Alcohol and cannabis taken together may increase the effect of the cannabis, a new study finds.
This may be why, in car accidents, alcohol plus cannabis is one of the most frequently detected combinations of drugs.
Taking both drugs together significantly increases the levels of cannabis’ main psychoactive ingredient, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in comparison to taking cannabis alone.
For the research, 19 adults either took doses of cannabis or a placebo.
Both were combined with alcohol.
Tests demonstrated significantly higher levels of THC when the same amount of cannabis was taken with alcohol rather than with a placebo.
Dr Marilyn A. Huestis, the study’s first author, said:
“The significantly higher blood THC and 11-OH-THC [median maximum concentration] values with alcohol possibly explain increased performance impairment observed from cannabis-alcohol combinations.
Our results will help facilitate forensic interpretation and inform the debate on drugged driving legislation.”
The study was published in the journal Clinical Chemistry (Huestis et al., 2015).
→ The effects of regular cannabis use on creativity.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Cannabis user image from Shutterstock