Now that the weather is warming up and you can tolerate being outside after sundown for more than five minutes, patio season welcomes a certain dilemma to those who partake in both the pleasures of libations and cannabis.
At many a bar fire pit, you'll strike up an innocuous conversation with strangers and then, out of nowhere, the plastic tube comes out and they offer you a major variable to the rest of your evening: a pre-roll.
The combination of alcohol and THC is commonly referred to as "cross fading," where your body engages with alcohol's effects on motor skills as a depressant while also responding to THC's influence on brain receptors and cognitive functions.
In your early years around alcohol and cannabis you've likely heard horror stories of the combination. Within a couple minutes the room will start spinning. Your buzz will grow exponentially to the point you're falling down and feeling dizzy, also known as "greening out."
Then why do it? If you land on that perfect balance of buzzes, you're coasting to the end of the night. You get the best of both worlds. Perhaps it's an exploration only for the experienced, but the fine line between fun and trouble doesn't seem too different from the dangers of self-destruction by edibles or one-too-many shots leading to you hugging a toilet.
And though the studies are slim, the science does seem pretty straightforward. Scott Lukas, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, found that those who smoke pot and drank displayed nearly double the THC levels in their blood plasma than those who simply smoked. The result proposes that alcohol's effect on your vascular system also subsequently eases the absorption of THC into it.
Then again, a 1992 psychiatry study at University California-San Diego found that smoking weed after drinking alcohol prompted lower blood alcohol levels than drinking alone. The result doesn't mean you're less impaired, but that the alcohol entrance is delayed.
So with elevated THC levels and delayed alcohol reception, you're going to have to deal with the cognitive impairments of cannabis being extended.
But these studies also found that cannabis is a suppressant for vomiting, something that can't be said for alcohol. So maybe finding that fine line of cross fading is the ideal night out after all. ♦