Recreational Cannabis Legalization Correlated With Decrease In Alcohol Use Disorder, New Study Finds

A new study published in Psychological Medicine shows evidence that legalizing cannabis does not increase substance use disorders or use of other illicit drugs and therefore is not considered a gateway drug.

In fact, cannabis may actually reduce alcohol-related problems said researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, reported a news local outlet.

The study found no link between cannabis legalization and increases in cognitive, psychological, social, relationship or financial problems.

“We really didn’t find any support for a lot of the harms people worry about with legalization,” said lead author Stephanie Zellers, who began the research as a graduate student at CU Boulder’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG). “From a public health perspective, these results are reassuring.”

Researchers took data from the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the Minnesota Center for Twin Family Research to study 4,000 twins (40% in a state with legal recreational weed, Colorado, and 60% in a state without legal cannabis like Minnesota), per Fox 31 news outlet.

Regarding the study's methods, the researchers used "a longitudinal, co-twin control design in 4043 twins, first assessed in adolescence and now age 24–49, currently residing in states with different cannabis policies (40% resided in a recreationally legal state).” 

Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis Decreases Alcohol Use Disorder

Researchers found that the twins living in a recreational state used cannabis on average more often and had fewer alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms than their co-twins living in a non-recreational state.

“This co-twin design automatically controls for a wide range of variables, including age, social background, early home life, and even genetic inheritance” that can influence health outcomes, said John Hewitt, professor of psychology and neuroscience at CU Boulder. “If the association holds up, it provides strong evidence that the environment, in this case, legalization, is having an impact.”

Researchers concluded that the association between adult use legalization with increased cannabis use and decreased AUD symptoms was not linked with other maladaptations. However, "future research may investigate causal links between cannabis consumption and outcomes," they concluded.

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Photo: Courtesy Of Engin Akyurt and Washarapol D BinYo Jundang by Pexels and Linkedin Edited By Benzinga

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Posted In: BiotechCannabisNewsMarketsGeneralalcohol use disorderCannabis In Coloradocannabis in MinnesotaJohn HewittPsychological MedicineRecreational CannabisStephanie ZellersUniversity of Colorado Boulder
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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

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