Will Marijuana Legalization Increase Alcohol Use? A new study might surprise you

Through Jelena Martinovic

Marijuana legalization has been linked to increased alcohol consumption, a new study published in the JAMA Health Forum has found. The surprising new evidence contradicts previous research showing that legalizing cannabis led to more marijuana use but also reduced alcohol consumption.

Over 4.2 million US adults participated in a cross-sectional study and difference analysis from 2010 to 2019, of which 321,921 respondents were in states where marijuana was legal. Interestingly, both studies showed that binge drinking or heavy drinking did not increase in these states. However, adult cannabis laws were associated with a 0.9% increase in alcohol consumption across the US population as a whole.

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Researchers used survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The analysis was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Interestingly, the new study found that the largest increases in alcohol consumption among younger adults, ages 18 to 24, were among non-Hispanic white respondents and those without a college education. A broader increase in alcohol consumption was also observed among men.

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Meanwhile, when choosing between the two, the majority of Americans chose cannabis over alcohol. 58 percent of respondents in another national survey by market research firm SSRS showed that alcohol is more harmful to health than marijuana.

Additionally, nearly a third of over 10,000 Americans who took part in a YouGov poll earlier this year said they think the ideal would be for people to use more marijuana and less alcohol.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been republished with permission.

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