If you frequent certain cocktail bars and taverns, you may have noticed drink specials that blend CBD and alcohol. And at first glance, it might appear that alcohol and non-intoxicating CBD—a natural compound found in cannabis and its cousin, wild hemp—were made for each other. But while the benefits of CBD are numerous and well documented, there’s very little research on the effects of combining cannabis and alcohol.
Beyond the unknowns associated with consuming alcohol and cannabis in combo, some people are forgoing alcohol altogether. Some call the use of recreational cannabis only “Cali sober” and others who are consuming medical marijuana just want to focus on the positive therapeutic effects. Still others are just doing “Dry January” as a sort of alcohol cleanse after the boozy holiday season.
Whatever your reason for pursuing ways to unwind that don’t involve alcohol, today’s post will provide tips that will still help you take the edge off when you are going alcohol free.
The Basics: How We Metabolize Cannabinoids and Alcohol
Cannabinoids—or the “major active ingredient” in cannabis—include CBD and THC. CBD may deliver a number of benefits, including relief from aches and strains and even improving our overall quality of life. And it does so by interfacing with the endocannabinoid system, one of our body’s most important regulatory networks.
By contrast, alcohol is metabolized primarily through the liver. But that’s not to say that these two processes are entirely unrelated. For one thing, both alcohol and CBD have been shown to promote feelings of relaxation and ease. It’s possible that taken together, the two substances could potentiate—that is, magnify—the effects of the other, leading to potential feelings of disorientation or changes in behavior or mood.
Ideas for Unwinding Without Booze
The health benefits of cannabis pair well with other relaxation methods. Here are three of our favorite ways to magnify wellbeing with cannabis.
Learn a New Skill and Cannabis
Our brains shift away from stress when we’re activating new parts of our brain. Choose a new skill to learn that is both fun and requires some focus. The goal is to find something that will take your mind off the day without adding consternation. Might we suggest becoming an advanced joint roller by teaching yourself to roll a cross or a tulip masterpiece?
You can even sip a fun yet alcohol-free beverage while you’re learning your new skill. Stock your fridge with a variety of tasty cannabis drinks.
Exercise and Cannabis
We all know it. Sigh. Exercise is good for us and yes, that extends to its ability to help us unwind. One common barrier to entry for exercise is the fear of sore muscles. No one likes to hobble out of bed in the morning, even if it is “the good kind of sore” that’s got you feeling tight.
You could try a cannabis topical for ease. If used both before and after a workout, the localized relief of cannabis products such as CBD for muscular discomfort or other symptoms can work wonders. Getting the maximum benefit from exercise means making the routine sustainable. Topicals may help. Staying healthy and safe, though. Don’t push through if you feel pain during a workout.
Getting to Sleep and Cannabis
Why do we like to unwind at all? For many of us, it’s because our daily lives are busy and we often build stress throughout the day. That stress, and its buddy anxiety, can leave us counting sheep when we’d prefer to be sleeping. We’ve talked before about the tricks, tips, and doses for getting to sleep with the support of cannabis. Edibles made for sleep can be a delightful option.
We’d like to add that once you ingest cannabis in preparation for sleep, you may benefit from turning off all screens for at least 30 minutes to help you unwind. If you still want your phone nearby, try turning on a guided meditation or a bedtime story. There are even celebrities who have recorded stories specifically for lulling you to sleep; try Calm if you like the coo of Matthew McConaughey or Audible if you think Nick Jonas might do the trick.
Benefits of Alcohol Alternatives
In case it’s not obvious, we’re excited about the potential health benefits of cannabis products as alternatives to alcohol consumption. Do you have other questions about using cannabis for relaxation? Just ask! We’re here to help.