Here’s what you need to know about mixing marijuana and alcohol.
Most people understand the impact alcohol or marijuana use can have on our minds and bodies, but how much do you know about the effects of marijuana and alcohol combined?
Using both alcohol and marijuana (also known as cannabis) simultaneously, commonly known as crossfading, results in increased impairment, which can lead to more dangerous consequences. Since cannabis is the most commonly used drug among people who drink, the effect of combined use should be emphasized and incorporated into alcohol and drug education programs.
Here are a few surprising facts about the impact of marijuana and alcohol combined:
- Simultaneous use of marijuana and alcohol doubles the odds of self-harm, social consequences, and drunk driving.
- People who use marijuana and alcohol simultaneously are more likely to consume alcohol frequently.
- Using alcohol and marijuana at the same time can cause prescription medications to work incorrectly or have dangerous side effects.
- Driving while crossfaded significantly increases the risk of a fatal car crash compared to drivers who tested positive for just alcohol or just marijuana.
- Drivers who are at fault for crashes are five times as likely to be crossfaded
- The prevalence of cannabis and alcohol in drivers involved in fatal crashes increased from less than 2% in 1991 to more than 10% in 2008.
Keep reading to dive further into the effects of cannabis and alcohol combined and resources you can use in your marijuana and drunk driving prevention programs.
What happens when you mix marijuana and alcohol
When someone uses marijuana and alcohol at the same time, their impairment level will likely be higher than if they used just one substance by itself. The effects of marijuana and alcohol combined also tend to be more harmful than using the substances separately, increasing the risk of negative–and even fatal–consequences.
While research on the effects of marijuana and alcohol combined is limited, we currently know that both substances can lead to changes in judgment, reduced cognitive function, dehydration, worsening existing mental health problems, dependency, and long-term physical risks. When alcohol and marijuana are used together, these effects can intensify.
Marijuana, alcohol, and driving
As stated in the facts above, while both substances can impact a person’s ability to drive, the effects of marijuana and alcohol combined on driving can be catastrophic.
One study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that while both alcohol and marijuana separately increased the amount of a driver weaved in and out of lanes while driving, using alcohol and marijuana together had an additive effect as if the person had consumed more alcohol than they did.
Another study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention found that the addition of alcohol to both low and high doses of THC, the component of marijuana that produces the sensation of being high, resulted in reduced driving abilities.
If you’re organizing an alcohol or drug education program, consider covering the effects of marijuana and alcohol combined, especially when driving, to teach people about the increased dangers of simultaneous use. Click here to see our full lineup of alcohol and marijuana educational materials.
We can help you select which tools and resources are the best fit for your education program on the effects of marijuana and alcohol combined. Call us at 800.272.5023 or contact us online to explore which education tools are best for your program!
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