Updated on February 14, 2024
5 min read

What is Crossfading, and Why Should You Be Concerned?

Key Takeaways

What is Cross Fading?

When someone is cross-fading, they experience overlapping effects from being drunk and high. Other slang terms used to describe this combination include:

  • Crunk
  • Faded
  • Blitzed
  • Blasted

Crossfading involves combining cannabis and alcohol to experience both effects. It can cause issues with your mental and physical health.

This is because the active ingredient in alcohol, called ethanol, can increase the absorption of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in marijuana. Likewise, drinking alcohol can impact your blood vessels, absorbing more THC.

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Why Do People Get Cross Faded?

Crossfading is sometimes desirable to young adults because of its intense side effects. If someone drinks alcohol and then smokes cannabis, it can lead to significantly higher blood concentrations of THC than if marijuana was used alone.

In some cases, people may be peer-pressured into cross-fading. They may also be addicted to alcohol and marijuana.

However, people who are experiencing negative thoughts or feelings are more likely to use both substances simultaneously. Using drugs and alcohol to cope with negative feelings can signify a substance or alcohol use disorder.

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Dangers & Effects of Crossfading

Crossfading is considered a form of substance abuse that may lead to addiction and dependence. It can lead to uncomfortable and dangerous side effects:

Symptoms of crossfading include: 

  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Disorientation

Binge drinking while smoking marijuana can also result in various symptoms from both alcohol and marijuana. These include:

Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana

Symptoms of using marijuana include: 

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased appetite

Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Symptoms of drinking alcohol include:

  • Feelings of relaxation or drowsiness
  • A sense of euphoria or giddiness
  • Changes in mood
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Slowed or slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Head pain
  • Changes in hearing, vision, and perception
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory gaps (blackout)

The Dangers of Vomiting While Crossfading

Marijuana can have an antiemetic effect, leading to an inability to vomit. Vomiting is typically a sign that you've drank too much alcohol.

But because you can't vomit with marijuana in your system, you may consume large amounts of alcohol without realizing it. Because of the high level of toxicity in your body, it can make you more susceptible to alcohol poisoning or blackouts.4

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The Psychological Side Effects of Crossfading

Many people who experience a "bad trip" (or episode) from a cross-faded high may also suffer severe psychological stress, including:

  • Anxiety: Cannabis use and drinking are linked to an increased risk for anxiety and panic attacks
  • Paranoia: Someone under the influence of cannabis is more likely to feel paranoid in a social setting than someone who’s not
  • Psychosis: Compared to non-users, cannabis users have an increased risk of psychosis. When alcohol is included, psychological issues become a probability rather than a possibility

Risks of Getting High and Drunk at the Same Time

People who drink alcohol and use marijuana simultaneously may experience dangerous health risks and social consequences. Compared to only drinking alcohol, using the two substances simultaneously doubles the odds of:

  • Drunk driving
  • Social consequences
  • Harming yourself

Studies show that people may use substances at a bar or party. Because of this, people who have used alcohol and cannabis are more likely to drive unsafely afterward.7

However, you may also experience the long-term side effects of excessive alcohol and marijuana use. These include:

Long-Term Risks of Alcohol Use

Drinking significant amounts of alcohol in a short period can lead to alcohol poisoning. Critical areas of the brain that control heart rate, breathing, and temperature can shut down, leading to death.

Even when consumed alone, excessive drinking increases the risk of alcoholism or alcohol dependency. Excessive drinking and alcohol abuse is also linked to:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart problems
  • Cognitive impairments

Long-Term Risks of Marijuana Use

Excessive marijuana use can lead to drug abuse, dependence, and tolerance. Higher tolerance can result in increasing the dose and using unsafe amounts to reach the same high.

If you prefer smoking cannabis, there’s also the risk of lung damage over time.2 It can also lead to:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Increased risks of psychosis.

Cannabis smokers are at high risk of tar exposure because they inhale deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers. However, it’s challenging to quantify the long-term health effects of crossfading as there’s limited marijuana research.8

How to Come Down from a Cross-Fade

When you feel like you’re crossfaded, the most important thing to do is ensure you’re somewhere safe. Here are a few things that may help you manage the effects of a cross-fade:

  • Don’t drive: Take a ride from a friend, rideshare, or taxi somewhere you can stay until the crossfade passes
  • Take deep breaths: Crossfading may lead to anxiety and paranoia, so try to stay calm and understand that it will pass
  • Drink water and eat: It's important to stay hydrated and fed if your stomach can handle it
  • Try to get some sleep: A good night's rest can be an effective remedy for crossfading

See medical attention if you or someone else shows severe or prolonged signs or symptoms of crossfading. It is important to understand that the substances won’t metabolize from your body any quicker by vomiting, drinking coffee, or taking a cold shower.

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Updated on February 14, 2024
8 sources cited
Updated on February 14, 2024
  1. Women and Alcohol, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021.
  2. Marijuana and Lung Health, American Lung Association, 2020.
  3. Linden-Carmichael et al. “Simultaneous Use of Alcohol and Marijuana: Patterns and Individual Differences.” Substance Use & Misuse, 2019.
  4. Marijuana, Mayo Clinic, 2020.
  5. Patrick, M. and Lee C. “Cross-faded: Young Adults' Language of Being Simultaneously Drunk and High.” Cannabis (Research Society on Marijuana), 2019.
  6. Patrick et al. “Cross-fading motives for simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use: Associations with young adults' use and consequences across days.” Drug and alcohol dependence, 2020.
  7. Volkow et al. “Adverse health effects of marijuana use.” The New England Journal of Medicine, 2014.
  8. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda. "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research."Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US), 2017.

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