CBD drinks offer a healthier, hangover-free alternative to alcoholic beverages, and they’re (we think) just as socially acceptable.
But how do they make you feel? Are they a legitimate alternative to alcohol, or just a fad?
In this article, we’ll discuss how CBD drinks compare to alcohol in terms of effects, benefits, and risks, and we’ll delve into exciting research that shows CBD may actually reduce the adverse effects of alcohol consumption.
No hangover, just relaxation. Discover our collection of lab-tested, high-strength, American-made CBD and THC drinks. Teas, sodas, seltzers, and more.
What is CBD, And What Are CBD Drinks?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid naturally found in the hemp plant. Hemp is cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC.
Research shows CBD has a variety of potential therapeutic applications, including for sleep, stress, anxiety, pain, and inflammation.
CBD drinks are simply drinks that have been infused with CBD. They come in many forms, including teas, sodas, alcohol-free cocktails and seltzers, sparkling waters, and more.
How CBD Drinks Compare to Alcohol
How do CBD drinks compare to alcohol? In this section, we’ll look at how they stack up on effects, benefits, and risks.
Alcohol creates a relaxed sensation that many people characterize as a “buzz.” Consuming alcohol reduces inhibitions, but doing so will also cause mental impairment and reduce cognitive and motor skills.
CBD drinks do not have alcohol-like effects. While they help you relax and take the edge off, you won’t feel drunk or buzzed after consuming them. CBD is not a psychoactive cannabinoid, and is not inebriating in any way unless consumed alongside tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive cannabinoid.
Although additional clinical research is needed, studies so far have shown that CBD may render significant benefits in these areas. CBD drinks are far more than just a way to relax; they have real therapeutic benefits.
The only “benefit” of alcohol is that it may help you relax and unwind, and act as a sort of “social lubricant.” Some people find that alcohol helps reduce their social anxiety. However, these benefits can be achieved through other means, and they’re far outweighed by the risks and detriments of drinking alcohol.
Using CBD may create a few short-term side effects, including dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and fatigue. These effects are not severe, however, and research shows CBD is generally well-tolerated in therapeutic and recreational uses.
While more research is needed on the long-term effects of CBD use, no adverse effects have been found. CBD is not addictive, unlike some psychoactive cannabinoids (e.g. THC).
Alcohol, on the other hand, has a myriad of risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), short-term risks of using alcohol, particularly binge-drinking it, include injuries (e.g. car crashes), violence, alcohol poisoning, and risky sexual behaviors, as well as miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among young women.
Most people understand these immediate risks. But the CDC also highlights that consuming alcohol poses many long-term health risks.
In addition to causing chronic diseases, alcohol may lead to the development of these problems:
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum
- Weakening of the immune system
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia
- Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
- Social problems such as family problems, work-related problems, and unemployment
- Alcohol use disorders and alcohol dependence.
Are CBD Drinks a Good Replacement for Alcohol?
While CBD drinks will not get you drunk, or even approach the effects created by drinking alcohol, they can do many of the same things while posing far less of a risk to your health.
For example, CBD is calming, and it may help you unwind and relax when spending time with other people. Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD may help with social anxiety.
CBD drinks may seamlessly replace alcohol in social situations, and they come without the nasty hangover the next morning — and all the other problems.
Can You Consume CBD and Alcohol Together?
Taking CBD and alcohol together, from a medical standpoint, isn’t detrimental — but there isn’t exactly a good reason to do so.
Research suggests consuming CBD and alcohol together may create significant impairments in motor skills and cognitive functioning; using CBD alone will not do so.
While alcohol alone has these effects, CBD may intensify these feelings.
How CBD Protects Against the Side Effects of Alcohol: What Research Says
In addition to CBD drinks offering a substitute for alcohol, scientists have found that CBD may protect against and reduce the side effects of alcohol consumption.
Cell Damage and Disease
Excessive alcohol use can cause cell damage, increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as pancreatitis, liver disease, and certain forms of cancer.
Studies in animals suggest that CBD may protect against alcohol-induced cell damage.
One study in mice concluded that CBD may protect against alcohol-induced fatty livery disease by promoting autophagy, the process by which new cells are created and tissue is regenerated.
However, more studies on humans are needed before we know how well these cell-regenerating benefits carry over.
Blood Alcohol Levels
Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to an increase in blood-alcohol levels, which can then lead to a loss of motor control and cognitive function.
CBD may help. Research found that people who took 200mg of CBD with alcohol experienced significantly lower blood alcohol levels than those who used alcohol without CBD.
There is a small body of research suggesting that CBD may help with alcohol addiction.
Some animal studies have found that CBD reduced certain symptoms of addiction and withdrawal.
One study, which investigated the effects of CBD in rats addicted to alcohol, found that CBD helped reduce alcohol consumption, prevented relapses, and decreased the overall motivation of the rats to consume alcohol.
Unfortunately, there isn’t as much research on CBD for addiction in humans. However, one study of smokers found that using a CBD inhaler for one week reduced use of cigarettes by 40%. These results suggest CBD has therapeutic potential to help people break addictive behaviors.
How to Shop for CBD Drinks
Whether you’re sold on CBD drinks right now and are ready to start shopping, or you plan to explore them in the future, it’s important to know how to shop for them. Here are some tips to help you avoid the bad products and find the good ones:
Check Lab Reports
Reputable companies have their products tested by a 3rd-party laboratory to verify safety and potency.
When reading a lab report, check that the amount of CBD listed on a drink’s label matches what’s listed in the lab report. Also, ensure the product passes the tests for heavy metals and other contaminants.
Check The Ingredients
Read the ingredients on a product to ensure it really contains CBD. If it says hempseed oil or cannabis sativa oil, it doesn’t contain any CBD.
Understand The Different Types of CBD
There are multiple types of CBD. Understanding what they are helps you make sure you’re getting the product you want:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids, such as THC (up to 0.3%), CBG, and CBN, along with CBD, as well as terpenes, which are beneficial compounds in the hemp plant. Due to the range of beneficial compounds they contain, full-spectrum CBD blends are the most effective for therapeutic and recreational use.
- Broad-spectrum CBD is the same as full-spectrum CBD, but without any THC.
- CBD isolate is just CBD, without any other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Generally, we recommend going with full-spectrum CBD to get the best calming and relaxing benefits. However, if you have to undergo drug testing, you’ll want to opt for a THC-free option such as broad-spectrum or isolate CBD.
Conclusion: Are CBD-Infused Drinks a Viable Replacement for Alcohol?
CBD drinks may offer many of the same mental, physical, and social effects as alcohol, but without all the downsides that probably have you searching for alternatives in the first place.
If you’re ready for hangover-free relaxation, it’s time to give CBD drinks a try.
CBD Drinks Instead of Alcohol: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions our customers frequently ask us about using CBD drinks instead of alcohol.
Are CBD drinks a good substitute for alcohol?
While CBD drinks won’t get you drunk or create alcohol-like effects, they will help you calm down and relax during social situations, so they may provide a healthier replacement for alcoholic drinks.
Do CBD drinks get you buzzed?
No, CBD drinks will not get you buzzed or drunk. Rather, they will induce mild mental and physical calming and relaxation.
How many CBD drinks can you have?
While scientists haven’t determined a safe upper limit for dosing CBD, and CBD hasn’t been found to be fatal at high doses, we generally recommend sticking with a smaller amount of CBD to start — somewhere between 20mg and 60mg. Depending on the beverage, this may constitute 1-3 CBD drinks.