Study: Frequent Cannabis Consumers Less Likely To Engage In Problematic Alcohol Use

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 15, 2014

    Those who report consuming cannabis two or three times per week are less likely to engage in at risk drinking behavior, according to data published online in The American Journal of Addictions.

    Investigators from Sweden’s Lund University, Department of Clinical Sciences, analyzed data from a nationwide survey on alcohol and drug use conducted by the National Institute of Public Health. Over 22,000 respondents between the ages of 15 and 64 participated in the survey.

    Researchers reported that frequent cannabis consumers (defined as having used cannabis two or three times per week) were less likely to engage in hazardous drinking practices compared to infrequent users (those who reported having consumed cannabis fewer than four times per month).

    They concluded: “In the present study, it has been shown that, in the Swedish general population, cannabis use is associated with a higher prevalence of other illicit drug use and hazardous alcohol use. Among cannabis users, frequent cannabis use is associated with a higher prevalence of other illicit drug use and a lower prevalence of hazardous alcohol use when compared to occasional cannabis use. … … The inverse relationship between the frequency of cannabis use and hazardous drinking has not been reported before to our knowledge. … This may indicate that cannabis users and alcohol users are different groups, albeit with a high degree of overlap between groups, with different characteristics and clinical needs.”

    A review paper published in February in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism similarly acknowledged that some cannabis consumers likely substitute the plant for alcohol. It concluded: “While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorders), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol. Perhaps more importantly, cannabis is both safer and potentially less addictive than benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals that have been evaluated as substitutes for alcohol.”

    An abstract of the study, “Alcohol and drug use in groups of cannabis users: Results from a survey on drug use in the Swedish general population,” appears here.

    18 responses to “Study: Frequent Cannabis Consumers Less Likely To Engage In Problematic Alcohol Use”

    1. Frank says:

      “Alcohol use disorders”. Never heard that one before. But it nicely illustrates the special perspective we have of alcohol in our society. When something goes wrong when someone uses alcohol, we blame the user. When something goes wrong when someone uses any other drug, we blame the drug.

    2. Galileo Galilei says:

      Watch 2 or 3 episodes of a ‘Cops’ marathon. The drug causing the vast majority of behavioral problems is alcohol. Don’t take my word for it. Watch and see.

    3. Matthew58 says:

      Frank, nicely put. How about a war on alcohol? Oh, yeah, they tried that. Prohibition. And now we have pot prohibition. How else to demonize marijuana if they don’t demonize the drug, as they once did with alcohol? Change the mindset, change the prohibition.

    4. Ray says:

      It appears that the word “Marijuana” is turning into the new “N” word. Marijuana or Marihuana was a word created by Harry A. and his DEA cronies to include cannabis with high THC content and hemp.

      We need to separate the two forms of marijuana and deal with them properly. Remove all restrictions on industrial hemp and let’s try and regulate and tax cannabis. I say try because eventually no one will care about cannabis like we do alcohol, cigarettes, meth or heroin.

      Any politician who says they have more important issues to deal with must be quite content with the way we lock up “the degenerate races”. That’s why the law was created in the first place, and it works very well.

      Industrial hemp is going to boom the economy in states who are first to grow. Just think that for almost 80 years we removed this commodity from our store shelves because it looks like it’s high THC cousin.

      Holding back our economy at the gunpoint of the police is not going to help our struggling minorities. People of color have already proven they can become great, talented members of society when offered education instead of prison.

      Sending a black man to jail for simple possession will ruin his life and keep the cycle of poverty going. Where is the National Black Caucus, where is their voice? What issue in our nation could be more important than locking up our children for smoking pot?

      For NORML’s sake I hope “marijuana” remains a word we use to remember how stupid our nation was to outlaw a weed. NORCL or NORHL just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    5. chris says:

      Sure wish all this would be done and over with.
      Cannabis is being used just as much as alcohol , only cannabis makes people less aggravated about all the problems that are presented to them.
      I used to think that alcohol should be treated as cannabis , like a health problem,
      and the older i get i realize , it doesnt matter how much you want to tell people that its worse or more harmfull , they dont care because prohibition has already been paid for on the alcohol side and those who enjoy it realize that health and happiness go hand in hand, and no matter how healthy you are , if your not happy , it will all fall apart even your health….so factor in cannabis, and its our health that gets thrown out on the table first…….
      even tho our FDA allows so much more damaging products to be available at our beck and call.

