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Updated on July 22, 2022

Cross Faded - Drunk and Stoned

What is Cross Fading?

When someone is crossfading, they experience overlapping effects from being drunk and high. This is otherwise known as a crossfade.

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.

Why Do People Get Cross Faded?

Crossfading is sometimes desirable to young adults. This is because drinking alcohol before smoking cannabis increases the absorption of THC, intensifying the drug’s 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.

Young adults may also feel peer-pressured to cross fade, too. Or they may have developed an addiction to both marijuana and alcohol.

Cannabis affects people differently. Cross fading is comfortably tolerated by some, while others have negative experiences.

Dangers & Effects of Crossfading

Symptoms of using marijuana include: 

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

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)

Drinking before using weed can intensify marijuana’s effects, resulting in a stronger high.

Symptoms of crossfading include: 

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

The Dangers of Vomiting While Crossfading

People who use cannabis and alcohol together may experience uncomfortable feelings and physical issues.

Marijuana can have an antiemetic effect, leading to an inability to vomit. Because of this, people who drink alcohol and take cannabis may consume large amounts of alcohol without realizing its impact on the body.

For many, drinking too much alcohol leads to vomiting. This can be a sign you’ve consumed too much ethanol.

As cannabis can prevent vomiting, people can become more susceptible to alcohol poisoning or blackouts. This is because of the high toxicity levels of alcohol in the body.4

The Psychological Side Effects of Crossfading

Many people who experience a bad crossfading trip (or episode) 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.

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Risks of Getting High and Drunk at the Same Time

People who use both cannabis and drink alcohol may do so at the same time. The use of both substances is also linked with drinking a larger amount of alcohol more often.

Compared to only drinking alcohol, using the two substances simultaneously doubles the odds of:

  • Drunk driving
  • Social consequences
  • Harming yourself

People who used alcohol and cannabis were more likely to drive unsafely than those who took the substances separately. Studies found that they were also more likely to take the substances at a bar or party. As a result, they’d be more likely to drive somewhere afterward.7

Those who felt the following were also more likely to use both substances simultaneously:

  • Stressed
  • Angry
  • Tired
  • Out of control

Using drugs and alcohol to cope with negative feelings can signify a substance or alcohol use disorder.

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 is also linked to:

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

Excessive marijuana use also comes with problems, including 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

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. 

Don’t get behind the wheel. Take a ride from a friend, rideshare, or taxi somewhere you can stay until the crossfade passes.

Once you’re safe, 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 something if your stomach can handle it. Try to get some sleep, as a good night's rest can be an effective remedy for crossfading.

If you or someone else shows severe or prolonged signs or symptoms of crossfading, seek medical attention.

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.

Summary

  • ​​Crossfading is when someone experiences overlapping effects from being drunk and high
  • People tend to crossfade because drinking alcohol before smoking cannabis increases the absorption of THC, heightening the drug’s effects
  • Crossfading has many psychological and physical dangers, including a heightened risk of drunk driving and increased anxiety and paranoia
  • Other risks include long-term health issues, like developing a substance use disorder and liver damage
  • One way to recover from a crossfade is by drinking plenty of water, eating, and resting
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Resources

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  1. Women and Alcohol, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, April 2021
  2. Marijuana and Lung Health, American Lung Association, December 2020
  3. Linden-Carmichael, Ashley N et al. “Simultaneous Use of Alcohol and Marijuana: Patterns and Individual Differences.” Substance use & misuse vol. 54,13 : 2156-2166
  4. Marijuana, Mayo Clinic, November 2020
  5. Patrick, Megan E, and Christine M Lee. “Cross-faded: Young Adults' Language of Being Simultaneously Drunk and High.” Cannabis (Research Society on Marijuana) vol. 1,2 : 60-65
  6. Patrick, Megan E et al. “Cross-fading motives for simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use: Associations with young adults' use and consequences across days.” Drug and alcohol dependence, vol. 213 108077. 24 May. 2020
  7. Volkow, Nora D et al. “Adverse health effects of marijuana use.” The New England journal of medicine vol. 370,23, 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 Jan 12. 15, Challenges and Barriers in Conducting Cannabis Research

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