What is Cross Faded

Estimated reading time: 28 minute(s)

As the world continues to find newer ways of experimenting with recreational drugs, more and more terminologies are being introduced. Cross faded is one such term used as high and drunk slang. In other words, it describes a condition triggered by the simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana. While the condition may sound fun to most recreational users, mixing the substances can be harmful, mainly because of their significant side effects. If you are thinking of trying cross-fading, it is better to do some research and understand what it is cross faded and how it can affect your health.

What is Cross Faded? The Risk of Magnified Effects

The intoxicating feelings resulting from the mixing of alcohol and marijuana as a part of cross-fading can be hazardous and come with severe consequences. [1] Note that when used alone, both products lead to entirely different effects, as mentioned below:

Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant that slows down the motor skills of a person

Marijuana is a mood-altering psychoactive substance that chiefly affects cognition

Combining these products can cause unpleasant, unpredictable, and possibly dangerous side effects. Some of these side effects include the following:

Greening Out

Even though it is nearly impossible to experience a cannabis overdose, the substance can make a user extremely sick due to a “temporary” overdose. Known as a greenout, this phenomenon happens when the cannabinoid receptors in the brain get overstimulated chronically due to high levels of THC. Consequently, a user may experience multiple side effects, which may include the following:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Loss of coordination
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased verbal ability
  • Chills and shakiness
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Upset stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or a feeling as if the room is spinning

The possibility of greening out due to crossfading is exceptionally high when a person consumes alcohol before smoking cannabis. In most people, the combined effects of using both substances magnify, sometimes to the extent that it leaves them incapacitated. Both alcohol and cannabis use can trigger orthostatic hypotension, a condition where the blood pressure drops as someone abruptly sits up or stands. This orthostatic hypotension occurs as the blood vessels dilate due to alcohol and THC absorption in the body. This vasodilation decreases the amount of blood flow to the brain and causes fainting. The fainting spells can occur unpredictably with no prior warning. Hence, many people crossfading via a greenout constantly have to lie down to avoid falls.

Asphyxiation on Vomitus

There are various mechanisms through which alcohol induces vomiting. This is why it is so common to see people vomiting frequently after drinking heavily. Marijuana, on the other hand, is an antiemetic, which means that it stops the body from throwing up. Considering that nausea is one of the typical cross faded symptoms, excessive consumption of alcohol and marijuana can make a person feel seriously ill. Moreover, they cannot vomit and throw out the toxins, making them sick and leading to prolonged dizziness, sickness, and nausea.

Apart from these sick feelings, crossfading can also put a person at risk of asphyxiating, i.e., a condition where a person tries to throw up but cannot do it under intoxication. In the case of cross-fading, marijuana blocks their gag reflex, making them choke on their vomit. The phenomenon has been a cause of death for many well-known personalities, such as Kevin Lloyd, John Bonham, Jimi Hendrix, and Ryan Knight.

Even if asphyxiation does not lead to immediate death, it can still be dangerous in many ways. Especially in people who vomit incompletely, the acidic contents may be inhaled to reach the stomach, where they cause corrosive damage. Consequently, an infection may develop, soon progressing to form a fatal type of pneumonia.

Psychological Side Effects

Following are some of the cross faded symptoms in terms of psychological health:

  • Anxiety: Alcohol and marijuana both have been linked to an increased anxiety level along with frequent panic attacks
  • Paranoia: Studies have confirmed that a person under the influence of cannabis is much more likely to experience paranoia than an average person who hasn’t consumed any drugs
  • Psychosis: People who use marijuana are up to 40 percent more likely to experience psychosis. Moreover, the symptoms of psychosis in frequent marijuana users are up to 200 percent more intense than non-users.

When alcohol is added to the picture mentioned above, the probability of side effects becomes much higher.

Cross-Faded Over-Intoxication: What is it About?

