Health & Wellness

Mixing CBD with Alcohol—Is it Really Safe?

By Melena Gurganus

As chic restaurants and bars continue updating their menus to draw in patrons, you may notice that some food and drink menus are featuring a new ingredient—CBD. In particular, cocktails infused with CBD are becoming a popular trend in some areas. You might occasionally run across an alcoholic beverage made with the hemp extract, or have the option of adding a few drops of CBD into any cocktail of your choice.

In either scenario, customers often wonder what these creative drinks have to offer, or how they might make them feel. The short answer is that CBD cocktails haven’t been around long enough to know the definitive answer, but it’s unlikely to produce negative side effects when paired with alcohol.

How CBD Cocktails are Made

Before you order your next drink with CBD, it’s good to know how these beverages are created. In most instances, mixologists will use tinctures to blend CBD seamlessly into a cocktail rather than traditional CBD oil which will likely settle at the top of the drink. This method may be useful for those looking to add a stronger scent of hemp to their beverage, but this also means that some of the oil can be left in the bottom of the glass once the cocktail is finished. Because of this, alcohol-based tinctures are commonly preferred over traditional CBD oil, which is more difficult to work with considering it is an oil based liquid that doesn’t mix as well with water-soluble ingredients.

Is it safe to mix CBD and alcohol?

Although CBD cocktails are a cool new trend, it’s important to note that there likely isn’t a large dose of CBD in a drink that you’re ordering from the bar. Regardless, this fad has raised many questions about the effects of pairing a cannabis extract like CBD with alcoholic beverages.

For starters, you won’t get cross buzzed from drinking a CBD-infused cocktail since CBD does not produce psychoactive effects like THC.

In a study published in Psychopharmacology, participants who were given alcohol and a CBD capsule displayed significantly lower blood alcohol levels when compared to people who were given alcohol with no CBD. However, both groups produced similar impairments of motor and psychomotor performances. As a result, this means that CBD does not reduce the intoxicating effects of alcohol, and anyone choosing to drink CBD cocktails should be aware that they will produce the same even though your BAC’s might be a bit lower.

In addition to potentially lowering blood alcohol levels, CBD may also protect the liver from alcohol-induced damage as depicted in one study performed on mice. The research concluded that CBD reduced oxidative stress to the liver caused by excessive alcohol ingestion, but more studies are needed to determine how these bodily responses might be reflected in human participants.

In light of this information, it’s interesting to see some of the possible interactions between CBD and alcohol-induced steatosis (fatty liver disease), but don’t expect your CBD cocktail to reduce or prevent the damaging effects of alcohol consumption.

Think Before you Drink

If you’re truly interested in the possible health advantages that CBD may have to offer, it’s best to try other delivery methods first to see how you respond to the hemp extract. Then maybe try mixing CBD with alcohol.

If you enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage and like how CBD makes you feel, an infused cocktail may be a cool new experimental drink to try. Are you going to yield the same wellness advantages as using other CBD application styles? Probably not. But these trendy drink mixtures are still a unique and innovative way of offering hemp-related products to consumers, which in turn helps reduce the stigmas that many people associate with cannabis and its extracts.

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