Why You Shouldn’t Mix Booze and Pot

By May Wilkerson 07/06/15

Researchers say that people who drink and smoke pot put themselves at risk for a multitude of risky behaviors.

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Is it a bad idea to smoke pot and drink at the same time? New research suggests these substances may be less risky if enjoyed separately.

Published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, scientists say this is the first study that has "directly compared those who use cannabis and alcohol simultaneously versus concurrently (i.e., separately) in the adult general population."

Researchers found that people who use both pot and booze are twice as likely to use them simultaneously. This group "had the heaviest drinking patterns in terms of quantity and frequency,” the study found.

Mixing booze and pot comes with other risks as well. People who use both simultaneously are doubly as likely to drive drunk compared to people who just drink, according to data from National Alcohol Surveys of more than 8,600 people in 2005 and 2010. They are also twice as susceptible to other forms of “risky” behavior, like fighting or being arrested.

As marijuana becomes increasingly legal and accessible, these risks should be taken into consideration, said study author Meenakshi S. Subbaraman. She hopes that “manufacturers will consider some sort of warning label related to increased risks when mixing alcohol and cannabis,” she said.

In general, legalization advocates tout marijuana as a relatively low-risk substance. But another study, published earlier this year in Molecular Psychiatry, found that heavy marijuana users are more likely to experience incorrect memories, even after abstaining from pot for a month, compared to people who don’t smoke pot at all.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.