One of the most common causes of automobile accidents is the use of both alcohol and marijuana combined. Alcohol and marijuana, when taken together, increases the amounts of THC in blood levels and elevates the effects on a person. According to research, the chance of being in an accident is much higher with the use of both drugs combined than the use of either of these drugs separately.
Alcohol and marijuana are both drugs that are socially acceptable, making it difficult to curb the use of it in teens and adults. Furthermore, many people believe that marijuana is a safe drug. Many adults smoke it or ingest an edible form of it on a regular basis without giving it much thought.
However, there are some dangerous effects of marijuana to consider, in addition to the dangers that arise when marijuana is combined with alcohol or other illicit drugs.
Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Marijuana
In fact, one study recently found out why combining alcohol and marijuana together could be potentially more dangerous than using either of these drugs alone. The study was published in the journal, Clinical Chemistry, found that the use of alcohol and marijuana combined produced higher concentrations of THC in the blood, which could explain the increased impairments with the use of both drugs combined.
The main active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although marijuana is not as damaging as other drugs, such as cocaine, THC can create significant effects on its users. marijuana use can cause adrenal weakness, hypoglycemia, fatigue, lethargy, and loss of motivation in life.
Furthermore, marijuana will mimic a neurotransmitter and in a way “fool” its receptor. Marijuana will lock onto the receptors and activate the nerve cells. Because marijuana is not the neurotransmitter that was intended for that receptor, the neurons end up sending abnormal messages throughout the brain. This leads to hallucination, abnormal thoughts, and change in perception.
Hallucinations and Dangerous Effects
Of course, hallucinations, abnormal thoughts, and perception changes can affect one’s ability to drive. At the same time, the effects of alcohol can also impair driving ability. And it’s no wonder that alcohol has also been involved in the cause of many car accidents.
When an individual has a glass of wine or a pint of beer, the alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly. Depending on whether there is food in the stomach or not, the body will absorb the alcohol more or less quickly. For instance, foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats can make the user’s body absorb alcohol more slowly.
The Symptoms of the Drugs
During this time, an individual begins to feel the effects of alcohol, such as numbness, slurred speech, slowed reactions, and a loose mood. In time, the alcohol leaves the body through the breath, perspiration, and urine.
The effects of marijuana on the mind and body combined with the effects of alcohol on an individual can create a situation in which someone is simply not adequately prepared to drive. Driving requires one’s concentration, presence, and sound judgment.
The combined use of alcohol and marijuana significantly affect these in a person. Marilyn A. Huestis, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and lead author of the study, commented: “The significantly higher blood THC… with alcohol possibly explain increased performance impairment observed from cannabis-alcohol combinations.”
She continued to say that the “results [of the study]will help facilitate forensic interpretation and inform the debate on drugged driving legislation.”
As research continues, perhaps more information will come to light about the effects of substances and how to keep drivers and communities safe.
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