Study: Consumers Infrequently Combine Marijuana And Alcohol

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 4, 2016

    personal_cultivationMarijuana consumers do not typically use cannabis and alcohol in combination with one another, regardless of whether they are consuming cannabis for medicinal or social purposes, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.

    Investigators with the RAND Drug Policy Research Center and the University of California, Irvine surveyed marijuana use patterns among participants between the ages of 18 and 91 in four states: Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. (The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in New Mexico, while laws in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington permit adults to possess and purchase cannabis for both medicinal and/or recreational purposes.)

    Authors reported, ”Individuals who use cannabis do not commonly use it with alcohol, irrespective of whether they are consuming cannabis recreationally or medically.” They concluded, “Fewer than one in five recreational users report simultaneous use of alcohol and cannabis most or all of the time and less than three percent of medicinal users report frequent simultaneous use of alcohol and cannabis.”

    Although some studies indicate that cannabis can be a potential substitute for the use of alcohol, others have implied that the two substances may be complementary.

    An abstract of the study, “A baseline view of cannabis use among legalizing states and their neighbors,” appears online here.

    35 Responses to “Study: Consumers Infrequently Combine Marijuana And Alcohol”

    1. Justin says:

      Alcohol is a buzz kill.

    2. Miles says:

      Personally, I’m one of those people who really enjoy alcohol and cannabis together. Instead of over indulging in one or the other I just use a little of each and I love the way it makes me feel .

      • Malc says:

        Doing that right this minute; one bottle of WestMalle Tripple and a small bong of organic home-grown outdoor kush.

      • mexweed says:

        @Miles has a reasonable approach. A little cannabis could mean a couple of 25-mg single tokes of sifted bwdflower in a flexdrawtube one-hitter (have you read that free wiki article, “12 Easy Ways to Make a Vape Toke Utensil”?).

        While NORML finishes getting our herb legalized everywhere let’s suggest that every company that markets beer or wine be required to furnish it in little 2-ounce “airliner” bottles which can be made into an education music toy after the drug is drained.

        • Miles says:

          For me, consuming 2 or 3 beers coupled with vaporizing about 1/4 of a gram of weed is perfect. The negative effects, rare of any, are extremely minor.

          I have learned that if I do not have access to cannabis, it takes me about 7 to 8 beers to reach the same level of buzz and the next day I feel awful. Cannabis effectively helps me to control my desire to consume more alcohol!

          • mexweed says:


            1. thanks for powerful endorsement of SUBSTITUTION THERAPY, the other leg of your strategy is to master miniaturization– if “A BEER” in the situations you described means 12 oz. or bigger, you might need to badger your suppliers to offer the little 2-oz airliner bottle, bear in mind the positive virtue of beer for eons has been not the alcohol but the Bitterness (the word beer means bitter, Bitters etc.) which you can get from a $INGLE $IP (swished around several seconds, no need to hurriedly gulpswallow as “drinkers” do).

            You could carry three bottles along, now a sip of “lite”, later “dark”, now exotic flavor etc.

            Note that unlike some huge beer cans up to 25 oz those little plastic bottles (strong enough for beer, don’t let anyone fool you) have a RESEALABLE CAP– the greatest Goebbels treachery of the beer marketing empire has been non-resealable mega-cans, “Oh hurry, drink it fast, it’ll go flat anyway and then it’s no good”). Kinda anhalogous to the 700-mg commercial $igarette…

            Object of their gulpculture has been to get you (the sucker) drunk enough to be MORE careless with The Rest Of Your Money and buy more sit-and-watch-sport tickets or televisions or whatever other sitzkrap someone sells with help of Herr Biermacher. Therefore cities (they want the tax money) and neighboring bars welcome a headconcussion stadium (seems watching violence is more fun if you had a beer).

            Guess who might be out of biz within a decade if cannabis is legalized.

