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What Does “Getting Cross Faded” Mean?

Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows that the two substances people are most likely to abuse are marijuana and alcohol.[1] Many people use alcohol or marijuana for the substances’ pleasurable effects. But what happens if you use alcohol and marijuana at the same time?

Drinking and using marijuana–or using two other substances– at the same time is known as “getting cross faded.” What are the effects of getting cross faded–and what are the risks?

This article will explore why people get cross faded and the risks of this habit. If you or someone you love need addiction treatment or support during recovery, reach out to the specialists at the Mandala Healing Center to explore your options.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Body?

Alcohol is among the most commonly-abused substances in the United States. Alcohol consumption is legal for adults 21 and older, making it widely accepted and available to most people.

Alcohol depresses the activity of your central nervous system (CNS). When you drink alcohol, your body and brain are affected in many ways. Some of these effects are temporary, and some can lead to immediate harm and long-term health risks.

Alcohol consumption can lead to:[2]

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Loss of judgment
  • Mood swings
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Lowered core body temperature

Many health experts agree that drinking moderately can be part of a generally healthy lifestyle, but alcohol use can lead to dependence, addiction, and other alcohol-related health problems. It’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with heavy drinking. 

The Risks of Heavy Drinking

Chronic alcohol abuse may impair a person’s physical and cognitive abilities. It can impair motor function, lead to severe–sometimes life-threatening–diseases, and cause serious financial, social, and legal problems.

But how much is too much? The CDC offers guidelines about moderate and heavy drinking. Drinking in moderation means:[3]

  • One or fewer drinks for women daily
  • Two or fewer drinks for men daily

A drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits like vodka, rum, and tequila
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor

Heavy drinking means exceeding the recommended drinking limits over the course of a week. For women, having eight or more alcoholic drinks in a week is heavy drinking. For men, it means exceeding 15 drinks in a week.

Drinking excessively can put people at risk of immediate harm from accidents, risky sexual behaviors, and dependence or addiction. Alcohol poisoning is a risk for people who drink too much at one time, allowing the alcohol content of the blood to become too high. Some of the potentially life-threatening effects of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Passing out
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Depressed breathing
  • Dangerously slow heart rate
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Low body temperature

These effects can result in permanent brain damage, coma, or death without immediate intervention. It’s crucial to recognize heavy or binge drinking and seek help to stop drinking.

How Does Marijuana Affect You?

Marijuana consumption is rising as more states legalize it for medical and recreational use. After alcohol, it is the second most commonly used drug in the United States and is growing in popularity.[4] People may smoke marijuana or consume edibles or beverages containing THC–the active ingredient in marijuana. 

Marijuana users experience various physical and psychological effects as THC travels to the brain. Immediately, users may experience a sense of relaxation or euphoria. 

Other effects of using marijuana include:[5]

  • Poor memory
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Heightened physical sensations
  • Impaired thinking and judgment
  • Reduced motor skills

While a fatal overdose is not likely, many people can get sick or experience adverse side effects from consuming too much THC. These include:

  • Intense anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Shaking 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of coordination

These effects are more likely to occur when someone mixes alcohol and marijuana–also known as getting cross faded. 

Why Do People Want to Get Cross Faded?

Drinking alcohol leads to many effects that can be pleasurable. People may experience reduced anxiety, more confidence or comfort in social situations, relief from emotional and physical pain, and more. Using marijuana while drinking can dial up the intensity of the effects of alcohol. 

When a person drinks and uses marijuana simultaneously, the level of THC in their bloodstream will be elevated compared to using marijuana alone. This is true regardless of the amount a person drinks.

When some people get cross faded, they experience an intense euphoria that can’t be achieved by just drinking or only using marijuana. They may also have other elevated effects, such as:

  • Feeling confident and sociable in a group
  • A sense of spiritual enlightenment
  • Decreased inhibitions

Getting cross faded can lead to more intense pleasurable effects, but it also comes with many risks, including decreased inhibitions, poor decision-making, memory loss, poor motor skills, and increased risks of accidents, injuries, or social embarrassment. 

Needing to mix substances to amplify their effects can be a sign that you are developing tolerance or that you’re self-medicating emotional or physical pain. It’s important to understand these risks and seek treatment for substance abuse when necessary. 

Find Help Now

Getting cross faded can be a sign that you need substance abuse treatment. Don’t take risks with your health and future. Help is just a phone call away. 

If you or someone you love need help to stop using drugs or alcohol, reach out to the caring specialists at the Mandala Healing Center to explore your treatment options or find support during recovery.