Study: Medical Cannabis Use Lowers Alcohol Intake

A recent study has shown that upon being prescribed medicinal cannabis, patients often self-report lowering their alcohol intake.

A recent study published in the International Journey of Drug Policy involving 973 participants found that 44% of participants, who were medical cannabis patients, reported lowering their alcohol consumption rates.

While cannabis can sometimes be considered in the same category as alcohol in terms of its recreational use, the study suggests that the two substances may have an inverse relationship, in which cannabis users, in this instance medicinal cannabis users, actually end up using alcohol less.

The findings of the study showed that:

"Overall, 419 (44%) participants reported decreases in alcohol usage frequency over 30 days, 323 (34%) decreased the number of standard drinks they had per week, and 76 (8%) reported no alcohol use at all in the 30 days prior to the survey. Being below 55 years of age and reporting higher rates of alcohol use in the pre-period were both associated with greater odds of reducing alcohol use, and an intention to use medical cannabis to reduce alcohol consumption was associated with significantly greater odds of both reducing and ceasing alcohol use altogether."

The findings also support prior evidence that cannabis and its derivatives, namely CBD, can facilitate a reduction in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs such as cocaine.

Should these results prove to be substantive and able to be replicated, they may have broader positive impacts for society at large.

For example, the International Journey of Drug Policy study concludes by suggesting that, given alcohol's prevalence and role in criminality, morbidity, and mortality, medical cannabis use may "result in improved health outcomes for medical cannabis patients, as well as overall improvements in public health and safety."

Moreover, amid the growing chronic pain epidemic, and the correlate prescription of opioids, cannabinoid medicines may provide a less addictive and less lethal choice of medicine for patients that suffer from chronic pain and other similar conditions.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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