Weed and Alcohol
There are a lot of people wondering whether or not the effects of weed and alcohol (mixed together) can cause harm to the user. Through my research, I have sifted through medical (and personal) opinions to arrive at one simple conclusion...
There is the chance, perhaps minuscule to some and greater to others, that combining these two could cause irreparable harm to the human body and mind.
The effects THC has on the human body and mind still continues to be researched, but current facts are facts enough. THC begins affecting its users within (on average) 2-20 minutes of use. The high could last for around thirty minutes to over an hour, depending on the "potency" of the pot (the amount of THC in the specific strain).
Once high, THC users claim that their anxiety levels diminish. This is what causes those same users to seek the drug out more than once. Diminished anxiety levels don't usually last for pot smokers, especially with chronic use. The levels of anxiety actually increase when the user cannot satisfy their cravings.
When a pot smoker is using alcohol to bolster the effects of THC, the end result is known as greening out.
When a smoker uses cannabis (with high THC content) and mixes alcohol with it, the THC gets dumped into the blood stream at such a quick pace that it overwhelms the smoker's body.
The now-overwhelmingly high and drunk person will, most likely, become sick shortly after use. The smoker will likely become pale, sweaty, feel dizzy & nauseous, and experience vomiting. It has been established that most smokers that experience this effect are immediately meant to lie down. If you witness this, search for an image of a good recovery position to move this person into.
Alcohol use can lead to passing out, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. It is difficult to determine if the symptoms of a "green out" are derived from the intoxication from alcohol or the high from the THC, which is the worst part about mixing the two. We don't have enough solid research on this to help anyone safely partake in both substances. The real danger comes from most people not being able to easily differentiate between alcohol poisoning or just being "greened out."
Alcohol's effects can become hidden by the high from the THC flooding the smoker's bloodstream. So many people doing both at once might feel they aren't "drunk enough" and continue to fill their body with deadly amounts of booze (all while smoking blunt after blunt). Alcohol poisoning can be quick to act and, when identified, treatment needs to be administered immediately.
Commons Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
- Slow breathing (less than 8 breaths per minute).
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths).
- Blue-tinged or pale skin.
- Low body temperature (hypothermia).
- Passing out or unconsciousness; especially if they cannot be woken up for several hours.
One of the reasons a green out can become especially dangerous is due to the element of cannabis that is an antiemetic. Antiemetics stall the body's drive to keep the body from initiating vomiting. Alcohol is most commonly extruded from the body through urination or by vomiting.
In the case of a green out, the body is so focused on the THC flooding the blood stream that it cannot act as it normally would in order to rid itself of too much alcohol. It can also make it more difficult for ER physicians to detect the amount of alcohol in the person’s system because the body is in a state of shock, if you will.
Blood pressure, oxygen levels, and even heart rates are affected by the combination of THC and alcohol.
Avoid a Green Out, ESPECIALLY if You Suffer From:
- Kidney Disease
- Hepatitis A, B, or C
- A blood clotting disorder
These issues can be greatly aggravated by the effects of a green out. If you are currently taking prescribed medication, that could also cause a number of negative reactions. This can lead to a misdiagnosis if you do happen to need medical attention. If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a green out, be sure to share that information with your medical provider.
One of the other issues found by mixing both of the pleasure-inducing items is an overly-stimulated motor cortex.
You'd better not try driving anywhere buzzed or drunk, but also beware that driving in a greened-out state can be even more dangerous. The brain reacts to stimuli as it is processed by your motor cortex, filtered through the labor division of the central nervous system, then sent the important info to the cognitive parts of the brain for reasoning and logic.
When you’re high there is less blood flowing to the rational part of your brain. I mean come on, who hasn't thought a donut-bacon-burger sounded good when they were stoned? Sober, you'd probably realize that's a heart attack waiting to happen, right?
We can be selfish creatures. We can turn off our reasoning at a moment’s notice. We like (and tend to) to give in to temptation.
The act of smoking weed is a temptation we most likely face every day. Our hope for you here is to realize that our bodies are not infinite. They tear, fatigue, and break down more over time.
When we introduce things that are not natural into the mix, freaky things are bound to happen. We should all learn to be a little more conscious about what we are doing and stop being so afraid of the world around us.
Alcohol and weed are stop gaps for the issues that are underlying in most of our lives. Pain, anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, etc. There are tons of things that drive us to seek solace, to seek a sense of release. We need only to realize that by giving in to unhealthy vices, we must be willing to pay the price. That price could be our health, our relationships, our jobs, our homes. There will always be a toll that is exacted against us. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions to better ourselves. Sometimes we need help. Don't suffer alone, seek help for yourself. If you think it's just "fun" to drink and get high, consider your future health. If you do both to drown internal noise, you will, unfortunately, realize it has only amplified over time.
If you find it hard to quit enjoying both at once, do one or the other. Don't overwhelm your body, it's hard to move past anything if it's on-edge! If you've done this for a while, find somewhere else to put that energy!
If you do decide to take that chance, consider many things. There's usually a reaction to every action. Make sure that your actions impact only you and not those around you. Most importantly, help yourself FOR yourself. All of your decisions matter. Take responsibility for your impact and for your worth. Educate yourself and those around you, be safe and be smart. These two items can be dangerous if mixed, think of fire and gasoline. The result may appear to be pretty, but it's actually lethal.
Love yourself, cleanse yourself, learn more in our other posts!