Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products are surging in popularity lately, especially in states where marijuana is not fully legalized. And if you’ve heard the buzz around delta-8 THC, you might be wondering: Is it safe to use this substance while drinking?
Beyond that, does it offer benefits for cutting back on alcohol or dealing with withdrawal? What are the risks, and are there any benefits?
In this post, we’ll cover everything you should know about delta-8 THC and alcohol, including what this compound is, what we know so far, and whether or not it’s safe to use while drinking.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Chemically, it’s incredibly similar to its cannabinoid sibling, delta-9 THC, but with less potent effects. Many people think of this compound as “diet-weed,” with some reporting that it’s about half as potent as common THC.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
Delta-8 THC remains federally legal in the United States due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill. However, 16 states have banned or restricted it as of September 2021, and that number may continue to rise as time goes on.
Aside from its legal status, the FDA warns against consuming delta-8 THC, reporting that it is not approved or regulated and that products containing it may pose health risks.
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Is It Safe to Combine Delta-8 THC and Alcohol?
While there isn’t much research on the direct effects of delta-8 with alcohol, we know that using cannabis while drinking could lead to undesirable outcomes. For example, smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana while drinking can have you “greening out” or feeling like you’re spinning and sick—all of which are generally unpleasant experiences.
Aside from that, here are some other troublesome (and potentially dangerous) side effects of mixing THC and alcohol:
- A more pronounced feeling from both substances (i.e., you could feel excessively high or drunk)
- Increased THC levels in the blood
- Increased risk of overdose: Cannabinoids are antiemetic, meaning they may prevent vomiting. While anti-nausea effects are helpful in many situations, they can be dangerous when someone is drinking.
- Altered judgment, beyond what alcohol or THC produce alone
Can Delta-8 THC Help with Alcohol Withdrawal or Alcohol Intake?
For people looking to decrease their alcohol use or quit altogether, replacing alcohol with delta-8 THC can be tempting. It’s more accessible than regular THC in many states, and it’s said to have the same effects. But is that a good idea? Can it help with alcohol withdrawal or alcohol use problems?
Can Delta-8 Help You Cut Back on Drinking?
As of right now, the research is inconclusive on whether or not marijuana can help reduce alcohol intake. There is even less available research surrounding delta-8 THC and alcohol use.
With this in mind, it’s not currently possible to state whether or not delta-8 THC can help a person cut back on drinking.
What About Its Effects on Alcohol Withdrawal?
Again, delta-8 THC is an extremely understudied compound. There isn’t enough research to back using marijuana for alcohol withdrawal, and the same applies to delta-8 THC.
With the knowledge we have available, we cannot recommend using delta-8 THC for alcohol detox symptoms. Instead, it may be worthwhile to learn more about the science-backed anti-craving prescriptions that can better help you during the quitting process.
Risks of Delta-8 THC
Because delta-8 THC is unapproved and unregulated, you could be taking some significant risks when you consume it. Unreputable companies often mislabel products or skip quality testing, and it’s hard to know who to trust.
One brand, CBD Oracle, took it upon themselves to investigate the quality of delta-8 THC products by having 51 different products lab tested.
Seventy-six percent of the products had more than the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC limit set by the 2018 Farm Bill. Additionally, many products contained less delta-8 than promised.
This is not to say that all delta-8 products are bad quality—but a significant portion of brands are mislabeling products, which hurts delta-8’s reputation as a whole. The industry’s lack of transparency and regulations also means that some delta-8 products may contain harmful chemicals left over from the extraction process.
There’s a lot that we just don’t know about delta-8 THC. Cannabis enthusiasts are eagerly talking about its positive effects, while at the same time, the FDA has received various adverse event reports involving delta-8 products. For now, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
The Takeaway on Delta-8 THC and Alcohol
All in all, mixing delta-8 with alcohol probably won’t feel much different from drinking while using regular marijuana. This compound is similar to delta-9 THC but with slightly less potent effects. And while you might feel tempted to use delta-8 THC to reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal, there isn’t enough research to support it for this purpose.
If you’re struggling with alcohol use problems and looking for ways to make quitting easier, it’s best to look into evidence-backed medications instead.
Ria Health’s online alcohol treatment program is one way to receive comprehensive support in recovery, including access to anti-craving prescriptions. Beyond medication, our app connects you with medical professionals, trained recovery coaches, and support groups to help you along your sobriety journey.
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