CBD and the Formerly Angry Drunk

CBD and alcohol are usually safe to consume together. However, there are some side effects that you ought to consider. Alcohol is known to reduce inhibition — that’s why we love (and hate) it so much. While CBD doesn’t do that, it helps alleviate anxiety, improve sleep and relieve pain, along with other reported benefits.

There is limited research regarding what happens when humans consume CBD and alcohol together. Consequently, consumers generally have access to limited information when deciding whether to mix CBD and alcohol.

When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream quickly, and its effects can occur within ten minutes. Alcohol affects the way your brain functions, potentially impairing coordination and your ability to think clearly and altering both mood and behavior.  Depending on the amount you consume, alcohol can affect your speech, memory and judgment. Drinking alcohol can also affect your balance, raising the risk of falls and other injuries.

Conversely, CBD doesn’t contain intoxicating or psychoactive properties. Instead, CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for maintaining the body’s internal balance, or homeostasis.  CBD may produce a variety of potential effects, including:

  • A relaxing of the central nervous system
  • Anxiety symptoms REDUCED
  • Sleep quality IMPROVED
  • A decrease in chronic pain symptoms


With that said, negative side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness


With limited research available on potential interactions between alcohol and CBD, the effects of mixing the two substances is unclear. Potential interactions are also subject to variables, such as how much of each you consume.  

THC amounts in CBD are limited by the federal Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill of 2018) to 0.3% by dry weight to avoid being classified as cannabis.  THC levels ought to be disclosed on a CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA), which is typically made available on the manufacturer’s website.

However, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, so you’re relying on the manufacturer’s claims and third-party laboratory test results to determine amounts of THC present in specific CBD products. 

According to the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women.  Consumers that abide by these guidelines and combine a small dose of CBD at the manufacturer’s recommended level, there should be no significant reactions.

Commentators note that combining CBD and alcohol could potentially increase the effects of the alcohol, causing the person to become impaired more quickly.  Both alcohol and CBD can cause sedation in high doses. Consequently, they may produce a higher level of sedation when taken together. 

It is noteworthy that animal studies show that CBD protects against alcohol-induced cell damage, reduces stress-related alcohol consumption, withdrawal and impulsive alcohol use.  

CBD and alcohol both relax you, lower your inhibitions, make you feel lighthearted and mellow.  If you’re a happy drinker, CBD will likely make you a happier drinker.  If you’re an angry drunk, CBD may take that edge off a bit and allow you to relax into the experience.  As with many things in life, moderation is the key to safety when consuming both CBD and alcohol.