It’s summer time again! The days are longer, the sun is brighter, and the clothes are skimpier. Teens and college kids are out of school, and that means a lot more partying. Studies show that marijuana and alcohol abuse peak in the summer time, as do alcohol and drug related injuries and deaths. Teens are especially prone to increased marijuana and alcohol abuse in the summer time.
Part of the spike in alcohol and drug related injuries in the summer time is the “party atmosphere” of summer, but people also tend to get a lot more intoxicated when they abuse alcohol and marijuana in the hot sun. Marijuana and alcohol abuse in the sun can dehydrate you, leaving you confused, dizzy, and prone to accidents. A dehydrated body is more prone to heat exhaustion. Extreme heat exhaustion can even cause heat stroke, which can be deadly. Moreover, these conditions can materialize so quickly that the person may not even have a chance to realize they are dehydrated. Also, a person who is dehydrated feels the effects of marijuana and alcohol abuse more strongly, meaning that if you drink or smoke as much as you would indoors, when you combine alcohol or drugs and the sun, you will likely be much more intoxicated than you expected. This can be dangerous if you plan to drive (and yes, you can get a DUI on a boat or Jet Ski too!) or engage in some other activity like parasailing, outdoor sports, or cooking on an outdoor barbecue.
Marijuana and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants, so the combination can be dangerous! When marijuana is smoked, it is almost instantly absorbed into the blood stream and travels to the brain. THC binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain. THC appears to alter mood and cognition through its actions on the receptors it binds to. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
Alcohol also has a profound effect on the body. It is a central nervous system depressant. When a person drinks an alcoholic beverage, about 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and about 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestines. The rate of absorption depends on several factors including age, race, weight, sex, and general health.
Combining marijuana and alcohol abuse in the summer time can be very dangerous, even deadly. It can make you very nauseous and cause blackouts. Blackouts are a type of alcohol and drug related memory loss. Though repeated episodes of blacking out will lead to permanent changes in the brain, blackouts are more psychosocially damaging than physically damaging. Many people report engaging in high-risk behavior during a blackout. They drive while intoxicated, get into fights, or engage in unprotected sex. During a blackout, normal restraint of emotions, impulses, and desires is impaired and that may result in enormous harm to self and others. Blackouts inhibit your ability to control your impulses, and this can be very hazardous.