Alcohol helps to detox THC by improving its metabolization by the CYP3A4 enzyme. It is one of the steps of the THC detoxification process.
That’s why some people think that it can help to detox from marijuana. But the detoxification process is complex, and improving the action of 1 enzyme is not enough to speed it.
Alcohol slows the body fat breakdown, and that makes its ability to induce CYP3A4 useless.
We’ll explain how exactly alcohol affects THC detox and why you should not use it.
How can we speed up marijuana detoxification?
To put it simply, there are three ways to improve natural marijuana detoxification:
- improving body fat breakdown because THC is “stored” in body fat cells
- improving marijuana metabolism in the liver
- blocking reabsorption during excretion
If you need a detailed explanation of how our body processes marijuana, you can read it here: The Ultimate Guide to Marijuana Metabolism.
Let’s explain how alcohol affects each of the phases of THC detox.
Alcohol and marijuana metabolism in the liver
The liver uses CYP450 enzymes to metabolize THC. CYP450 is a group of enzymes responsible for the metabolism of drugs.
THC is mainly processed by CYP2C9, CYP3A4, CYP2C19 enzymes. So we need to understand how alcohol affects these enzymes.
One research with 16 participants showed that alcohol intake has no clinically significant effect on these enzymes.
Another research showed that alcohol inhibits(slows) the metabolism by CYP2C9. This means that it is bad for marijuana detox because detoxification will be slower.
The following 2 studies show how alcohol helps to detox THC:
The third study showed that alcohol increase the activity(induced) of the CYP3A4 enzyme both in vitro and in vivo.
And the last study also confirmed that moderate alcohol consumption might cause CYP3A4 induction.
According to the last two studies, we can conclude that alcohol can speed up THC metabolism.
We can ignore the inhibition of the CYP2C9 enzyme because most THC is metabolized by CYP3A4 and excreted with feces.
But there’s a catch.
Alcohol and fat breakdown
THC and some of its metabolites are highly lipid-soluble. They are stored in the fat cells of our body and slowly released into the blood.
So to speed up THC detoxification, we need to increase the breakdown of fat cells. And alcohol has several effects that are exactly the opposite.
First of all, alcohol is used as a primary source of fuel. When we consume it, our body uses it as a fuel source instead of using glycogen and lipids from body fat.
When your body uses alcohol as a primary energy source, the excess glucose and lipids end up, unfortunately for us, as adipose tissue or fat.
Other proven effects of alcohol are that it negatively affects your sleep and makes you hungry.
All these effects remove the effect of inducing the CYP3A4 enzyme. Ou body will not release THC from the fat cells, and you still will be intoxicated.
While there’s no exact evidence that alcohol will slow fat breakdown, we don’t recommend it.
Alcohol can speed up phase 1 of marijuana metabolism, but other effects will slow the detoxification from marijuana.
Alcohol have many side effects for the health. There are other safe and effective ways to detox from marijuana: THC Detox Guide. How To Get Weed Out Of Your System