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Qualitative effects of different alcohol and cannabis


Prometheus
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It is said different types of alcoholic drink can have different effects on people. Some making for happy drunks while others making for aggressive drunks. But all the alcohol we drink is the same ethanol isn't it? So how is it possible that the same drug has different qualitative effects? Or is it just an urban myth?

Similarly the effects of cannabis are said to be different when it is smoked or eaten. I'm aware that there are at least two active and competitive substances in cannabis that produce the psychoactive effect. I can imagine that the mode of delivery could change the ratios of these substances in the blood stream thus influencing the qualitative experience. But does anyone know if that is actually the case?

There is plenty online about these topics, but it looks very subjective.

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I believe the strain of cannibas is much more important than delivery method, though when ingested the effect can be much more lasting and intense (smoke too much and you just pass out and can't smoke any more... eat too much and it keeps working until it's fully metabolized or vomited out).

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There are 483 different chemicals which have been identified in a cannabis plant, 85 of which are cannabinoids. The effect of smoking or ingesting cannabis varies hugely, depending on the variety of plant, the time it was harvested and the quality of the particular bud used on any occasion. The variables are so numerous it is difficult to make a general statement, but as far as I know (which is not very far) there is no proven difference in effect between smoking and eating.

 

Edit: I've re-read the OP, and comment that the effect of alcohol on me varies noticeably: the sensation is clearly different if I drink wine or beer.

Edited by DrKrettin
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1 minute ago, iNow said:

I'm not an expert, but believe so, yes. The primary two are indica and sativa.

Yes, but there are so many hybrids of the two that this distinction is not very useful for identifying effects. Originally, there was sativa (Latin = cultivated) until it was decided that indica was to be recognised as a separate type. 

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Potency has to be a factor, but is there any data to suggest that any single category of alcoholic beverage reacts consistently across the population? IOW, are the happy drunks mostly drinking wine or beer, while the aggressive drunks mostly drink the hard stuff? To feather further, are the morose drunks drinking vodka, the gabby drunks drinking gin, and the ones who won't remember any of this tomorrow drinking scotch?

I suspect the difference with cannabis is harder to pinpoint, since the effects are skewed by the delivery method. Inhalation and ingestion must have differing side effects, whereas the alcohol in any form is always ingested. Also, inhalation by vaping is said to be different (better?) than inhalation of the directly burnt plant. There seems to be a qualitative factor at work here.

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3 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

 IOW, are the happy drunks mostly drinking wine or beer, while the aggressive drunks mostly drink the hard stuff? To feather further, are the morose drunks drinking vodka, the gabby drunks drinking gin, and the ones who won't remember any of this tomorrow drinking scotch?

I suspect the difference with cannabis is harder to pinpoint, since the effects are skewed by the delivery method. Inhalation and ingestion must have differing side effects, whereas the alcohol in any form is always ingested. Also, inhalation by vaping is said to be different (better?) than inhalation of the directly burnt plant. There seems to be a qualitative factor at work here.

As anecdotal evidence, I submit that my father was a happy drunk except when he drank white wine, when he became irrationally aggressive. But I suspect that drunks are usually of one type, and the behaviour does not change with type of alcohol. When you say that alcohol is always ingested, I heard recently of the weirdest fad of pouring vodka into the eyeballs. Does that count?

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1 minute ago, DrKrettin said:

As anecdotal evidence, I submit that my father was a happy drunk except when he drank white wine, when he became irrationally aggressive. But I suspect that drunks are usually of one type, and the behaviour does not change with type of alcohol.

I suspect that's what a study would find, that people react individually to different recreational stimuli. I've known people who always seemed to have poor experiences with drinking, but did much better with cannabis as a recreational perception enhancement.

1 minute ago, DrKrettin said:

When you say that alcohol is always ingested, I heard recently of the weirdest fad of pouring vodka into the eyeballs. Does that count?

OMG, really? How insane. I could understand injection into the veins more than risking my eyesight. 

