Marijuana reduces use of alcohol, painkillers, and cigarettes

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from the University of Washington found that when a state decriminalizes the recreational use of marijuana, the use of alcohol and the abuse of pain medications, and smoking cigarettes by young people decreases.

The research is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and was conducted by Charles B. Fleming et al.

Over the past decade, many states in the U.S. have allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes and several have decriminalized its use altogether.

Opponents of these measures have claimed that it not only increases the use of marijuana but increases the use of other drugs such as alcohol and pain medications on the presumption that marijuana is a gateway drug.

In the study, the researchers found that rather than serving as a gateway drug, the use of marijuana appears to lead to reductions in the use of other drugs, at least for young people.

They analyzed data collected from state-wide surveys conducted over the years 2014 to 2019.

The legalization of marijuana use in Washington State in 2012 applies only to those over the age of 21; the drinking age in Washington is also 21.

The researchers found that the use of alcohol by respondents in the prior month was, on average, less after marijuana was legalized, as were heavy drinking episodes.

They also found a decrease in the abuse of pain medications and the use of nicotine products other than e-cigarettes.

Surprisingly, the researchers found the use of such devices increased. They suggest that was due to their novelty and the increase in use nationwide, and unrelated to the legalization of marijuana.

If you care about cannabis, please read studies about cannabis hemp oil may treat chronic neuropathic pain and medical cannabis may help reduce arthritis pain, back pain.

For more information about cannabis, please see recent studies that high-potency cannabis may affect your memory functions, and results showing cannabis could help fight resistant bacteria.

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