Does Legalized Marijuana Lower Alcohol Use?
The use of marijuana continues to rise as it is legalized in many states. The drug is legal for recreational use in four states and medical use in 23 states. As the use of the drug becomes more common, many researchers are curious to see if it will affect use of other substances, like alcohol. A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research focuses on if the legalization of marijuana affects alcohol use in users.
The researchers hoped to find whether the use of marijuana would replace the use of alcohol consumption or if the two substances would be used as complements. To do so, they analyzed over 750 other studies on marijuana and alcohol use, specifically those that focused on the link between the two substances. The findings varied depending on states and demographics. Some studies showed that states with legal marijuana had more emergency room visits relating to marijuana than alcohol, but others showed that states with legal marijuana had higher alcohol related deaths. Furthermore, the use of marijuana in some states led to more binge drinking and simultaneous use of the drugs.
Overall, the findings were contrasting. It was found that marijuana and alcohol were used both together and as substitutes for one another. The researchers say that further study on this specific topic is needed to get a more straightforward answer.