Marijuana and Alcohol

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In addition to having their own distinct side effects, marijuana and alcohol used together can interact to create adverse reactions among users. When the two drugs are combined, there is a greater likelihood of both physical and mental side effects, which can include paranoia and anxiety. Over-intoxication is also more likely to occur.[1]

Marijuana is a drug that is used both illegally for the purpose of "getting high" as well as legally for medical uses. It is currently permitted for medical use in 17 states (as well as in Washington DC), and each state has different requirements for patient qualification. However, any marijuana use is still illegal under federal law.[2] Alcohol is legal in the United States for individuals age 21 and above.

Flickr: tboothhk
Other names for marijuana Weed, Cannabis, ganga, buds, herb[3]
Manufacturer Various independent growers
Legal status Schedule I[4]
Uses Used to get "high," as well as to treat a variety of medical conditions[3]
Common side effects Euphoria, red eyes, dry mouth, impaired cognitive function[3]
Who should not use marijuana or alcohol Pregnant women
Disclaimer The information provided by is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell



About Marijuana

Marijuana comes from a plant known as Cannabis sativa, and the drug is typically made from the dried flowers of this plant (although leaves, stems and even seeds are sometimes used). The drug produces a feeling of euphoria along with side effects such as slowed reaction time, impaired cognitive function, memory loss and increased blood pressure.[5]

Marijuana is not only used to get high; medical marijuana is prescribed for a range of conditions in states where use has been legalized. These conditions include HIV, glaucoma, anorexia, arthritis and other ailments. Marijuana has also been prescribed to treat alcoholism.[6]

Marijuana and Alcohol

Some evidence suggests that a person's blood absorbs THC much faster when alcohol is present, which causes the marijuana to have a more intense effect. Additionally, it can cause "greening out," which refers to a person becoming sick after smoking marijuana. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, and even vomiting. These effects are typically more prevalent when a person drinks alcohol before smoking marijuana.[7]

Alcohol and marijuana both have sedative effects, and when the two substances are used together these effects can be magnified. Research conducted on animals demonstrates that motor skills tend to decline substantially when marijuana and alcohol are taken at the same time, even more so than when only one or the other is taken alone. In addition, judgment and decision-making abilities are affected more when the two are combined than when they are used alone.[8] It is especially dangerous to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol.[9]

Studies show that when it comes to teens and drugs, alcohol may be more harmful than marijuana. This is because alcohol appears to affect brain development to a further degree than marijuana.[10]

In addition, one study showed that the combination of synthetic THC and alcohol killed nerve cells in the brains of young laboratory animals. THC alone did not cause this damage.[9]


Individuals who have become dependent on alcohol are considered to be alcoholics. An alcoholic does not have control over her or his drinking habits, and will continue to consume alcohol even if it is causing problems with work, relationships, or other areas of life. Some people abuse alcohol, but are not considered alcoholics; that is, they drink heavily, often despite the negative consequences, but their bodies are not physically dependent on the alcohol. Treatment plans can help both alcoholics and alcohol abusers come to terms with these issues.[11]

Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana abuse can lead to a variety of physical and psychological issues. In the short term, abusers may have impaired short-term memory, reduced judgement ability, and a loss of coordination and motor skills. The ability to learn may be affected, as can the sleep cycle. Chronic users may become addicted to marijuana. Other long-term effects of abuse include persistent cough, bronchitis, higher risk of schizophrenia in those who are predisposed to it, amotivational syndrome, anxiety, and depression.[12]

Liza Minnelli on Alcoholism

Liza Minnelli discusses alcohol and drug addiction


Also See: Marijuana, Marijuana Side Effects, Marijuana and Cancer, Marijuana and Anxiety, Marijuana and Depression, Marijuana Coupons



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