Alcohol and cannabis

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Holiday parties may include use of alcohol and cannabis this season. When the two substances are used together, there is an increased risk of impairment and risk of injury.  Take care when using the two substances at the same time. Start low, go slow. Using cannabis and alcohol products at the same time carries greater potential risks than using either on their own. Combined consumption tends to intensify the overall effects of both substances.  Alcohol and cannabis taken together can, in some circumstances, multiply the effects of intoxication, increasing your risk of injury or harm.

Increased effects of THC

Recent studies suggest that alcohol may increase the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by increasing the available levels of THC in the blood. This can lead to increased impairment and slower reaction times, making it especially dangerous when it comes to activities like driving.

Combining alcohol and cannabis

Cannabis may create a happy, energized, or relaxed sensation, but it can also produce negative side effects that can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption.  Potential side effects may include confusion; sleepiness; impaired ability to remember, concentrate, pay attention and react quickly. Cannabis can also cause feelings of anxiety, fear, or panic.

Drinking too much alcohol may cause drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, inability to think clearly, decreased reaction times, confusion, vomiting, coma, or even death. Mixing the substances can a worsen the negative effects of the two and could affect your body’s ability to deal with a potential overdose of either substance. 

Impaired driving

Stay safe this holiday season by not mixing cannabis use with consumption of any other substances, whether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs, or any other narcotics. Plan ahead—arrange a safe ride home from parties, either with a designated driver, or in a cab or car service. Driving while under the influence of cannabis, alcohol, or a combination of the two can be dangerous and can result in injury and severe legal consequences.

In the event of a medical emergency due to combining cannabis and alcohol, call 911 and let the operator know that both substances have been used. 

 

Sources:
Health Canada 
American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) 
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