The dangers of smoking cannabis when drinking: Alcohol increases amount of the drug’s ‘high inducing’ ingredient in the blood
Inhaling marijuana after drinking increases concentration of THC in blood
THC is the active ingredient in marijuana which produces the ‘high’
Cannabis and alcohol together are commonly detected after car crashes
Experts said drinking and smoking increases chance of an accident
Source: Daily Mail
By Madlen Davies for MailOnline
1 June 2015
Smoking cannabis while drinking alcohol intensifies the ‘high’, according to new research.
Inhaling marijuana after drinking increases the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the drug’s main psychoactive ingredient, in the blood, a study found.
This raises questions over whether smoking cannabis after consuming even a small amount of alcohol is safe if a person is driving, researchers said.
Road traffic crashes rank as the ninth leading cause of death and account for 2.2 per cent of all deaths globally, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel.
In the US, where the researchers carrying out the study were based, cannabis use has surged in the last decade as the drug has been decriminalised in some states so it can be used to treat a range of medical conditions.
The researchers said the combination of cannabis and alcohol is most commonly detected after crashes and so they wanted to investigate how mixing the two drugs could affect road safety.
They examined 19 people drinking a low dose of either alcohol, or a non-alcoholic ‘dummy’ drink ten minutes before inhaling vaporized cannabis in either a low or high dose.
They found that when people drank alcohol before inhaling marijuana, the level of THC in their blood was ‘significantly higher than without alcohol’.
The combination of cannabis and alcohol raises the chance of crashing more than either substance by itself, they added, pointing to previous research which came to this conclusion.
The study’s lead author Dr Marilyn Huestis, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said: ‘The significantly higher blood THC values with alcohol possibly explain increased performance impairment observed from cannabis-alcohol combinations.’
She added she hopes the findings will inform discussions around legislation on driving on drugs.
Previously, experts have warned that the increased concentration of THC in today’s cannabis compared to previous years means smokers are more likely to experience negative effects.
These include anxiety, confusion, panic attacks, hallucinations or extreme paranoia, with women more at risk than men.