Youth, Alcohol, and Cannabis

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In its first publication on the subject,

ÉDUC’ALCOOL ISSUES WARNING AGAINST COMBINING ALCOHOL AND CANNABIS

The Éduc’alcool publication, “Alcohol and cannabis: a very bad combination,” warns users about the synergy that heightens the effects of both substances. This is an important concern that has not yet been raised in the public conversation since cannabis was legalized.

Éduc’alcool reminds users that the depressant effects of both alcohol and cannabis are amplified when the two are taken together. In particular, this affects judgement, reaction time and coordination, making it absolutely unadvisable to drive.

It matters which is taken first

The new publication points out that the body responds differently, depending on the order in which alcohol and cannabis are consumed. The effects of cannabis can be more intense if a person drinks alcohol first, while the opposite occurs when cannabis is consumed before alcohol.

No matter what the order, or whether they are consumed at the same time, there are significant risks to using alcohol and cannabis together. We advise against combining the two, because the effects are unpredictable, even for experienced users. And if it should happen that you consume the two together, it is important to reduce your usual amount of both substances as much as possible.

Éduc’alcool notes that regular cannabis smokers feel some of the impairing effects of alcohol less intensely than occasional smokers do, even when they haven’t consumed cannabis. This is because people who develop a tolerance to cannabis can develop a similar tolerance to alcohol.

As for driving, all it takes is 40 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (half the legal limit) and a single joint to produce the effects equivalent to a blood alcohol content of over .08. Most importantly, it is illegal to drive with even the slightest trace of cannabis in your blood, whether or not you have been drinking.

Alcohol + cannabis in a nutshell

  • It is a very bad idea to combine alcohol and cannabis.
  • Cannabis affects certain critical faculties and greatly heightens the effects of alcohol.
  • Alcohol and cannabis are absorbed differently, depending on the order in which they are consumed.
  • Drinking alcohol before smoking cannabis increases the level of THC in the blood, compared to when the same amount of cannabis is consumed without alcohol.
  • Not only does alcohol raise the level of THC higher than usual, but the THC is absorbed by the blood more quickly when alcohol is consumed first.
  • Cannabis affects the part of the brain stem that controls basic functions, such as nausea and vomiting. This can make the alcohol-cannabis mix particularly dangerous—even fatal.

It’s better to avoid combining alcohol and cannabis. But for those who choose to risk it, caution is advised. While moderation is always in good taste when it comes to drinking, with cannabis, moderation is in even better taste. And when the two are combined, moderation is in the best taste of all.

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