Most people enjoy a drink from time to time, and why not? Just like coffee, cannabis and the many other drugs out there, it’s part of human nature to want to experience these things and the altered states they produce. Providing you’re old enough, taking care of yourself and are in a healthy place to do so, there’s really no reason not to. However, understanding our limits, and the limits where these substances become an issue, is vital for enjoying alcohol and anything else responsibly and safely. And a new study has revealed that there’s actually no safe amount of alcohol consumption.
The study, which has led to a review of recommended drinking limits in Canada, has revealed that consuming three to six alcoholic drinks a week can significantly increase the risk of developing certain cancers, such as breast cancer or colon cancer. More than seven drinks per week were found to increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Further to this, alcohol (which is referred to as “a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties” by the World Health Organisation), has been found to contribute to 3 million deaths worldwide every year, and is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease.
If you were on the fence about ditching drink, or reducing how much you consume, these alarming facts might be enough to push you over the edge! But what can you do to support yourself in cutting down? And can CBD help you quit drinking?
Can CBD help you quit drinking?
CBD is amazing stuff, but it’s not a panacea. Nor is it a medicine, or a therapy. Alcohol addiction is serious business, so if you’re really struggling to quit drinking, CBD might support you on your journey but it won’t provide you with all the help you need.
That being said, if you’re looking for ways to keep yourself right while cutting back on booze, several studies have shown promise for using CBD in this way.
A group of researchers have peer-reviewed 26 animal studies spanning a whopping 44 years to find out if CBD might help reduce alcohol cravings. Overall, the results showed test subjects reduced alcohol consumption and were also less likely to relapse when treated with regular doses of CBD, even under stress.
Other studies have explored the same subject and noted similar results, as well as exciting results in mitigating some of the physical damage, such as neurodegeneration, caused by alcohol consumption.
Can I switch alcohol for CBD?
If you’re looking for an alternative to getting drunk, CBD won’t meet that need. In the UK, legal limits of THC (without a prescription) are so low that CBD products won’t induce any sort of high, so you won’t get that woozy feeling. However, there are ways that CBD works in the body that could potentially lead it to act as a sort of social lubricant, without the messy side effects of alcohol!
One mechanism through which CBD interacts with the body is via serotonin receptors. By activating these receptors, serotonin (the neurotransmitter well known for lifting mood, as well as many other important actions) is naturally boosted. When serotonin is elevated, you can expect happy feelings and relaxation – which might make you feel more comfortable about being in a social situation sans alcohol.
There is of course also CBD’s interaction with the Endocannabinoid System that could make a difference. While there’s not enough THC in our products to get you stoned, CBD still supports the Endocannabinoid System in producing and releasing endocannabinoids (literally, cannabinoids within, which cannabinoids like THC mimic). By increasing levels of Anandamide and 2-AG (our two best-known endocannabinoids), which deliver feelings of bliss to the brain (anandamide is actually named after the Sanskrit word for ‘Bliss’, and 2-AG is largely what makes up the sensation of an orgasm!), stress levels are reduced and bliss is increased! Some might say that’s even better than getting pissed!
Can I mix alcohol and CBD?
If you’re happy with your alcohol intake and have no intention of cutting down, but you’d like to add CBD to your lifestyle as well, you may be wondering if it’s OK to do so.
The short answer is, yes! In fact, it’s a great idea. It could even help with the dreaded hangovers.
In one study published in the journal of Free Radical Biology and Medicine in 2014, researchers found that CBD has the ability to protect the liver when binge-drinking, by inhibiting oxidative stress and increasing the destruction of damaged cells. Another, published in the journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour, found that transdermal deliver of CBD (think patches and balms) appears to reduce neurodegeneration caused by drinking. This was supported again in a later study in 2019.
So, making CBD part of your daily routine, whether you’re drinking alcohol or not, is probably not a bad idea at all!