Next up: Flaming Eyeball Shots!

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1 hour ago, DrKrettin said:

There are 483 different chemicals which have been identified in a cannabis plant, 85 of which are cannabinoids. The effect of smoking or ingesting cannabis varies hugely, depending on the variety of plant, the time it was harvested and the quality of the particular bud used on any occasion. The variables are so numerous it is difficult to make a general statement, but as far as I know (which is not very far) there is no proven difference in effect between smoking and eating.

That many? With that many variables its easy to imagine that different experiences will manifest. But i have anecdotal evidence that the same cannabis delivered by different means has a very different effect from a few people, but no actual evidence.

 

1 hour ago, DrKrettin said:

Edit: I've re-read the OP, and comment that the effect of alcohol on me varies noticeably: the sensation is clearly different if I drink wine or beer.

Any evidence or theories why this might be the case? I never experienced it myself, but then i never did like wine. All i could tell was getting more drunk from the harder stuff.

 

1 hour ago, DrKrettin said:

When you say that alcohol is always ingested, I heard recently of the weirdest fad of pouring vodka into the eyeballs. 

Do they get a different kind of drunk? Any volunteers for the experiment? This will be a blinded study.

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I have smoked weed for 2 years straight forward everyday , then one day i quit . I used to sit behind my pc listening to new songs from last.fm .

Some ganja is weak , some are more strong . That is all i know about the potency

it is like when you inhale oxygen and hold it for a while , then your focus shifts on the sounds around you at the same time you start losing your average everyday grip you have like the seconds needle in a clock .

The seconds needle wont don't do the usual tick tock instead it floats .

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1 hour ago, Phi for All said:

IOW, are the happy drunks mostly drinking wine or beer, while the aggressive drunks mostly drink the hard stuff? To feather further, are the morose drunks drinking vodka, the gabby drunks drinking gin, and the ones who won't remember any of this tomorrow drinking scotch?

Beer was enough to put my family through three years of living hell because of my dad. 

Marijuana was enough to get a lot of girls at my school raped. But hell. Let's make it legal. It's the stuff the doctor recommends.

Alcohol is enough to kill at least 2 kids every year at my school.

 

 

Anyways, for the OP.

I think it depends on the person for how certain qualitative effects are brought out of them.  

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Indicas tend to be slower onset, more soporific and dreamy than sativas which generally act quicker, are more hallucinogenic and shorter acting. There's lots in between with cross-breeding but I think those are the general trends. Like with alcohol, the rate of ingestion and concentration are two very big factors determining the type of effects. 

40 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

That many? With that many variables its easy to imagine that different experiences will manifest. But i have anecdotal evidence that the same cannabis delivered by different means has a very different effect from a few people, but no actual evidence.

I think different ratios of psychoactive components are absorbed depending on method of delivery and also the rates of supply and absorption will be different.

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3 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

Beer was enough to put my family through three years of living hell because of my dad. 

Marijuana was enough to get a lot of girls at my school raped. But hell. Let's make it legal. It's the stuff the doctor recommends.

Alcohol is enough to kill at least 2 kids every year at my school.

Sorry, but your dad did that, with the help of beer.

Marijuana didn't rape your classmates, it was young men aided by impaired judgement.

The kids who died at your school made bad decisions with the help of alcohol, but it wasn't the alcohol that killed them. 

The fact remains, the qualitative effects of alcohol and cannabis are apparent. There are many more non-abusers than abusers. What we're trying to figure out is if there's any general qualities that apply. 

It occurs to me that added sugars in wines or mixed drinks may have an effect with alcohol. Also, the body must treat cannabis poisoning in a somewhat different way than it treats alcohol poisoning. The liver takes priority detoxing alcohol, but I don't know what the mechanism is for inhaling or ingesting cannabis.

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2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Sorry, but your dad did that, with the help of beer.

Marijuana didn't rape your classmates, it was young men aided by impaired judgement.

