How Marijuana Interacts with Alcohol

Over the past several years, regulation of marijuana has changed considerably in Harris County. Although Texas has stiff drug laws, the county has decided not to arrest anyone possessing less than 4 ounces of weed. For that reason, many people are lighting up as a recreational activity.

However, getting behind the wheel of a car is a poor choice if you have smoked any marijuana. Many people have the perception that marijuana is “harmless,” which is why it is being decriminalized. But when combined with alcohol, marijuana can severely impair a driver, who will face stiff penalties if they get picked up or crash into an innocent victim. If you’ve been stopped, please contact our Houston DWI attorneys today.

Side Effects of Combining Alcohol and Marijuana

Both weed and alcohol have similar side effects, including sedation and time distortions. However, when combined, the effects are that much stronger:

  • Alcohol enhances the effects of THC. THC is the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis. However, medical evidence shows that the liver metabolizes alcohol before any other substance, including THC. Consequently, the THC will stay in your blood system much longer, and you will feel its effects until all the alcohol has been properly metabolized.
  • You run the risk of overdose. People who combine weed and alcohol are more at risk of overdosing on one or both. All things considered, alcohol poisoning is probably more serious than THC overdose. Consuming marijuana can blind a person to the effects of drunkenness, which contributes to over-drinking.
  • Alcohol and marijuana impair judgment. Either drug standing alone can impair clear judgment, leading to DWI accidents. However, combining them seems to increase the impairment. Users are more likely to lose consciousness or be unable to make sensible decisions when driving, such as driving the speed limit or not passing around a corner.
  • The combined side effects are intense. Some users experience hallucinations or anxiety when using cannabis, and alcohol can supercharge these side effects. Someone hallucinating is at an obvious risk of getting into an accident.

As you can see, smoking a blunt is a terrible choice if you are choosing to have a drink or two. You will probably end up more impaired than if you had just had one drink alone.

Marijuana Use Can Lead to DWI

Under Texas Law § 49.01, a motorist is intoxicated if they lose normal use of their physical or mental faculties because of alcohol, drugs, or combination of these substances. The law does not require that a motorist blow a certain number on a breath test to be handcuffed. Driving dangerously is enough to support an arrest and conviction.

For this reason, combining even one joint with a couple drinks increases the risk of losing your ability to drive safely. Though the police might run a urine or blood test to uncover the amount of THC in your system, they are not required to—and, in fact, you might lose your license based on your poor driving alone.

Contact a Houston DWI Lawyer Today

Decriminalizing marijuana has, unfortunately, given some people the impression that marijuana carries no risks. Every time you toke a joint and drive, you increase the odds of a criminal conviction. Please contact Houston drug DWI lawyer Tad Nelson today to schedule a consultation.