In a new study out of Washington state, researchers looked into the effects of mixing alcohol and marijuana by surveying 2,400 people who say they consumed alcohol in the last year. Of those people – surveyed in 2014 and 2015 – 70% say they used only alcohol while 18% say they used alcohol and marijuana together and 13% said they used both substances, but separately.
Those who used both simultaneously reported drinking more at a time and more often than those who used alcohol and marijuana separately or alcohol only. Also according to the study, simultaneous users were three times more likely to drive drunk, 6.5 times more likely to experience alcohol-related financial problems and four times more likely to experience alcohol-related health problems, compared with those who used only alcohol.
While correlation doesn’t equal causation, as we all know, I can say from personal experience that ingesting both marijuana and alcohol at the same time greatly increases the effects of both, so much so that an entirely new effect is produced, one that neither substance on its own can match. The alcohol tends to wipe away a lot of the self-awareness that those who use marijuana only can usually retain, and the marijuana seems to magnify the intoxicating effects of the alcohol.
In other words, using both at the same time is not conducive to good decision-making and if you need to make important decisions and you do both, you should do them separately or not at all. Of course, this is not news to most people who have consumed both alcohol and marijuana in the same night. They don’t combine the two when they have a big meeting at work; they do so when they want to party.
This study mirrors some of the same results of a larger study conducted last year in all 50 states by the same group of researchers. That study found that “the prevalence of simultaneous use was almost twice as high as concurrent use, implying that individuals who use both cannabis and alcohol tend to use them at the same time. Furthermore, simultaneous use was associated with increased frequency and quantity of alcohol use. Simultaneous use was also the most detrimental: compared to alcohol only, simultaneous use approximately doubled the odds of drunk driving, social consequences, and harms to self. The magnitudes of differences in problems remained when comparing drunk driving among simultaneous users to concurrent users.”
In reality, mixing any 2 substances that have intoxicating effects will magnify those effects. That is where adult responsibility comes in.