The kids who died at your school made bad decisions with the help of alcohol, but it wasn't the alcohol that killed them. 

The fact remains, the qualitative effects of alcohol and cannabis are apparent. There are many more non-abusers than abusers. What we're trying to figure out is if there's any general qualities that apply. 

It occurs to me that added sugars in wines or mixed drinks may have an effect with alcohol. Also, the body must treat cannabis poisoning in a somewhat different way than it treats alcohol poisoning. The liver takes priority detoxing alcohol, but I don't know what the mechanism is for inhaling or ingesting cannabis.

You know, I 100% agree with you on that.

But it was an attempt at sarcasm. I don't want to start a new thread, but if I used the same argument that "Guns don't kill people, it was bad people aided by power." it'd be shot down in a heart beat. Just saying. But it's off topic anyways.

 

It's highly possible the the sugar changed how the body digested the alcohol, and maybe it even diluted it a little. To an extent. Very little.

 

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AFAIK there is no evidence that the source of alcohol has any impact on the toxicity per se. However, beverages have different alcohol concentrations and there are slight differences in absorption efficiency which affect how fast you get drunk, but does not change the effect of it in itself. Depending on drinking behaviour some may actually overdose on lower concentrated beverages as they simply drink more than e.g. hard liquor. A similar argument is found for mixtures of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. In other words, it depends on how much alcohol you ingest and in which time frame which determines your behaviour but not the what you drink in itself.

 

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My College roommate, A Chemistry major, studied the metabolism aspects of alcohol.  He made the claim that different effects of different alcoholic beverages was due in large part to carbonation, which he said facilitated rapid transport of alcohol within the body.  I don't know the details, but he claimed that, because of this, mixed cocktails, carbonated wines and beer tended to make a person drunk faster than was the case with wine or straight vodka, whiskey, etc.

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12 hours ago, Prometheus said:

It is said different types of alcoholic drink can have different effects on people

Is there any evidence that this isn't purely psychosomatic?

Carbonation can affect the rate at which a given blood alcohol level is achieved, but is there real evidence for different drinks having different effects?

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13 hours ago, DrKrettin said:

As anecdotal evidence, I submit that my father was a happy drunk except when he drank white wine, when he became irrationally aggressive. But I suspect that drunks are usually of one type, and the behaviour does not change with type of alcohol.

Might it be that the choice of drink for some people is governed by how they are feeling at the time? In such a scenario your father would have been feeling annoyed by some generality on those occassions he chose to drink white wine. His aggression would be a reflection of how he had been feeling before drinking, with its expression made possible by the loosening effects of the alcohol. Any alcohol would have produced the same result, but other subconscious choices led to white wine when he was in that "mood".

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8 hours ago, CharonY said:

AFAIK there is no evidence that the source of alcohol has any impact on the toxicity per se. However, beverages have different alcohol concentrations and there are slight differences in absorption efficiency which affect how fast you get drunk, but does not change the effect of it in itself. Depending on drinking behaviour some may actually overdose on lower concentrated beverages as they simply drink more than e.g. hard liquor. A similar argument is found for mixtures of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. In other words, it depends on how much alcohol you ingest and in which time frame which determines your behaviour but not the what you drink in itself.

 

Well, I hear what you say, or rather I read what you write, but my own experience is that the effect of one glass of beer is quite different to the effect of one glass of wine. It just feels different in an undefinable way. I can't see how this has to do with the amount of alcohol or the rate of absorption, yet I can't think what other variables there might be. On the odd occasion when I have had an excess of either, the sensations merge into one unpleasant sensation of being drunk.

4 hours ago, OldChemE said:

My College roommate, A Chemistry major, studied the metabolism aspects of alcohol.  He made the claim that different effects of different alcoholic beverages was due in large part to carbonation, which he said facilitated rapid transport of alcohol within the body.  I don't know the details, but he claimed that, because of this, mixed cocktails, carbonated wines and beer tended to make a person drunk faster than was the case with wine or straight vodka, whiskey, etc.

