Shifting landscape of alcohol due to the legalization of marijuana

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Shifting landscape of alcohol due to the legalization of marijuana

Shifting landscape of alcohol due to the legalization of marijuana

With the legalization of marijuana in certain U.S. states, there has been a marked decline in the sale of alcohol in these parts. With the implementation of such a revolutionary and controversial decision, experts have noticed significant benefits. Apart from treating many of the health issues, the medical use of cannabis also helps in reducing alcohol consumption.

In this context, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University has identified a 15 percent fall in the alcohol sales in some states where marijuana was legalized. Using the Nielsen Retail Scanner Data Database, researchers measured alcohol sales by comparing states where medical marijuana is legal with those where it is not. The study analyzed the data on the purchases of alcoholic beverages in grocery, convenience store, etc. across the U.S. counties from 2006 to 2015.

The findings of the study coincide with a consumer survey conducted by a company that facilitated the delivery of medical marijuana that found that people using medical marijuana reduce their alcohol use. Hence, the results are considered to be significant as alcohol use is comparatively more severe than marijuana use.

Pros and cons of the legalization of marijuana

The above-mentioned study highlighted that around 87 percent of the users had reduced drinking because of the cannabis use and 13 percent had replaced alcohol completely with cannabis. Similar changes were witnessed among people consuming opioids. As marijuana is considered a substitute or complement of alcohol, a large number of people have switched from alcohol to marijuana. People now prefer spending their money on marijuana at similar rates than on alcohol.

Though the legalization of marijuana has led to significant reduction in the sale of alcohol, emergency room (ER) visits related to marijuana has increased. This has been one of the major consequences of the decriminalization of marijuana. Moreover, there is also a significant rise in the use of pot among youngsters. However, in the states where both medical marijuana is legalized and not many stringent measures have been implemented against drinking, there was an increased sale of alcohol. In fact, researchers have highlighted evidences related to the use of marijuana as both substitute and complement.

Although the use of marijuana is spread across all ages, its consumption was found to be higher among the college students. In a study conducted by the University of Michigan, the researchers identified that the daily or regular use of marijuana among the college students  has increased from 3.5 percent in 2007 to 5.9 percent in 2014.  The study further added that it is the highest level of daily use measured in the last 34 years.

Additionally, rise in marijuana consumption could be due to a decrease in the perceived risk of harm from marijuana. The legalization of marijuana in many states further fueled the misconception that the substance is less harmful compared to other illicit drugs.

Nonmedical use of any substance is dangerous

With the legalization of marijuana in many states of the U.S., a serious debate has started among the supporters, critics and sceptics on the medical benefits and consequences of the substance. Though marijuana helps in controlling epileptic seizures, treating inflammatory bowel diseases, slowing down conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, etc., the excessive and persistent use of marijuana causes harms to both body and brain, such as deterioration of cognitive skills, disruption of body functioning, development of depression and anxiety, bizarre experiences like hallucination, etc.

In spite of the legalization and medical benefits of marijuana, it cannot be used randomly. Therefore, it is important to seek medical advice and consume marijuana as per the prescription to avoid adverse consequences. Besides, the excessive use of marijuana can also lead to addiction and development of several mental disorders.

If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to marijuana or any other drug, contact the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to know about the various drug addiction treatment centers in Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-576-4147 or chat online. Our experts will help you with the necessary information about the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona.

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