Patterns of Marijuana and Alcohol Polydrug Addiction

Although seen as gateway drugs, alcohol and marijuana generally have a reputation as being less harmful than other substances.

Alcohol and marijuana have a reputation as being less harmful than other substances. Yet, the two share similar reputations as gateway drugs. They are also the most abused substances globally—As there are more alcohol and marijuana addictions than any other addictive substance. Today, most people who use both together are likely to have issues with addiction. 

Patterns of Marijuana and Alcohol Polydrug Addiction

Why Do People Combine Alcohol and Marijuana?

People mix alcohol and marijuana because both drugs slow down the responses of the central nervous system. Each substance gives a person a feeling of relaxation and calmness. Yet, when alcohol and marijuana are used simultaneously, a person will feel each drug’s effects more intensely. They will become incredibly intoxicated and feel higher than if they were to take the substances separately. The typical motives to smoke pot and drink is because this combination is expected and desired when people use and drink to get wasted at parties. In some circles, the two must go together regardless of the event. 

Is it Dangerous to Mix Alcohol and Marijuana?

Alcohol increases the absorption of marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, mixing alcohol and marijuana — also called crossfading— can cause someone to become too high and sick in the classic sense of nausea and vomiting. Other physical symptoms that occur when someone mixes alcohol and marijuana include:

  • Blackouts
  • Memory loss 
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to walk or drive
  • Fainting and passing out

Within, the combination of alcohol and THC, the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, produces greater memory impairments than when either drug is given alone. (NIH)

What Are The Trends of Alcohol and Marijuana Use Today?

Since Marijuana has been legalized in many states, there has been increased attention concerning alcohol use, behaviors, and consequences of consuming both. People’s tendency to use both substances is significant but has increased specifically with marijuana among college-age individuals. The National Institute of Health found an alarming increase in marijuana use in 2020. 

Marijuana use continued to rise among college students over the past five years and remained at historically high levels among same-aged peers who are not in college in 2020, according to survey results from 2020 Monitoring the Future panel study. This represents the highest levels of marijuana use recorded since the 1980s. (NIH

Do Alcoholism and Marijuana Use Create a Polydrug Addiction?

The medical term polydrug refers to two or more substances being ingested at once or within a short time. There is not exactly a type of polydrug per se, yet, combining alcohol and marijuana is considered a polydrug addiction or abuse. Medically speaking, there is no legitimate reason anyone should mix marijuana and alcohol other than to get inebriated. If someone must smoke pot when they drink or vice versa, they struggle with a substance use disorder and need professional help. Many people can stop drinking and using marijuana without help, but people cannot have better options than ever before. 

What Treatment is Best For Marijuana and Alcohol Misuse?

Today the most effective therapy must be evidence-based and rely on behavioral treatment methods for treating both addictions to alcohol and marijuana. In addition, since these drugs are used to sedate or relax, individuals with anxiety disorders may be using them to self-medicate. 

On Call treatment utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy for our polydrug users. They are helped through in-depth counseling and targeted therapy that allows them to see why they use drugs and drink simultaneously or individually. Our inpatient program formats for alcohol and marijuana addiction include: 

  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Holistic Therapy 
  • Mindfulness Recovery 
  • Stress and Anger Management
  • Relapse Prevention

Achieve Sobriety With Help from On Call Treatment

Do not let yourself believe that alcohol or marijuana use is not a problem because of the trends to mix them. Both substances will cause addiction and lead to more severe drug and alcohol use. We have helped thousands get away from drugs and alcohol without struggling. The answer is found through a personalized treatment program tailored to your emotional and psychological needs. We are the best at helping addicts, and alcoholics find a better life.