As I understand it, the metabolism rate of alcohol is at a maximum when the alcohol content is about 45%, the amount you find in hard liquor. There was a time when I grew blackcurrants and made drinkable wine from it. It went sour quite quickly, so I then distilled neat alcohol from it (being very careful to avoid the methanol). Once or twice I tried drinking the stuff uncut, and found it had no effect at all, but didn't experiment too much because I understood it could be dangerous. I don't really understand why it should make a difference, because it must get mixed and diluted in the stomach anyway.

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7 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Is there any evidence that this isn't purely psychosomatic?

Carbonation can affect the rate at which a given blood alcohol level is achieved, but is there real evidence for different drinks having different effects?

You reminded me of another observed effect, switching drinks and getting sick. I've watched people drink shots of a single type of hard liquor (say Jack Daniels), and they only get tipsier the more they drink. But as soon as someone buys them a shot of something else (say tequila), they almost immediately feel sick and have to go worship at the porcelain altar. Psychosomatic, or physiological? If it's all alcohol and doesn't matter, wouldn't that mean it's all in their heads?

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6 hours ago, DrKrettin said:

Well, I hear what you say, or rather I read what you write, but my own experience is that the effect of one glass of beer is quite different to the effect of one glass of wine.

The absorption rate and efficiency is dependent on stomach content and alcohol concentration of the beverage. In beer, the additional components could also play a role. But in most studies you will find that a) absorption rate scales roughly with concentration (i.e. liquor >wine>beer) as well as peak blood alcohol levels. In addition, it depends on how much you drink of each. Beer would need roughly three times the volume as wine to get to the same concentration which a) requires more time to drink and b) as mentioned above leads to slower absorption rates.

 

58 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Psychosomatic, or physiological? If it's all alcohol and doesn't matter, wouldn't that mean it's all in their heads?

Depends. When they feel sick they are already heavily intoxicated. At that point triggers in smell and taste can lead to nausea. My guess is that that if clinging to one beverage they get used to its taste, so that it does not register as a poison. Effectively they use low dose poisoning which is likely to overcome the nausea response, which is a defense mechanism to ingestion of toxins. However when they switch, it may actually trigger the response as the body feels sick and associate it with the new taste.

 

11 hours ago, OldChemE said:

My College roommate, A Chemistry major, studied the metabolism aspects of alcohol.  He made the claim that different effects of different alcoholic beverages was due in large part to carbonation, which he said facilitated rapid transport of alcohol within the body.  I don't know the details, but he claimed that, because of this, mixed cocktails, carbonated wines and beer tended to make a person drunk faster than was the case with wine or straight vodka, whiskey, etc.

There is at least one study that looked into that and the absorption rate was a bit higher for carbonated drinks. However, IIRC the peak alcohol levels were the same, but slightly delayed.

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22 minutes ago, CharonY said:

The absorption rate and efficiency is dependent on stomach content and alcohol concentration of the beverage. In beer, the additional components could also play a role. But in most studies you will find that a) absorption rate scales roughly with concentration (i.e. liquor >wine>beer) as well as peak blood alcohol levels. In addition, it depends on how much you drink of each. Beer would need roughly three times the volume as wine to get to the same concentration which a) requires more time to drink and b) as mentioned above leads to slower absorption rates.

I don't dispute this, but it does not explain to me why the effect of a small amount of beer or wine is different. I don't think that a linear scale of the amount of alcohol and/or rate of absorption is the whole story. Some days I have a beer before the evening meal, and other days I have a glass of wine. I'm guessing that the volume of beer is about three times the volume of the glass of wine, so the alcohol intake is similar. The effect on my mind is different - I feel the effect of alcohol but in different ways. The sensation after a whisky is different too, but the circumstances are different.

I wonder whether other factors are in play - if it is hot and I'm thirsty, I tend towards a beer, so maybe I am dehydrated at that point. 

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