Binge drinking has been the national pastime for a good portion of Americans. Ever since the ending of Prohibition in the 1930s, the stigma of drinking alcohol to excess has been almost eradicated. Sure, it’s still frowned upon to get obliterated all the time, but if you’re still young, binge drinking is seen as a rite of passage more than anything.
Now that cannabis has become legalized in 13 states (and counting) and national legalization talks are continuing, several studies have been done to see if cannabis possesses counteracting effects for binge drinking. Let’s look at these studies closer to see if cannabis can cut down the urge to binge drink.
Binge Drinking Statistics
Among the 50.7% (~ 163 million) of current drinkers in the U.S. in 2016, 47.8% (~ 155 million) reported binge drinking in the past month, and another 11.9% reported heavy drinking in the past 30 days. Surveys have also shown that 57.1% of young adults aged 18 to 25 were current alcohol users while 54.6% of adults aged 26 or older were current alcohol users. Where the statistics get very interesting is in those aged 18-20 years old (early college aged). Here are those statistics:
- Current Drinkers: 39.1% (4,979 survey respondents)
- Binge Drinkers: 26.2% (3,327 survey respondents)
- Heavy Drinkers: 6.9% (878 survey respondents)
These statistics are a microcosm of binge drinking in the U.S. which has grown to staggering levels, leaving more than 88,000 citizens dead
Cannabis vs Binge Drinking
The reason why cannabis had such a positive effect on ALD for binge drinkers was due to its anti-inflammatory capabilities. Since the liver contains cannabinoids receptors that respond when you smoke cannabis, supplementing marijuana with alcoholic beverages, led to a decrease in liver inflammation, thereby slowing the disease’s progress.
Marijuana Legalization Effects on Binge Drinking
Even though the national average percent of
Another study showed that high school seniors in states where pot was decriminalized tended to drink less alcohol than those in states with stricter marijuana policies. These studies show that people may choose to use cannabis as a substitute, but that’s less likely to happen if people don’t have access to it within their state. By legalizing cannabis on a national scale, it may even the playing field with alcohol and allow us to really see if it’s going to reduce the harms associated with binge drinking in the long term.