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Cannabis legalization and alcohol use has been more into the discussions. An increasing number of people are confronting the dilemma of heading to the cannabis lounge over grabbing a cocktail. The states have legalized medical marijuana consumption for its curative properties only, but how is this legalization affecting alcohol consumption?
Talking particularly about California, where both medical and recreational cannabis is legal, is it affecting the overall alcohol consumption of the state? Will drinking go down as people substitute marijuana for alcohol, or both complement each other?
With so many queries and doubts, it has been cleared by the state that it is legalized for medical purposes only. The state has understood the crucial role of cannabis in treating several health conditions, so the state has legalized it. With this legalization, the state has also imposed the necessity to obtain the medical recommendation for treating a debilitating health condition that will benefit in some manner.
Though the research is ongoing on the effect of cannabis legalization on alcohol consumption, let us first dive into the facts that studies have explained and what it says about the relation.
What Facts Say About it?
A RAND corporation study about marijuana legalization in 2015 for Vermont concluded that the research evidence was mixed concerning whether alcohol and cannabis complement each other.
In 2016, A review on changing cannabis policies and alcohol use conducted at the University of Washington concluded that the relationship among both is complex. However, much more research relies on the evidence of how the marijuana laws that increase access to medical marijuana affect alcohol use.
The research findings are mixed, and that may be because it examines the people of different age groups, alcohol consumption measures, and periods. The relationship between alcohol and cannabis may differ across the different population groups.
Adults and teens treat these substances differently. Also, different studies will examine different periods and marijuana laws that have been changing over time. Earlier the state laws tend to allow a broader list of qualifying conditions, and differences in the policies lead to diverse effects on medical cannabis use and alcohol use.
A review on changing cannabis policies and alcohol use conducted at the University of Washington concluded that the relationship among both is complex. However, much more research relies on the evidence of how the marijuana laws that increase access to medical marijuana affect alcohol use.
Early Research Was Unclear
During the early phase of recreational cannabis legalization, it seemed that the alcohol industry’s worst fears were potentially exaggerated. In 2016, a review of studies published examined the impacts of changing cannabis policies on alcohol use. The review of studies included over 750 studies and focused on the 15 that showed the association between alcohol and cannabis.
The researchers found that the studies have varied results. A few studies concluded that the states with medical marijuana dispensaries had higher cannabis and alcohol use rates, while others found legalized cannabis led to more binge drinking. However, cannabis legalization wouldn’t necessarily hurt alcohol consumption.
The Fears of NBWA Are Realized
The early research had the issue of relative lack of data which has changed in recent times. The adult use of cannabis states has gradually increased to the double digits, and more than two-thirds of the states have their own medical marijuana program. With recreational cannabis use, researchers have found more evidence, and it is pretty mixed for the alcohol industry. Well, the effect is mainly on binge drinking.
Has Cannabis Legalization Led to a Decrease in Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking refers to the pattern that brings an individual’s blood-alcohol level above 0.8 g/dl. This corresponds to a male having five alcoholic beverages in two hours, whereas in women, it is equivalent to four drinks in the same period. It has been seen that the legalization of cannabis reduces the level of binge drinking.
There is unquestionably an association between the reduction in alcohol consumption and increased cannabis usage. However, the states where recreational marijuana is legalized have seen a noticeable fall in alcohol sales. Another essential to be emphasized is the significant drop in binge drinking.
Therefore, cannabis legalization has limited binge alcohol consumption. Later even the alcoholic beverages producers have modified the tactics. They have seen that the growth of the cannabis industry is unstoppable, and due to the unleashing health benefits of the plant, people are more inclined towards it.
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