Legal Implications: What Happens If You Mix Medical Marijuana and Alcohol?

Medical Marijuana

Besides being legal in 5 states for recreational use, marijuana has been legal for medical purposes in 28 US states. Although the marijuana legalization process in Canada hasn’t finished yet, medical marijuana has already been legal in Canada for 16 years.

In the US, medical marijuana is controlled at the state level. When it comes to federal law, cannabis is illegal, but the federal government has stated they “will not actively prosecute patients and caregivers complying with state medical marijuana laws”. However, consuming medical marijuana outside of the state laws for illegal use or trafficking is not tolerated by state or federal government.

Medical cannabis is usually prescribed to help patients in reducing their pain from severe spinal cord injuries and diseases, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis, as well as to beat anorexia, weight loss, and nausea from cancer or HIV and AIDS or epilepsy seizures.

Medical Marijuana and Alcohol

When used separately, both alcohol and marijuana have a significant impact on the brain. But the effects only get worst when mixing them together.

However, people are often tempted to drink alcohol before or after using marijuana, whether for recreational or medical purposes. Using both substances at the same or similar time can cause the side effects of one another. For instance, when a person smokes or vapes marijuana and drinks alcohol at the same time, the result is either a high level of intoxication, risky behavior or intensified stimulant or depressant effects – or all of these. Most common symptoms of mixing these two stimulants together are changes in emotional behavior, jeopardized judgment, decreased attention and perception, impaired motor coordination, memory loss or thinking and problem-solving.

Mixing recreational marijuana with a drink or two can make a huge difference of the effect, and the same goes for medical cannabis. A few types of research have been conducted regarding the high and drunk driving and mixing two substances.Still, we would have to wait to get more accurate results since the topic is still new in the field of science. However, during one particular research, scientists were observing the behavior of 19 people who had drank and vaporize different doses of marijuana, alcohol or simply took a placebo. Those persons who had combined both alcohol and marijuana, disregarding the amount of the substances, had more concentrated THC (the main substance of marijuana) in their blood than those who only vaporized marijuana.

That’s why patients are advised not to use alcohol or drive several hours after taking their medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana and Driving

Although a large number of US states and other countries allow using marijuana as a medical treatment, a lot of patients tend to think it’s allowed to drive under the influence of the substance. However, medical marijuana is not excluded from a DUI charge. So, if a patient has been pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving, he or she can get charged for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offense and can get a fine or jail time, or even both.

Drunk Driving vs High Driving Infographic

This infographic from Toronto-based OMQ Law Office shows what are the law differences in the US and Canada regarding the driving under the influence of marijuana and alcohol. Let’s take a look at this informative infographic and remember not drink, smoke, vape, and mix the drugs before driving.

Embed code for the infographic:

<a href=”” ><img src=”” alt=”drunk driving vs high driving” style=”width:640px; max-width: 100%;” />

Short bio:

Hanna Anderson is a legal assistant who works at O’Neill Moon Quedado law firm. After working hours, she likes to spend her free time by reading, traveling and doing yoga.


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