Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cannabis use Lowers Alcohol Consumption

With the recent legalization of marijuana as a recreation use, alcohol consumption has gone down. This result was first theorized and studied in the late 1960's and 70's. DUI arrests, driving fatalities under alcohol influence, and drug overdose has gone down in Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana use has become legal.

In 1968, Alfred R. Lindesmith, a sociologist talked about how pot smokers have an aversion to alcohol, much like how Hindus in India regard alcohol as taboo, while incorporating ganja as part of their ritual. John Kaplan from Stanford University in 1970 wrote, Marijuana, the New Prohibition states that a large percentage of marijuana users cut down alcohol use after starting use of marijuana. Richard Blum's data in the book showed that 54% of weekly marijuana users reduced alcohol use, while 89% of daily users reduced their consumption. (Source)

An online study in Australia surveyed 1,994 people broken up into groups of marijuana users, alcohol users and stimulant drugs such as ecstasy. The research purpose was to find if use of other drugs encourages people to drink more alcohol. With the three groups, ecstacy and alcohol users binged with excessive alcohol use, while marijuana users did not. (Source)

A study published in the Journal of Law and Economics showed that there is a 8-11% drop in traffic fatalities associated with legalizing medical marijuana. The findings were the same amount in alcohol related accidents which concluded that legalizing marijuana resulted in less drinking. (Source) This study has been put into practice in Colorado where as the miles driven goes up yearly, driving fatalities as legalization of marijuana takes effect has gone down by 9 percent. The study went on to report that after the legalization beer sales were down in the state by 5 percent. (Source) In Washington state, drunk driving arrests went down 11% after legalizing marijuana. (Source)

With a reduction of alcohol usage, one can infer that alcohol intoxication leading to overdose death will go down, but studies aren't out yet. Studies do show a reduction in opioid drug overdose deaths with the legalization of marijuana. (Source) The DEA has been pressured to remove marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, which would allow for more research regarding cannabis use and it's effects on society.(Source)


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