Alcohol and recreational cannabis are two of the most common vices in the United States. 86.4% of people in the U.S (over the age of 18) have drunk alcohol at some point in their life, and with Illinois recently passing a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, that makes it 11 states (plus District of Columbia) to have done so. With these vices readily available on the market, it is common for people to mix things up to seek a different sort of high.
Mixing alcohol and cannabis, also known as “crossfading”, is widely popular at parties, as it is known to enhance your overall level of high. Alcohol is known to be a depressant, while cannabis can act as a depressant/stimulant/hallucinogen (depending on the strain you smoke). Both are known to help people relax and lower inhibitions.
Professor Scott Lukas from Harvard Medical School of Psychiatry and Pharmacology did two separate studies about the relationship & effects when alcohol and cannabis are consumed together.
He found in one study that if you consumed cannabis before alcohol, the THC activates your body’s Cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB2), which in turn slows down the alcohol absorption process in the G.I tract. That simply means you are likely able to handle more alcohol in your body before you pass out.
However, the same cannot be said for the reverse. Professor Scott Lukas found in his second study that if you happen to drink alcohol before consuming cannabis, the alcohol expands the blood vessels in your digestive tract, thus encouraging a much higher rate of THC absorption for a more intense high.
There is an old stoner’s saying that goes: Beer before bong, you’re in the wrong. Bong before beer, you’re in the clear. Turns out, there is plenty of scientific truth behind this rhyming guideline passed on by generations of cannabis smokers.
While the studies have shown two rather different effects of mixing alcohol & cannabis, both scenarios can lead to one similar, nasty outcome: Greening out. Greening out is a term commonly used to describe someone who has had too much cannabis. When someone greens out they become pale, dizzy, nauseated and probably would not be able to continue the party.
To prevent you and your mates from greening out, here are some pointers to consider:
- If you are not an alcohol drinker, it is probably best to steer clear of crossfading entirely! But if you must try, approach with extra caution.
- For first-timers, it is best to have someone experienced around or have someone who is going to stay sober and take care of you.
- Always crossfade somewhere safe and comfortable. As you are going to be intoxicated, never try to drive.
- Do have an adequate amount of hydration before, during, and after crossfading. Alcohol and pot are major causes of dry mouth; consuming both types at the same time just means your body dehydrates faster. Plenty of fluids also help discharge the alcohol out of your body more efficiently.
- Not everyone reacts to alcohol & cannabis the same. If you spot a friend feeling unwell during the session, quickly sound out and attend to him/her.
What is your experience with crossfading? Do you recommend it and how do you do it? Leave us a comment below to share with us.
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This article is written by Ashton Leow, a cannabis and soccer enthusiast