Investigators reported, “Contrary to concerns about spillover effects, implementation of legalized non-medical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette use and pain reliever misuse.”
“Across the sample, individuals drank approximately 29 percent fewer drinks and were 2.06 times less likely to have a binge-drinking episode on days that cannabis was used compared with days cannabis was not used. These patterns were observed in males, females and the infrequent and frequent cannabis use groups.”
“The results show that the majority of U.S. consumers perceive cannabis (as CBD, hemp, marijuana, and THC) as having medical uses and view the potential for abuse of cannabis as less than for commonly prescribed medications and alcohol.”
Military veterans who participate in a state’s medical marijuana access program frequently report substituting cannabis for alcohol and other controlled substances, according to data published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Nearly half of all respondents said that they use medical cannabis in place of other prescription medications.
Sales of alcoholic beverages decline following the enactment of medical marijuana access laws, according to a working paper authored by a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University. Researchers concluded: “States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decreases in the aggregate sale of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short-lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law.”
Alcohol consumption is associated with negative changes in gray matter volume and in white matter integrity, while cannabis use is not, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.
In a just published “exit interview” with Rolling Stone Magazine, President Barack Obama opined that marijuana use should be treated as a public-health issue, not a criminal matter, and called the current patchwork of state and federal laws regarding the drug “untenable.”
Cannabis-influenced driving performance is significantly different from alcohol-induced driving behavior, according to driving simulator data published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology. “THC concentration-dependent associations with decreased speed, increased time below the speed limit and increased following distance suggest possible awareness by drivers of potential impairment and attempts to compensate,” authors concluded. “The compensatory behavior exhibited by cannabis-influenced drivers distinctly contrasts with an alcohol-induced higher risk behavior, evidenced by greater percent speed.”
Alcohol is typically the first substance consumed by subjects who report polydrug use later in life, according to data published in The Journal of School Health. “Alcohol is the most commonly used substance, and the majority of polysubstance using respondents consumed alcohol prior to tobacco or marijuana initiation,” they reported.