Learning library
Help with alcohol use
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.

Some people like to relax and unwind with a glass of wine or a beer, and in and of itself, this is generally harmless. However, some people may misuse alcohol, or even combine alcohol with other substances, which has the potential to be dangerous. Sometimes, people may mix alcohol with weed, thinking that this practice is harmless. Unfortunately, combining these two substances can have negative effects. Learn about the dangers of mixing alcohol and weed below. If you’re seeking treatment, you can also find information about drug rehab and medication assisted treatment for alcohol use

Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Weed

Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Weed 

To understand the effects of smoking weed and drinking together, it’s important to know about the impact of each of these substances on the brain and the body as a whole. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, because it increases levels of a brain chemical called GABA, which slows activity in the nervous system. As a depressant, alcohol has a relaxing effect on the body, but when used in high doses, it can significantly impact behavior and brain functioning, leading to mood changes and lack of coordination. 

On the other hand, the main ingredient in marijuana is THC, which activates specific areas on nerve cells called cannabinoids. When activated, cannabinoids influence areas of the brain linked to pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, perception, and coordination. When people use marijuana, they experience distorted perceptions, problems with learning, memory, and problem-solving, and poor coordination. 

Short-Term Effects

Research suggests that combining alcohol with weed increases THC absorption, meaning that using the two together can intensify the effects of marijuana. Over the short-term, this can mean impaired coordination, memory problems, altered perceptions, and difficulty with thinking and problem-solving. 

Long-Term Effects 

Over the long-term, mixing alcohol and weed can come with significant consequences. Studies show that using the two together is linked to more frequent use of both substances, as well as increased risk of behavioral problems like driving while under the influence. Mixing weed and alcohol also increases the likelihood that a person will develop co-occurring addiction and mental health problems. 

Psychological Effects 

Using weed and alcohol together is linked to poor psychological functioning. Beyond increased risk of mental health problems, people who use these substances in combination are less likely to graduate college, more likely to be unemployed, and at increased risk of poor mental health. Mental health problems like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation can accompany ongoing alcohol and marijuana use. 

Find a Provider

Meet our team of vetted providers and book your first appointment.

Get started

Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Weed

As indicated above, combining alcohol with weed comes with some risks, both over the short-term and the long-term. Over the short-term, combining the two enhances the impairment that occurs with either substance. For example, both substances can cause coordination problems, so when they are combined, the impairment in coordination may be even more severe. Cognitive functioning is also likely to be more impaired when mixing weed and alcohol when compared to using either substance on its own. 

Over time, misusing alcohol with weed increases the risk of long-term consequences, such as unemployment, poor mental health, and addiction. You may think that it is safe to use these substances together, but doing so actually increases the risk that you will become addicted and experience the problems that come along with substance misuse. 

How to Handle a Bad Reaction

Given the fact that alcohol can increase THC absorption, combining alcohol and marijuana can make a bad reaction more likely, as a person will have high amounts of THC in their system. When a person consumes too much THC, they can experience unpleasant side effects, such as anxiety and paranoia, as well as hallucinations and delusions. The best thing to do if you experience a bad reaction is to lie down in a safe, comfortable location, and see the support of a friend or family member who can monitor you. You may need to call 9-11 and seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve. 

What is a green out?

Mixing alcohol and weed can result in a type of bad reaction typically called a “green out.” This occurs most often when a person has consumed alcohol before smoking marijuana. A green out refers to a sickness a person develops after smoking marijuana, and it is described in this way, because a person may appear pale or green. 

Signs of a Green Out

Someone who is experiencing a green out is likely to show some or many of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Appearing pale or green in color 
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Experiencing hallucinations 

How to Handle a Green Out

As is the case with general bad reactions to weed and alcohol, the best way to handle a green out is to lie down in a safe location, with someone monitoring you. If you experience prolonged vomiting or ongoing hallucinations, you may need to call 9-11 or have a trusted adult take you to an emergency room for treatment. Staying hydrated and taking sips of water when you feel thirsty can be helpful.

Alcohol and Weed Overdose

While it is very uncommon to have a fatal overdose from marijuana, mixing alcohol and weed can lead to overdose. If you have consumed large amounts of alcohol with marijuana, you may be at increased risk of alcohol overdose or alcohol poisoning. When you drink too much, your body’s natural reaction is to vomit in order to remove the excess alcohol from the body. However, when you combine alcohol and marijuana, the marijuana can stop you from vomiting. This means you are at increased risk of alcohol poisoning when under the influence of marijuana. 

Some symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Extreme confusion 
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slowed or irregular breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Slow heart rate 
  • Feeling cold to the touch
  • Pale or blue skin

When a person shows these symptoms, they may be experiencing an overdose from alcohol and weed. 

When to Get Medical Help

If a person shows extreme signs of a “green out,” such as hallucinations, severe anxiety and panic, or vomiting, and these symptoms do not subside, it is important to seek medical attention. Similarly, if a person has developed alcohol poisoning as a result of mixing weed and alcohol, they are in need of emergency medical attention. Call 9-11 or take the person to the nearest emergency room for treatment of the overdose. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal and can cause a person to choke on their vomit, making this a medical emergency. 

Find a Therapist

Meet our team of vetted providers and book your first appointment.

Get started


You may have some of the following questions about combining weed and alcohol:

  • Is it bad to mix weed and alcohol? Using alcohol and marijuana together can increase the risk of negative consequences. There is evidence that alcohol can increase THC levels, intensifying the effects of being high on THC. This can result in impaired coordination and cognitive functioning, which increases your risk of unsafe behavior, like driving while under the influence. Using the two in combination can also lead to overdose symptoms and increase your risk of developing an addiction. Misusing either substance on its own is dangerous, but misusing the two in combination can cause even worse outcomes. 
  • Can you be drunk and high at the same time? If you misuse alcohol and marijuana together, you will experience the effects of both substances. This means that you can be impaired by alcohol (drunk) and marijuana (high) at the same time. Using weed and alcohol together can even intensify the effects of these substances, so the sensation of being drunk or high is more extreme.
  • Does mixing weed and alcohol cause diarrhea? A bad reaction from combining alcohol and marijuana can lead to an upset stomach. In some cases, people report diarrhea. 

Treating Alcohol and Weed Addiction

If you are experiencing negative consequences from using alcohol with weed, it may be time to seek treatment. Using these substances together increases your risk of developing a substance use disorder, which is the clinical term for an addiction. Once you have developed a substance use disorder, it will be difficult to stop using on your own.

A quality treatment program can help you develop coping skills and learn tools for overcoming triggers for drug and alcohol use. A substance use disorder is often treated with a combination of individual and group therapy, as well as medications. The first step is to seek an evaluation from a physician or other addiction treatment professional, who can evaluate the extent of the problem and help you to develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

Recover From Alcohol and Weed Misuse with Confidant Health 

If you’ve been mixing alcohol and weed and have developed an addiction, Confidant Health can help. We offer online drug rehab services, so you can begin recovering from the comfort and privacy of home. Our service offerings include medication assisted treatment for alcohol use, which can help you to manage your alcohol cravings and make recovery easier. Download our app today on either the App Store or the Google Play Store to access valuable recovery resources. 

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.

Book appointment
Confidant mobile app screens
Get immediate access to the care you need today

Scan the QR code below to download the app.

QR code to download the app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play