Cross-faded: What is Getting Crossed?

Among young people, the term “cross-faded” is synonymous with having fun. However, the term indeed talks about overlapping drug effects, particularly of combining alcohol and marijuana. As young adults experiment with combining these substances, they get high and drunk at the same time. The practice can be dangerous and a potential indicator of an underlying substance use disorder.

What Does Cross-faded Mean?

Getting crossed is the action of achieving a cross-faded high, which happens when someone is both drunk and high. It happens when people smoke marijuana after being drunk, or vice versa. However, either order can still cause the same effects. 

As we know, the use of alcohol or marijuana is widespread in the United States. About 82% of young adults report alcohol use, while 32% have used marijuana in the past year. Of those, the majority report use of marijuana and alcohol simultaneously. 

How Does It Feel to be High and Drunk at the Same Time?

Each person will have a different reaction to being cross-faded. Some people will have the ultimate euphoria experience with relaxed and goofy moods characterized by a care-free response. 

However, when the THC in the marijuana and alcohol have adverse reactions, symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attack

Why Does It Happen

While marijuana is becoming legal in many states, it remains illegal at a federal level. Unfortunately, this means the practice of combining marijuana and alcohol remains understudied. However, one small 2015 study by Scientific American reported that people who enjoy both marijuana and drink alcohol are twice as likely to use them together than using them alone. 

In short, alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system and impacts motor skills. Then, marijuana’s THC affects the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and causes cognitive effects. At their core, they’re very different drugs. 

People who drink before consuming marijuana find themselves higher faster than just smoking or drinking alone. This is because alcohol affects how the blood vessels absorb THC, speeding the process. While not lethal, the combination leads to riskier behavior that’s often the cause of injuries and accidents. 

How Long Does It Last

How long someone feels cross-faded will vary tremendously. The amount of each substance in the body plays a critical role. In the most extreme cases, there’s a risk of “greening out,” which happens when people experience adverse psychological symptoms like paranoia. 

An average marijuana high reaches its peak around 10 minutes after consumption. The high can last anywhere between 1 to 3 hours, but some effects can linger for even longer. As far as alcohol, it depends on the type of alcohol consumed. On average, most people eliminate 1 drink per hour, which means it can take the body 1 to 2 hours to metabolize the alcohol consumed within that hour. 

How Common is a Cross-faded High?

While understudies, there’s one study that analyzed the frequency in which young adults were getting crossed. According to the study’s results, over 87% of participants had heard of the term “cross-faded.” Most participants also know that getting crossed isn’t an enjoyable practice. Almost 60% said that being cross-faded was not desired. In fact, nearly 78.1% said it was either moderately or very risky. 

More frequent users of alcohol or marijuana were more likely to be cross-faded and label getting cross as more desirable or less risky. However, more research and more extensive studies are needed to better understand how common this potentially dangerous practice is.

How to Manage Getting Crossed?

Obviously, the best way to prevent getting crossed is to avoid drinking and smoking marijuana simultaneously. However, when someone practices getting crossed and experiencing a “bad trip,” it’s important to seek help immediately. 

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Alcohol dehydrates the body, so drinking plenty of water can help lessen the effects of alcohol. It’s recommended to drink at least one glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. 

2. Cool Off

One of the adverse effects of getting crossed is overheating. It’s widespread for people to feel exhausted and twitchy. Finding a cool place to chill and relax for a minute can help you manage the effects better and help the substances get out of your body easier. 

3. Ask for Support

Don’t forget that a cross-faded high can lead to anxiety and paranoia, and dizziness, ask for a friend to watch over you. Asking for support is critical to prevent you from attempting anything potentially risky such as driving, walking on the streets, or trying to harm yourself or others. 

Do You Need Help? 

Both marijuana and alcohol are prevalent drugs of choice among young adults. While marijuana might have medicinal properties for some people, and many states continue to legalize it, marijuana is also addictive. If you or someone you know is regularly getting crossed, this might be an indicator of addiction. Consider speaking to an addiction specialist to discuss your current use of marijuana and alcohol to rule out a substance use disorder. If you believe your substance use is affecting your lifestyle in any way, please seek help. 


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