How does marijuana affect alcohol intoxication?

Whether you are under the influence of marijuana, hard drugs, alcohol or prescription medication, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Generally, this means you cannot drive if you cannot safely handle your vehicle. You also cannot legally drive with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08%.

If you use marijuana before, during or after consuming alcohol, you may have an increased risk of facing OWI charges. That is, marijuana usage may affect the way your body processes alcohol and vice versa. It may also cause you to engage in risky behaviors.

Absorption of THC

While marijuana affects everyone differently, drinking alcohol before consuming pot may increase THC absorption. THC, of course, is the chemical substance in marijuana that makes you feel high. Marijuana may also cause you to drink more alcohol. Either way, if you combine alcohol and marijuana, you may amplify the effects of both substances.

Risky driving behaviors

Alcohol and THC each lower a user’s inhibitions. According to a recent study, the combined effects of marijuana and booze may lead you to engage in dangerous behaviors. For example, even if you trust yourself never to drink and drive, consuming marijuana while drinking alcohol may encourage you to do just that. You may also be more likely to speed or otherwise drive erratically.

Patrol officers typically need reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle. If you are driving poorly, you may give officers a legally valid reason to suspect you are under the influence. Ultimately, if you fail a breath or field sobriety test after consuming alcohol and marijuana together, you may have to defend yourself against serious OWI charges.

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