Is Drinking Absinthe Dangerous?

Is Drinking Absinthe Dangerous?

Absinthe is an herbal liquor that consists of anise, fennel, and wormwood. On top of this basic recipe, some versions of absinthe add other herbs and flowers.

Absinthe has a green color (derived from the chlorophyll of the wormwood leaves) and was thus known as the “Green Fairy” when it was popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century in France. Absinthe’s former reputation was that it could cause convulsions and hallucinations because of some of the chemicals found in these plant-based products. Of particular concern is thujone, which is a component in wormwood. Thujone in high doses can be toxic and is known to block gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which can cause convulsions if you ingest enough of it.

However, analysis of absinthe shows that by the end of the distillation process, there is very little thujone left in the product and there is not enough thujone to hurt you.

Dangers of Absinthe

Historically, absinthe was thought to be a dangerous, addictive, psychoactive drug that could cause delirium, epileptic attacks, vertigo, hallucinations, and insanity. However, modern analysis of absinthe estimates that a person drinking absinthe would die from alcoholism, alcohol poisoning, or drinking unregulated absinthe which may contain other additives rather than from any effects of the thujone.

Is Absinthe Legal?

Absinthe is now legal in every country in which alcohol is legal. In fact, in 2007, the United States lifted its 100-year-long ban, provided that the absinthe is free of thujone.

About Alcoholism

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol addiction (alcoholism) is a progressive debilitating disease that has symptoms including the following:

  • Craving – A strong and continuing compulsion or need to drink
  • Tolerance – The need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol in order to “feel the buzz” or to “get high”
  • Physical dependence – Withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking after a period of excessive drinking. Such symptoms include: anxiety, sweating, nausea, and “the shakes”
  • Loss of control – The inability to limit one’s drinking over time or on any given occasion

When a person becomes an alcoholic, the consistent, ongoing use of alcohol puts them at risk for a variety of problems including the following:

  • Certain cancers, such as cancer of the liver, rectum, colon, larynx, esophagus, and the kidneys
  • Immune system obstructions
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Brain damage
  • Increased incidence of death from motor vehicle accidents, work-related and recreational accidents and injuries, and homicides and suicides

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

A person who consistently drinks alcohol for an extended period of time is heading towards an addiction. Should a person attempt to discontinue using alcohol, it is likely that they may experience withdrawal symptoms that can include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions

However, if a person continues to abuse alcohol, there is a strong possibility of damage to the brain and liver. Typically, excessive drinking is associated with poor nutrition which negatively impacts a person’s entire physical state.

Get Help for Alcohol Abuse

If you or someone you know is abusing a substance, call our toll free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about substance abuse treatment. We are here to help.