Marijuana legalization is increasing the simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana, a combination that, while common, has some negative side effects associated with it.
Researchers from Columbia University conducted a study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and argued that the phenomenon is more common in young people, which makes it more likely for them to experience negative side effects.
“Our findings are concerning considering that simultaneous cannabis and alcohol use is associated with more negative consequences (e.g., risk behaviors [driving under the influence], heavy patterns of substance use, increased risk for alcohol use disorders) to the individual and society,” said lead researcher Priscilla Goncalves. “Until this study, little had been known about the [recreational cannabis laws] and simultaneous use in adults in the U.S., where adult cannabis use and alcohol use are increasing in a changing cannabis policy environment.”
The simultaneous use of cannabis and alcohol has increased over the years, especially in the age demographics of 21-30 (10.4%), 31-40 (6%), and 41-50 (4.7%). It shows that there’s sufficient evidence to believe that marijuana legalization increases this practice.
“The greater availability and opportunity to access cannabis through legal supply chains available for adults ages 21 and over such as dispensaries, present in most RCL states, may explain why we observed increases in simultaneous cannabis/alcohol use in those aged 21–50 but not 12–20 years after RCLs in this sample,” said Silvia Martins, senior author of the study.
Both researchers claim that legal states may need to develop strategies to address this in the future, especially for adults between the ages of 21 and 50.
The use of cannabis and alcohol at the same time is a common practice, resulting in an overlap of both effects. Both of these substances are depressants, slowing down your body’s reactions to multiple stimuli and building up on each other’s effects. Cannabis can make you feel less drunk and suppress your gag reflex, resulting in people drinking more and not being able to vomit as a way of detoxing.