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The Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Marijuana, Adam Cook

Check out this article written specifically for our community by Adam Cook, the founder of AddictionHub.com.

The Dangers of Combining Alcohol and Marijuana, Adam Cook from AddictionHub.com

 

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Photo via Pixabay by Pezibear

Alcohol addiction affects millions of Americans every year, and while the reasons for addiction can vary from person to person, the effects are often similar. Addiction filters through a person’s life and touches everything, from finances to employment to relationships. It can have a huge negative effect on physical and mental health and, in some cases, can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts. When combined with other substances–such as marijuana–the dangers are multiplied.

While marijuana is legal in some states, it has not been approved by the FDA in every state and some studies have shown that the effects of the drug can include paranoia, anxiety, and panic attacks, memory loss, and reduced reaction time, making it hazardous for those who are operating a vehicle. When paired with a substance like alcohol–which can have very serious side effects–marijuana pushes those symptoms even further and can increase the risk of nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate, impaired judgement, and lack of motor skills.

Some of the most common warning signs of addiction and drug use include:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Decline in health
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Spending money frequently
  • Changes in behavior
  • Problems at school or work
  • Legal problems
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Strange smells that linger on clothing
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight
  • Lashing out

Depressants like alcohol and marijuana can interfere with blood sugar levels, the kidneys, and the brain, changing the way the individual receives and perceives information. Slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, and inability to focus are also symptoms of combined drug use. When a person becomes addicted, over time they need more and more of the drug to get the same effect, meaning they may unintentionally ingest a large amount and run the risk of overdosing.

While many individuals use marijuana as a means to relax or soothe stress, it can have the opposite effect in some people, particularly when mixed with alcohol. For some–military vets who suffer from PTSD, those living with mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, and individuals who have suffered from trauma or who have ingested psychedelic drugs in the past–mixing alcohol and marijuana can trigger nightmares, depression, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts.

If you think a loved one may have a problem with dual addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and let them know you are concerned. While it’s almost unheard of for an individual to overdose on marijuana, mixing the drug with another substance can be dangerous or fatal. Let them know you’re listening if they want to talk, and try not to be judgmental.

Withdrawal symptoms can be painful and could lead to relapses, so keep this in mind if your loved one has gotten professional help for their addiction. It is not an easy road, but with love and patience, anyone with addiction can find their way out of it.

Updated: October 13, 2016 — 2:49 pm

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