Wine and cannabis have been enjoyed by people around the world for thousands of years, even in periods when both were illegal — both still are in some countries.
Both are used to relax at the end of the day, to take the edge off, as a social experience, and both have complex smells and flavors that make them ripe for pairing with food — and each other.
Similarities Between Wine & Marijuana
Though alcohol and cannabis affect us in different ways, they both alter our perceptions and are considered psychoactives. The high from cannabis results from its interaction with the human body’s endocannabinoid system. Alcohol enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the brain, which slows us down and causes us to feel drunk.
Both are also biphasic in the way they affect us, meaning a small dose can have a different effect than a larger one. With both alcohol and cannabis, having a little can make us feel great. But imbibe too much in either, and you will wind up feeling terrible.
While feeling high and feeling drunk are admittedly different experiences, they can have some overlap in symptoms, such as feelings of relaxation, euphoria, reduction in pain, and sleepiness.
Both alcohol and cannabis are used by some to self-medicate physical and mental pain, from a sore back to anxiety and depression. As a result, both substances can be addictive. Studies suggest that one in eight drinkers are alcoholics, whereas fewer than one in 10 cannabis users develop a use disorder.
On the plus side, both cannabis and wine (red more than white) have been found to contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. This means ending the day with a glass of red and a few puffs of marijuana could even have some positive effects like preventing Alzheimer’s disease. There is a widespread belief that drinking red wine is good for the heart, but the truth is, no research exists that has proven a cause-and-effect link between alcohol and better heart health, unfortunately.
Just don’t overdo it, because alcohol and cannabis can both cause hangovers the next day. Alcohol’s hangovers are more intense and more dangerous, however, with symptoms including headaches, dehydration, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, while a cannabis hangover is generally just a feeling of fatigue and brain fog.
How Wine & Cannabis Differ
Wine, like all alcoholic beverages, is classified as a depressant — meaning it slows brain and motor function.
Cannabis, on the other hand, cannot be classified into a single category. It can actually act as a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen, depending on the strain, dose and the individual consuming it, as cannabis affects different people in different ways.
Chronic users of alcohol are at risk of developing brain damage, liver disease, heart problems, and a long list of possible cancers. Alcohol can kill you in a number of ways, including overdosing from alcohol poisoning. There can be long-term negative side-effects of cannabis use, but nobody’s ever died from consuming too much cannabis.
Types of Wine & Cannabis Strains
Connoisseurs of wine and cannabis alike are sure to have their favorite preferred types, whether it’s pinot noir or purple haze.
Wine and marijuana weed both have incredibly complex and diverse flavors, tannins, and aromas, depending on the type of strain or variety of grape, and even where the plants were grown. Both substances are full of different phytochemicals such as terpenes and flavonoids that produce various smells and tastes. Which phytochemicals are present and their ratios will largely influence the overall sensory impact of the wine or cannabis.
Wine will look and taste dramatically different if it’s a white, red, or a blend, whether it was made in France or California or somewhere else in the world, and how it is treated during the fermentation process.
Just as there are hundreds of different kinds of wine, there are also thousands of different kinds of cannabis strains. Each strain has its own unique chemical profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals that work together to create its unique flavor, smell, look, and effects. Its flavors and effects can also become altered depending how it is cured and whether it is processed into oil, hash, tincture, or stays as dried flower buds.
Combining Wine & Cannabis
Considering both substances have such complex depth and variety in terms of flavor, combining marijuana and wine is becoming an increasingly popular choice. In addition to increasingly popular marijuana and food pairings, wine and weed pairing events have been popping up all over in places where cannabis is legal.
When paired together, different combinations can either accentuate existing flavors — for example, pairing a citrusy chardonnay with Lemon Kush — or they may complement each other in a unique way. Pairing a bold dry merlot with a puff of sweet and tangy Orange Kush will lighten the heaviness of the wine and could even make it taste a bit like a fruity sangria.
The pairing possibilities truly are endless, so get creative and experiment. There are no hard and fast rules to pairing wine and marijuana — as long as you enjoy it, then it’s a good pairing!
Just remember to start slow and don’t overdo it, as there is an increased risk of becoming nauseous or getting the spins when you combine alcohol and cannabis. Some researchers are looking into whether alcohol increases the absorption of cannabis’s main psychoactive ingredient, THC.
As long as you remember to consume in moderation, combining wine and marijuana can be a highly enjoyable experience.