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Mixing cannabis and alcohol

Mixing cannabis & alcohol

Find out about the dangers of mixing cannabis and alcohol and how to overcome addiction with help from the therapists at Delamere

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Mixing cannabis and alcohol

Alcohol drinkers are more likely to take cannabis than any other drug, other than tobacco (1). People often combine cannabis and alcohol to try to increase, or counteract, their effects. However, because both substances alter physical and mental functions in a similar way, mixing them can prove dangerous. As cannabis and alcohol are two of the most commonly used substances in the world, it’s important to understand the implications of mixing them.

We’re here to explain what cannabis and alcohol can do to the body and what to do if you think you may have developed a dependence. Delamere treats both cannabis addiction and alcohol addiction at our residential wellness retreat in Cheshire. We have a team of holistic therapists who are experts in poly-substance use and can offer a clinical detox treatment to help the withdrawal process go smoothly. We use a combination of the latest therapeutic practices and somatic healing techniques to help our guests overcome addiction and move on with their lives.

Talk to our team about our person-centred approach to our programmes today. Book a consultation

Cannabis and alcohol side effects

The cannabis plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering chemical that has short and long-term psychotic effects. When smoked, vaped or eaten, the THC in cannabis impacts the parts of the brain responsible for thinking, memory, pleasure coordination and movement. Similarly, alcohol can interfere with the brain’s communication pathways impairing people’s balance, speech, judgement, decision-making and self-control. When cannabis and alcohol are taken together the effects are often intensified.

People experience different reactions to mixing cannabis and alcohol based on a variety of factors, from metabolism to method of administration. If you’ve already started drinking and then decide to smoke cannabis the ‘high’ is stronger than the other way around. This is because alcohol increases the absorption of THC which can cause the user to have a ‘green out’ – an unpleasant episode of feeling sweaty, dizzy and being sick.

On the other hand, smoking cannabis before drinking is thought to slow down the absorption of alcohol which can make the person feel less drunk. This might lead to them wrongly believing they were fit to drive or taking other risks that could be life-threatening. Psychological symptoms can also occur, such as hallucinations and delusions.

What are the risks of mixing cannabis and alcohol?

Cannabis and alcohol are already both damaging to health. When used together, they not only produce double the high, but also increase the chances of unpleasant side effects and long-term health problems. You’re also at a higher risk of developing a dependence. For instance, cutting down on your alcohol consumption increases the chance of developing a cannabis addiction and vice versa. Abusing both at the same time comes with a variety of negative consequences:

Increased risk of accidents and injury

Alcohol makes you lose your inhibitions. Cannabis calms your brain. Add these two effects together and you’re more likely to put yourself in harm’s way. Whether it’s drink driving or getting involved in fights, it’s easy to take risks when your mind isn’t in full control. Cannabis and alcohol both force you to have poor judgement, slower reflexes, poor coordination, blackouts and memory loss, which is an accident waiting to happen.

Long-term mental health problems

Young males are the most likely cohort to abuse cannabis and alcohol as well as the most common group to seek treatment for mental health problems. Both substances have a psychotic effect on the brain and as a result are synonymous with mental health conditions. If concurrent cannabis and alcohol use starts at a young age, higher levels of anxiety, depression and behavioural problems are reported in adulthood (2).

Overdosing on cannabis and alcohol

When people use cannabis and alcohol together the risk and severity of an alcohol overdose increases. Cannabis not only increases the level of THC in your blood, but it also has an anti-sickness effect which can keep alcohol in your system for longer. While overdosing on cannabis alone is rare, the effect on the central nervous system when combined with alcohol can make overdose symptoms much worse, leading to hospitalisation in many cases.

Withdrawing from cannabis and alcohol

The physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawing from cannabis and alcohol without medical supervision can be deadly. If someone is suffering with both alcohol addiction and cannabis addiction the withdrawal symptoms need to be treated at the same time, preferably in a residential facility. Understanding the reasons for this reliance on a combination of drugs and alcohol is essential for both problems to be tackled at once.

The Delamere approach to cannabis and alcohol addiction

If you’re worried about the effect cannabis and alcohol are having on your life, it’s time to get help. Delamere is the ideal environment to press the reset button and overcome your combined alcohol addiction and cannabis addiction. Set in six acres of forest, our purpose-built retreat has everything you need to overcome your problems in comfortable surroundings.

Many of our staff members are in active recovery themselves so they have an empathic and sensitive approach to your needs. We will support you with a clinical detox treatment to reduce your physical reliance on cannabis and alcohol while lessening any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. You’ll then have access to a wide choice of therapeutic techniques, from one-to-one counselling to somatic healing practices, to makes sense of your dual addiction and overcome it.

Unlike other residential rehab programmes, our unique approach to alcohol addiction and cannabis addiction is holistic, taking into consideration the physical, emotional and psychological impact of your addictive behaviour. We will work together to develop the tools and coping mechanisms you need to stop cravings, start the healing process and grow beyond addiction.

Stop. Start. Grow

Our Stop Start Grow model is a refreshing approach to recovery and is what makes treatment at Delamere different.

We believe life after addiction should be abundant, so our programmes focus on addressing any underlying issues that underpin your addiction, helping you let go of the past and rewrite your future without addiction holding you back.


Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
any distractions

Outcomes Outcomes


Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first place

Delamere treatment model Delamere treatment model


Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere

Environment Environment


Practice using the tools
while staying anchored to support.
Bring Recovery Home.

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Our core elements of treatment

We believe that cannabis addiction and alcohol addiction, whether stemming from a need to relieve stress or forget troubles – stems from somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.


Stopping the cycle of addiction or burnout safely and comfortably


Healing whatever
pain is causing
the behaviour


Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth

Why choose Delamere?

Holistic approach to recovery

Discreet location

Luxury ensuite accommodation

Personalised programmes

Flexible stays

24-hour care & support

On-site gym & health studio

Business & family lounges

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This page has been reviewed by Dr Catherine Carney, Delamere’s psychiatrist
This page has been reviewed by Mike Delaney, Clinical Director at Delamere

Outcomes focused

Everything we do here is about outcomes. Focusing on getting you back to yourself again in the short term, but then growing beyond that when you leave Delamere. Helping you create the foundations for long-term recovery and growth.

Individual care

There’s no one-size-fits-all here. We listen, learn and tailor our programmes to meet your personal needs, whatever they may be. Your journey to recovery is yours, so we design our programmes with you in mind.


Creative therapies

Nature and creativity often bring out the best in people, especially after a difficult period in their life. We offer equine and art therapy, fire ceremonies, nature walks and more to help you relax, reflect and see the world in a new way.

“My own journey through addiction was the inspiration for Delamere. We provide exemplary care in first-class facilities, focusing on creating lasting outcomes for our guests and their families. Helping them not just overcome their addiction, but grow beyond it.”

Martin Preston, Founder & CEO at Delamere

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Worried about cannabis and alcohol?

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Know someone with cannabis and alcohol addiction

If a friend, family member or work colleague is showing signs of cannabis addiction and alcohol addiction, it’s important they get help.

Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our clinical detox treatment programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.

Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.

Source of information

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of national findings (NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795) Rockville, MD: 2013. p. 163.
  2. Thompson, K., Holley, M., Sturgess, C., & Leadbeater, B. (2021). Co-Use of Alcohol and Cannabis: Longitudinal Associations with Mental Health Outcomes in Young Adulthood. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(7), 3652. http.