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CBD and alcohol

11/06/2021 3 MIN. READ Mirko Berger
11/06/2021 3 MIN. READ Mirko Berger

There’s a great German saying that goes something like: Beer on wine not so fine; wine on beer, never fear. It’s too bad the benefits of cannabidiol weren’t so well-known back when the Germans were making up sayings. They would undoubtedly have used a clever turn of phrase to give us wise advice on the compatibility of CBD and alcohol.

CBD is still growing in popularity, so it’s not surprising that more and more people are asking what happens when you consume CBD and alcohol at the same time: Does CBD make us drink more or less? Are CBD and alcohol compatible? And how much CBD oil should I actually put in my beer bong? (Just joking). As you can see, there’s still a lot of questions … and as luck would have it, we’ve got a few answers for you here.

CBD and alcohol: Does a lot help a lot?

Alcohol can reduce a person’s inhibitions, and CBD is also seen as having the ability to foster a relaxed state of mind. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Some studies have shown that the relationship between the dosage and the effect of CBD follows a bell-shaped curve: In other words, at first, the potential effect increases in line with the dosage amount; after a certain level is reached, however, the effect simply drops off. Think of it this way: it’s as if you drank so much alcohol that you ended up sober again. In other words, the build-up effect and impact you get when you drink a lot of alcohol is very unlikely with CBD.

The WHO describes cannabidiol as being generally well tolerated and has not identified any potential for dependency. However, since we still know too little about potential interactions, it’s possible that, for example, CBD oil and alcohol reinforce each other’s effects.

CannaBeer: The symbiosis of CBD and alcohol

Yeah, we did a double-take on that name too. There’s a new product out there with the inventive name CannaBeer, a combination of cannabis and beer. The product primarily comes to our shores from the US and Canada. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of cannabis in the over five-hundred-year-old purity law for German beer, and we Germans are still a bit hard-nosed about the whole thing. Basically, it’s not permitted to call this new concoction a beer in Germany.

Still, next to this less scientific experiment, there are also some real studies that look at the combination of CBD and alcohol. For example, cannabidiol might actually be able to curb the effects of alcohol – and possibly even reduce its consumption.

CBD and alcohol consumption: What the research says

Researchers carried out a systematic review of the findings of twelve studies on the subject of alcohol and CBD. These were primarily studies on rodents as well as cell culture models. In both cases, researchers came to the conclusion that CBD may have a neuro-protective impact with regard to the harmful effects of alcohol on the hippocampus - the area of our brains that controls our mood and especially our memory.

In this context, the researchers described the lack of addictive potential of cannabidiol as well as its generally good tolerability as additional plus points. However, similar studies focussing on CBD’s potential mitigation of the negative effects of alcohol in humans are not yet available in sufficient number.

Another study took a look at the effect of CBD on alcohol-addicted rats that were given CBD gel on their skin every 24 hours for seven days. CBD was shown to weaken the cravings and addictive pressures without producing any habituating or sedative effect. Although the CBD was only detectable in their bodies for a further three days, the weakening effect on their cravings continued for up to five months.

CBD and alcohol: Enjoy with caution for the time being

There is still too little known about any potential interactions of CBD with alcohol. Initial studies on animals suggest that CBD may mitigate addictive behaviour and protect the brain from the negative effects of alcohol. Still, we should wait for more definitive results before making a clear recommendation with regard to using the two in tandem.

Of course, even if CBD can actually mitigate the negative effects of alcohol, that still doesn’t give us a free pass to break out the beer bong. In an ideal situation, you would already be so relaxed thanks to the CBD that you won’t even want any of the really hard stuff.

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