Cannabis vs. Alcohol: Social Implications
The cannabis legislation has grown increasingly loyal to legalization and use for medical and recreational purposes in many U.S. states. This change has many positives, especially for patients with cancer or chronic pain who have received a legal way to alleviate the discomforting symptoms of their conditions.
So, if you’re planning to get high and think, “what are the weed dispensaries near me?”, it’s better to plan the intake of beverages and weed wisely. Don’t let the party drive you away; calculate the dosage of alcohol and weed you’re consuming to stay sane. Start low and go slow – it’s a secret recipe for having fun instead of trouble.
What Does Science Say about Co-Use of Weed and Alcohol?
So, what do the studies say about the effect of combining weed and alcohol? Here is a bit of scientific evidence outlining the harms of such practices.
- Kim et al. found recreational marijuana laws to influence poly use of weed and alcohol across all age groups. In contrast, medical marijuana laws caused an increase in alcohol and weed use among the elderly.
- Yurasek et al. concluded that combined use of cannabis and alcohol increases impairment, induces higher and more frequent consumption levels for both, and increases the likelihood of developing comorbid substance use and mental health issues.
- Hayaki et al. discovered that the co-use of marijuana and alcohol by younger adults results in heavier drinking patterns and graver marijuana problems than the use of one substance.
- A cannabis and alcohol use disorder reduces the patients’ response to looming stimuli, which means that people under the dual effect of weed and alcohol cannot respond to threats adequately (Blair et al., 2019).
Interesting results were published by Roman et al., suggesting that young people who consume alcohol and weed score higher on sexual function tests, reporting better arousal and more intense orgasm. This effect probably leads many teenagers to try both in searching for brighter, more intense sexual experiences.
Marijuana vs. Alcohol: What Should Come First?
The evidence says that drinking alcohol before weed intensifies weed’s effects. Alcohol enhances THC absorption, guaranteeing you will get higher from the same dose. So, it’s vital to listen to your body and start low after drinking alcohol, knowing where to stop and avoid ‘greening out.’
While there is enough research on alcohol-first co-use of weed and alcohol, the studies on cannabis-first use are lacking. A 1993 study concluded that THC could slow down the absorption of alcohol in the human blood, which may offset the intoxication effect on the body. Still, such an effect is also potentially hazardous, as it may drive people to drink more and leads to abrupt, severe intoxication.
- Sartor et al. discovered that cannabis-first use causes greater risks of alcohol and cannabis use disorder development. They also discovered that African American women are at a greater risk of comorbidity development than European American women because of more frequent cannabis-first administration of alcohol and weed.
- Subbaraman and Kerr found the prevalence of simultaneous users to be twice as high as concurrent use. Besides, the researchers associated simultaneous use with the most detrimental health effects, such as drunk driving, social issues, and self-harm.
Marijuana vs. Alcohol: What Affects the Choice?
Needless to say, teens are the highest-risk group among all ages as they are prone to experimentation and are not afraid of consequences. So, young people are the most vulnerable to developing co-use disorders. Yet, some of them choose one over the other, either drinking alcohol only or smoking weed, keeping those habits in adulthood.
What affects the choice of weed or alcohol, and how do these motives differ across the life span? Let’s figure it out.
- Loflin et al. found that veterans using medicinal cannabis drank less alcohol, while those who use cannabis for recreational purposes used it with larger amounts of alcohol. This finding suggests that people don’t combine weed and alcohol if they use it for therapeutic purposes.
- Some users choose pot over alcohol because of a false assumption that weed doesn’t impair driving. Sewell et al. cautioned against using cannabis before or during driving, as it also impairs driving-related skills, reaction, and threat responsiveness.
- Rutherford and Miech found that teens increasingly choose pot instead of alcohol or cigarettes, presumably believing it’s a safer and healthier way to relax and get high.
- Teens often pick weed for escape and self-medication, as marijuana is associated with positive therapeutic effects that alcohol doesn’t have.
Marijuana and Alcohol Are Addictive, Any Combination Harms
As you can see from this review, science is unequivocal: marijuana and alcohol affect your health badly even as standalone practices. Their combined use increases the risks and exposes you to the full spectrum of harm from both.
The reverse side of legalization is gloomy; the poly use of cannabis and weed has grown among Americans, especially young people, posing new health risks and concerns. Here we examine the effects of mixing weed and alcohol to see what happens to a user’s brain and body, what doses and sequences can be considered safe, and what drives youngsters to choose one over the other.
Cannabis vs. Alcohol: Social Implications