Many experts have raised concerns about the possibility of intoxication using marijuana and alcohol together. Because alcohol shuts down the threat-detecting brain circuits, their bodies cannot differentiate between a threatening and non-threatening stimulus. Excessive drinking, in particular, can also affect a person’s decision-making skills and executive cognitive functioning. It may make them:

  • Disinhibited
  • More likely to engage in harmful activities and behaviors
  • Less likely to prevent a dangerous situation
  • Short-sighted to possible consequences of their actions
  • Compulsive
  • Unable to delay gratification
  • More impulsive

Similar to drinking, chronic use of cannabis can also cause impairments in executive functioning, especially in the following areas:

  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Decision making
  • Problem-solving
  • Emotional regulation
  • Disinhibition
  • Memory and learning
  • Attention
  • Psychomotor speed
  • Verbal fluency
  • Processing speed
  • Impulsivity

The effects of alcohol and marijuana alone are severe, and their combination can worsen them. A study has indicated that regardless of the amount, any alcohol taken with marijuana can raise the blood THC levels in the body. As the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, the increased THC levels cause a stronger and faster high in a user. Such a significant level of impairment in a person can force them to participate in one or more of the following risky behaviors:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Being unaware of dangerous surroundings
  • Irresponsible gambling
  • Unprotected/unsafe sex

However, remember that the relationship between alcohol and cannabis may depend on several factors, such as the type of cannabis being used and the motive for use. [2]

Crossfading and Cross-Addiction: Is There a Link?

Experts have been investigating crossfading for some time. Because it is a relatively newer term, not much information is available about it. However, studies indicate that cannabis or marijuana use increases a person’s vulnerability to acquiring an alcohol use disorder. This association can even exist in people without any history of using either of the substances.

According to the results of this study: [3]

  • 23% of the users who used marijuana in both instances progressed to develop an alcohol use disorder
  • In comparison, people who did not use marijuana but still developed alcohol use disorder made up only 5 percent
  • Alcoholic participants who did not use marijuana had a higher chance of recovery than those using both substances together

The research mentioned above not only predicted the likelihood of developing a cross-addiction due to crossfading but also indicated that the co-existence of both types of abuse can also negatively affect recovery.

How to Stop Being Cross Faded? Tips to Come Down Safely

People undergoing cross faded effects must prioritize their safety by ensuring they reach a safe place. Next, the following tips can help them ensure that they safely get off this drug:

Avoid Driving

Avoid driving yourself while you are still experiencing a cross faded hangover. Ask a friend for a ride, call a taxi, or go for a ride-share. Remember that cross-fading can significantly mess with your senses and make performing high-precision tasks like driving challenging.

Take Deep Breaths

Anxiety and paranoia are the most common cross faded symptoms that can disturb anyone. To avoid them or keep them under control, try deep breathing to relax the mind and body.

Eat and Drink Properly

No matter how nauseous or sick cross-fading makes you, it is essential to eat and drink and keep the body hydrated to recover from the hangover side effects effectively.

Get Adequate Sleep

Remember that your body needs adequate hours of peaceful sleep to recover from the crossfading effects fully. Hence, ensure that you get at least eight hours of sleep.

Seek urgent medical attention if you continue experiencing prolonged symptoms of crossfading or if the symptoms worsen. Remember that drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or vomiting is unlikely to reduce the symptoms.


How does cross-fading affect driving?

Current research suggests that drinking under the influence of alcohol is much worse than drinking after consuming marijuana, and the latter is worse than driving in a sober state. People driving while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana simultaneously are at a significantly higher risk of getting into a crash. This increased risk is due to the potential of cannabis to affect a person’s visual processing negatively. It can reduce the retinal response by up to 11 percent while decreasing peripheral vision. Drinking while smoking marijuana seriously magnifies the latter’s effects; hence, the risks while driving automatically magnify. The risk of getting involved in a fatal accident while experiencing cross fading effects is up to eight times higher.

Why do people try cross fading?

Crossfading remains a desirable habit, particularly for the younger population, because it leads to intense side effects. Drinking alcohol, followed by smoking cannabis, causes the THC concentration in the blood to rise significantly, leading to a more substantial euphoric effect. In other cases, people may start cross fading after being pressured into it by their peers. Lastly, some people may combine both substances to overcome negative feelings and thoughts. Regardless of the reason that compels someone to try alcohol and cannabis together, the habit can be difficult and potentially fatal for life.


[1] Patrick ME, Lee CM. Cross-faded: Young adults’ language of being simultaneously drunk and high. Cannabis (Research Society on Marijuana). 2018;1(2):60.

[2] Karoly HC, Mueller RL, Andrade CC, Hutchison KE. Investigating relationships between alcohol and cannabis use in an online survey of cannabis users: A focus on cannabinoid content and cannabis for medical purposes. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2020 Dec 21;11:613243.

[3] Weinberger AH, Platt J, Goodwin RD. Is cannabis use associated with an increased risk of onset and persistence of alcohol use disorders? A three-year prospective study among adults in the United States. Drug and alcohol dependence. 2016 Apr 1;161:363-7.

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