      The only thing bad about cannabis is being caught with it……..health?……not sure only allowing the only door to be opened to people who use cannabis is a cell door, if they wont see that alochol can be just a much of a health issue…….
      All about the money……..?
      seems when you read the laws being written it all runs around the healthiest factor…..a big ol pile of cash…….even the government wont allow the banks to take the cash being made.
      Because if they keep it illegal and allow you to make money off of it, then when you get a bunch of cash , then they can show up and take it because there is no record of you ever having it…….
      SO with that said
      dont drink and drive, even tho every bar in America has a parking spot and or parking lots…………..

      As always
      Thanks for reading

    6. Dave Evans says:

      Ray, that is just an artifact of the media. “marijuana” is a perfect name and it is well defined. The “n-word”, not so much. Some people use as a racist put down. Most people now use it the hip-hop friendly version, “nigga” which literally is the same as “nigger”, but people that love making lines in the sand so they can abuse you it you step over them will tell you it is “somehow different” and therefore not offensive. It is gibberish to me.

      There are many extracts you can make from _Cannabis_ several of which fall into the “marijuana category”, which include THC rich female flowers, hash, hash oil (seems like bad stuff), and butter. And then any other products made from these basic ingredients. Some of these product can be made specifically for the treatment of various medical conditions. This is Medical Marijuana.

      Of course there is a lot more to the _Cannabis_ plant than Marijuana. Many of the chemicals it makes also be therapeutically active. Since this hasn’t been investigated and it also seems likely different kinds of _Cannabis_ can be bred which is not marijuana, but something which hasn’t been created yet… And thus has no name, yet. For example, most everyone knows about blueberry bushes, right? Well, down in Florida, they are breeding “Blueberry Trees”. If they are successful, in twenty years everyone will have heard the word…

      There is no reason to keep using the word marijuana is a negative way, unless you support Harry J. Anslinger’s piece of shit agenda. To point out, his “racism” was for us to learn, not something he believed in persay. The racism is just another tool or excuse to maintain what narcissists see as “their power structure”. “I’m hear keeping you safe from all these savages, so put me on a pedestal”. Then they spend more time keeping up appearances than keeping people safe–while treating minorities like shit for kicks as it helps the underlings blow off their stress. Really, it is a lot uglier than simple racism.

    7. Dave Evans says:

      It is a method of turning the police into criminals. But they used a material, as talking shit about innocence people will eventually get you in trouble. Talking shit about a material? It is part of your First Amendment Rights. But then our courts allow them to transfer guilt by association. Which is not remotely legal. The legal basis for arresting potheads is thus: One day this guy smoked some marijuana. later on he committed heinous crimes. And you used marijuana too, and thus share in his crimes. Your guilty by associations that only exist in their heads. They never bring evidence of a crime to the courts when you get charged.

      Focus less on the racism and the fact it doesn’t make any legal sense at all and therefore isn’t even remotely legal!!!!!!!!!!

    8. Dave Evans says:

      They are trying to say that owning and selling marijuana is the same thing as giving someone a ride to go hold up a store or bank!!! It is retarded, and I can’t think of any other good things to say about it. Police trying to sell people this idea are retarded too as it puts their own lives in danger.

    9. Mark I says:

      The only thing wrong with cannabis is having it in your possession. The truth regarding cannabis consumption is available to anyone willing to open their eyes and minds to cannabis outside the negative connotations of weed, dope, marijuana, etc…

    10. Anne says:

      I once heard on T.V. the word “:marijuana was created by the us gov.; they wanted a word sounding somewhat mexican and with english too

      so “mari is mary (english) juana jane spanish
      prob. “maryjuana” is the most accurate gov. jargan. Marijuana is a simple medicinal herb.