What you need to know before mixing cannabis with other substances

Published Jul 23, 2022 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Marina113

Laws and restrictions are put in place to keep consumers from dabbling in too many mind-altering drugs at a time, like at bars, where servers are trained to turn away customers if they are believed to be under the influence of cannabis. To some extent, this seems to make sense, especially for businesses that can quite easily become victims of lawsuits, but the reality is that most enthusiasts enjoy a few puffs here and there with a drink, or something else.

For the experienced cannasseur combining effects can provide a unique experience that cannot be matched by using cannabis alone, and though we don’t necessarily encourage the practice, it’s a common one that shouldn’t be ignored. Of course, playing it safe will always be the best choice, but adults will not be stopped with a simple bit of advice or a gentle suggestion. Instead, the best we can do for those who’ve already made up their mind is to provide guidelines, tips, and recommendations that will help to ensure they have the safest, most enjoyable experience possible.

1. The effects of cannabis can be amplified with other substances

You might feel 100% comfortable with how cannabinoids impact the way that you feel, functioning almost as if you hadn’t taken anything at all. For many, the same is true with alcohol and other substances, but this predictable result cannot be expected once you toss another drug into the mix. Combining substances may amplify the effects of them, which can be overwhelming and in some cases, even debilitating.

2. Cannabis may change the way your body reacts to other drugs

Using cannabis alone, your body will process and interact with the cannabinoids, as usual, the same is true each time you throw back a beer or a cocktail. However, if you take both of these substances at the same time, you just might find that the effects take hold in a much different way. The alcohol might start kicking in right away, or it could be a couple of hours before you notice the transition in your state of mind from the effects of one substance to the next. Of course, it’s also entirely possible for both to take hold at the same time, but it’s much less likely when you mix things up.

3. Even mixing different types of cannabis products can be a challenge

Technically, taking different types of cannabis products isn’t mixing substances, but it is still combining varying potencies and effects, which might not be as enjoyable as they are when they’re taken individually. You might cope with a 50mg edible on its own, but toss a joint or two on top of that, and it could be just enough to push you past the edge into discomfort. For this reason, it’s important to be careful if you decide to take two or more cannabis products at a time.

4. Cannabis may interfere with prescription medications

Cannabinoids do have the power to interfere with the performance of several life-saving medications. For most, it’s a relatively safe choice, while a select few who rely on prescriptions to keep them alive, might be a whole lot better off by choosing to avoid them.

5. It’s not something that should be tried by the inexperienced

Though uncommon people have been known to experience severe paranoia, anxiety, and other uncomfortable side effects after their first time with cannabis alone, and that’s why we highly discourage combining it with anything else, especially if it’s your first time, or if you have minimal experience with what cannabinoids can do.

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6. Start slow

Once you’re in party mode, and on a mission to experience a different state of mind, it’s easy to go overboard, which as we’ve mentioned could lead you down a path you don’t want to travel. However, if you ease into it with small doses and plenty of experimenting to build a tolerance and understanding of what varying combinations do to you, you’ll be much better off in the end.

7. Moderation is key

If you are going to mix substances then it’s important to keep in mind that moderation is the key to maintaining control over the outcome. Having a single cannabis drink and mixing it with psilocybin may be relaxing and spiritual while adding one more of each could bring you to your breaking point, a place it might take hours to get back from. So proceed with caution, and always in moderation.

8. Never mix mind-altering substances alone

Though the general advice is not to combine substances of any kind at all, if you are going to take that chance, then it’s much better if you’re not alone for the experience, just in case anything happens you weren’t expecting. It’s probably going to be fine, but if you were to fall and get injured or have an adverse reaction, it’s always safer to have someone you trust by your side who can help you to get through it all.

9. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help

Cannabis is now legal in most countries, so unless you’re staying or residing somewhere with barbarically outdated laws that could leave you with a criminal record for simply admitting to having used it, there’s no reason to avoid reaching out for help when it’s needed. In most cases, attending medical professionals are bound by a certain level of secrecy to protect patients who end up in such terrible situations from getting in trouble for seeking help, so don’t sweat it, and if you feel the need, find someone who can help.

10. If things don’t go according to plan, it’s important to be transparent with medical professionals

Reaching out for assistance is difficult, but doing so under false or partially true pretenses isn’t going to help your situation at all either. In order for medical professionals, or anyone else to help you, you’re going to have to be 100% transparent about how you ended up in an uncomfortable position in the first place, even though it might be a difficult conversation to have out of sheer embarrassment. There is still a heavy stigma surrounding most substances including cannabis, but medical professionals are trained to deal with everything, so do not fear them.

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