Can alcohol really effect individuals differently at higher elevations? What about THC in marijuana?
Alcohol yes, if you are not used to the elevation. Alcohol does lower blood oxygen saturation, which means that less oxygen is being carried to tissues throughout the body. High elevation does the same thing because there is less oxygen in the atmosphere. Drinking at high elevations would combine both of these effects. This would only occur within the first couple days of being at a higher elevation since the body will recognize that there is less oxygen available in the atmosphere and generate more red blood cells in order to compensate. People who live at high elevations will not be affected by this, but may have the opposite effect when going to lower elevations.
THC no, because its affects have nothing to do with the cardiovascular or respiratory system, beyond the actual smoking of it. The change in atmospheric pressure is not likely to have much of any effect on the absorption of THC in the lungs. if you are already out of breath due to low oxygen, you’ll feel more affected by any mind altering substances you consume.
That is to say, have you ever paid close attention to your vision and state of mind when you are low on oxygen (after physically exerting yourself, typically… although you can simulate the same by holding your breath as long as possible)? This is because blood gets ‘redirected’ towards the important organs. So your eyes, for example, get a bit less blood and visual artifacts become more noticeable.
What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below.