harm your body, causing higher heart rate, blood pressure, and dehydration. Continued crossfading may lead to serious long-term issues like liver damage, breathing problems, or cognitive decline, particularly with habitual substance use.

Impaired Decision-Making

While alcohol and weed affect cognitive abilities differently, combining them can significantly impair decision-making. This can make it hard to assess risks, leading to impulsive actions and long-lasting consequences.

Legal Risks

Mixing alcohol and weed can result in serious legal issues, such as involvement in criminal activities while intoxicated. The impairment from this combination can hinder one's ability to follow the law and make sound decisions, raising the chances of legal troubles and penalties.

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Effects of Mixing Weed and Alcohol

Here are the psychoactive and long-term effects of mixing weed and alcohol:

Psychoactive Effects

  • Increased Impairment: Combining weed and alcohol heightens cognitive and motor function impairment, resulting in difficulty concentrating and slower reaction times, thus increasing the risk of accidents or injuries.
  • Altered Perception: Mixing weed and alcohol can distort sensory perception, leading to changes in time, space, and emotions, which may cause disorientation or confusion.
  • Heightened Risk of Negative Side Effects: The combination of weed and alcohol increases the chance and severity of negative effects like paranoia, anxiety, or panic attacks, causing intensified fear.

Long-Term Effects

  • Increased Risk of Substance Use Disorders: Long-term mixing of weed and alcohol heightens the likelihood of developing substance abuse disorders, fostering dependency behaviors.
  • Cognitive Decline: Chronic mixing of weed and alcohol contributes to cognitive decline, impacting memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Physical Health Complications: Prolonged crossfading increases the risk of various physical health issues, including liver damage, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory complications.

Signs of a Greenout

Experiencing a greenout can be distressing, with clear signs that one has consumed too much cannabis. Here are clear signs to watch out for:

Nausea and Vomiting

A greenout often involves intense nausea, sometimes leading to vomiting, as the body becomes overwhelmed by excessive cannabis consumption, causing discomfort and a need to expel the substance.

Extreme Anxiety or Paranoia

Another sign of a greenout is experiencing heightened anxiety or paranoia. characterized by intense fear, racing thoughts, or a sense of impending doom. These psychological symptoms can be overwhelming and distressing for the person affected.

Dizziness and Lightheadedness

During a greenout, individuals may feel dizzy or lightheaded, making it hard to stay balanced or coordinated. Recognizing these signs is crucial for ensuring the person's safety and well-being.

When to Get Medical Help

If you experience severe symptoms such as extreme confusion, chest pain, or difficulty breathing after consuming cannabis, it's essential to seek medical help immediately. Additionally, if someone loses consciousness or has seizures, call 911 for emergency medical assistance immediately. Your health and safety are important, and it's always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your well-being. 

Remember, healthcare professionals are ready to provide help and support in times of need.

Harm-Reduction Strategies

To practice harm reduction, it's crucial to use substances cautiously and be aware of their effects. Here are harm-reduction strategies to consider:

Use Substances in Moderation

It's important to remember that moderation is key when it comes to substance use. By pacing yourself and setting limits, you can avoid potential risks like overdose or making poor decisions while under the influence. If you find it challenging to moderate your use, remember that rehabilitation programs are available to offer support and resources tailored to your needs.

Know the Risks and Effects

It's crucial to educate yourself about the risks and effects of different substances to make responsible decisions about drug use. Understanding the potential dangers, such as addiction, overdose, and long-term health effects, can empower you to make safer choices and prevent unnecessary harm. 

Avoid Mixing Substances

Avoid mixing substances, which can lead to harmful interactions and adverse reactions. Stick to one substance at a time to reduce the risk of overdose or other health complications. If you're struggling with substance misuse, rehabilitation programs can offer guidance and support tailored to your needs, helping you stay safe and make healthier choices. 

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Mixing Weed and Alcohol FAQs

Can you get drunk and high at the same time?

Yes, you can experience both alcohol intoxication and the effects of marijuana at the same time, which is called being "crossfaded." This can lead to increased impairment, affecting your judgment and coordination. It's important to be cautious and mindful of how mixing alcohol and marijuana can impact your well-being.

Is it bad to mix weed and alcohol?

Yes, it raises the chance of adverse reactions and potentially dangerous interactions. This can intensify impairment, making it hard to function safely and increasing the risk of accidents or injuries. Additionally, combining these substances may worsen negative side effects, causing discomfort or distress.

Are there other risks of mixing alcohol and weed?

Mixing alcohol and weed can have more risks beyond just increased impairment and intensified side effects. It might lead to dehydration, heightened anxiety, or paranoia and raise the risk of accidents or risky behaviors. Long-term use of both substances together could also contribute to developing substance abuse disorders and other health issues.

Transform Your Life Today with Confidant Health

Mixing alcohol and marijuana can be risky for your health, leading to reckless behavior and physical health issues. To prioritize your well-being, it's crucial to stay informed and seek help if needed. Your safety matters, so always make informed choices to protect yourself.

If you're struggling with substance use, Confidant Health is here to help. We understand what you’re going through, and we offer treatments like pre-addiction treatment and alcohol rehab programs tailored to support you on your journey to recovery. With our virtual services, you can easily access care from the comfort of your home.

Reach out to Confidant Health today and take steps toward a healthier and happier life.

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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