            2. 1/4 gram of #16 sifted herb is 10 (ten) $ingle Vapetokes, 25 mg each, in a flexdrawtube one-hitter (DIY version at free wiki artikel, “12 Easy Way to Make Vape Toke Utensil Almost as Good as a Vaporizer”). (In my case 2-3 of those servings has been enough to write zany answers like this one.) “Give mini a try”

      • Ran Klarin says:

        That is my pattern as well. If I overdo one or the other the hang over the next day is less than pleasant.

        • Miles says:

          I actually find it surprising that anyone has a hangover effect the next day from cannabis. That has never happened to me after 40+ years of usage. I certainly cannot say the same about alcohol though.

          When I was serving in the Marine Corps, almost everyone I knew used cannabis (under the rank of E5; Sergeant). For us, cannabis was never a problem; beyond getting busted that is.

          Alcohol was the real problem. Marines would get drunk, violent, loud, etc. The next day they would be relatively useless.

          With cannabis however, we’d mostly be peaceful, get to bed early and then be perfectly ready to go the next day.

          • Eddie says:

            I find I can get a hangover from most Indicas. However the alcohol hangover is MUCH worse. Sativas never give me a hangover. My local MMJ doc says it is the terpenes in Indicas that cause a problem in my case.

    3. m.sebastian says:

      I need to use cannabis medically every day; but I like to have beer in the evening-two or three and I do not notice any increase in impairment; perhaps since I am so used to the effects of cannabis and tend to utilize the same five strains or so to manage my symptoms of chronic lyme disease.

    4. Julian says:

      I agree with Miles. I regularly moderate my consumption of alcohol to enjoy my herb. A good pair is a roast-malted blonde ale with a sativa strain high in pinenes such as Trainwreck or Jack Herrer. Just beware of a sleepy indica as when mixed with alcohol it doubles the couchlock effect for a couple of hours.

      What I am looking forward to is the good example marijuana legalization will provide to the young crowd up to 25. This is a time when access to marijuana instead of alcohol can vastly improve one’s game in life.

    5. Charlie says:

      If marijuana was legal in PA to the point where one can go to the bar to toke up and/or drink it, I would probably do just weed, but since it’s still illegal, it’s gotta be done sparingly.

    6. Mark Mitcham says:

      I’m a recovering alcholic, and a self-identified stoner. And I can tell you from personal experience that when I was drinking, I found it best to save my weed until after I was fully hammered and done drinking for the night, and was starting to come down: it is medicine for the pain of the impending hangover, which is already starting at that point. If I tried to smoke while I was drinking, it would make me dizzy and puke. Now that I’m sober, it continues to heal my mind, body, and soul! But you can’t get drunk off weed, and it won’t replace a drunk if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s more of a balm, than a substitute for alcohol.

    7. Julian says:

      If you are a veteran in the state of Texas, please sign the following petition to Governor Greg Abbot in order to provide whole plant cannabis for PTSD:


      Let’s stop the trauma and suicides with real, ancient medicine.

    8. Patricia says:

      It’s amazing how Aspen has changed. Now the bars empty out at 9:30 because everyone wants to get to the dispensary before it closes at 10. After ten the only people out on the streets are heading for a place to smoke.

    9. Galileo Galilei says:

      I’ve combined them frequently in the past. I’m not drinking alcohol at home at all now.

    10. phrtao says:

      In Europe it is very common for people to consume alcohol and cannabis in the same day and often at the same time. But having said that it is also common for people to consume tobacco with cannabis (which does not happen in the US).

      • ion_nine says:

        I think that this makes sense as drinking habits are different. Americans are far more inclined to drink to get drunk, even in social settings.

        This isn’t to say europeans don’t, only that drinking alcohol is likely often incidental as beer and wine is served frequently at meals or at social gatherings where getting drunk isn’t appropriate.

      • mexweed says:

        Have to correct one thing: some Americans are rolling “BLUNTS” which are a sneakotine method of inhaling nicotine (from the cigar skin, duh…) at the same time as cannabis. Smaller amount than European version, to be sure.

        About that tobacco-with-cannabis habit in Europe and some Commonwealth places, the Australian Department of Health has described such a “Joint” or “$pliff” as a Trojan Horse designed to lure children to try nicotine $igarettes… Zap! Hooked for Life!

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