Legal use of cannabis and alcohol: Does it make people drink less?

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Mixing alcohol with cannabis is a bad idea if you drive, but whether both parties go well at a party is a matter of personal taste.

Many people have predicted that legalization will make a hole in alcohol sales, and the alcohol industry often works behind the scenes to undermine legalization efforts. The first aerial surveillance campaign to arrest marijuana producers was funded by Coors beer and grew into a major producer of money for drug warriors.

However, many adults like the effects of combining cannabis with beer and other alcoholic beverages in social settings, and some companies produce alcoholic beverages soaked in cannabis.

Consumption costs are considered inconsistent

This confusing link explains why trends in alcohol sales have been incompatible since the passage of state laws to legalize marijuana, according to data published in Journal of Cannabis Research.

A couple of researchers from the University of Minnesota assessed trends in the purchase of household alcohol in three legal marijuana states (Colorado, Oregon and Washington) compared to the control states.

In two of these states – Colorado and Oregon – purchased alcohol is declining compared to those in the control states. In the state of Washington, sales of alcoholic beverages increased compared to the control states. A key variable in the relevant state laws is that both countries, where alcohol sales have declined, allow home cultivation of cannabis, while Washington does not.

“Does not explicitly replace or supplement”

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“The results show that alcohol and cannabis are not clearly substitutes or complement each other,” the authors conclude.

“Alcohol can replace or supplement cannabis depending on the characteristics of the subgroup, including any history of substance abuse or age,” they added. “… As cannabis becomes legalized and more widely available in the United States, there is a greater need to understand all the unintended consequences that these policy changes may have on alcohol-related harm and public health issues. in a broader sense. “

Other studies tend to favor a reduction in alcohol use when there is legal cannabis.

Many other studies are trying to decide whether cannabis and alcohol are more likely to act as substitutes or supplements, according to the National Marijuana Law Reform Organization (NORML). A review of the relevant literature in 2020 identified 30 studies that found that cannabis acted as a substitute for alcohol, and 17 studies that found that the two substances acted as complements. The authors of the study conclude: “We have identified stronger support for substitution than complementarity, although the evidence shows different effects in different populations and to some extent in different research designs.

The data was recently published in January in the journal Addictive reported that heavy drinkers significantly reduced alcohol intake on days when they used cannabis. Drivers affected by cannabis have been found to be safer drivers as long as they do not drink alcohol in the same way. Cannabis is significantly less commonly abused than alcohol. The combination of alcohol and cannabis can sometimes cause a drop in blood pressure and cause people to faint.

There is also some evidence that the use of a non-psychotropic cannabis extract cannabidiol or CBD may also reduce alcohol use, and other evidence suggests that marijuana use may be used to intentionally limit alcohol use and prevent alcoholism.

Marijuana and hemp cigarettes are also used to deter people from consuming tobacco.


The full text of the study “Legalizing Cannabis for Recreation and the Purchase of Alcohol: An Analysis of the Difference in Difference” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

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