Does Legal Cannabis Replace Alcohol?
2 min

Does Legal Cannabis Replace Alcohol?

2 min
There is no easy answer to the replacement of alcohol through cannabis. The studies on the topic are quite conflicted but is there something to get out of them?

For years the alcohol industry has feared the coming legalization of pot. They tried to boycott the upcoming of cannabis because they thought, it would affect their sales in a negative way - they even financed anti-pot campaigns with lots of money. One would think, they knew better after the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's in the States. But on the other side, every legalization campaign pro-pot uses alcohol as an antagonist to proclaim their arguments. And they are right: cannabis is the less harmful drug. What this shows is, both sides position themselves in relation to the other party. Now, half of the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana and five states (with many more to come) offer recreational cannabis to their citizens as well. It is time to find out if the fears were eligible and what actual effects on society this big change has had.


The thing is, there is no satisfying answer to this. Because there are not many studies on the topic and the existing ones provide contradictory data. For example, in states where medical marijuana is legal for a long time now (like California), studies show that especially younger people seem to replace alcohol with cannabis. The citizens of these states substitute alcohol with marijuana which is indeed measurable in decreasing alcohol sales. While in Colorado, the state with the first recreational pot, alcohol sales seem to profit from the legalization of cannabis. Sales are in a high here, so to say, and people are combining the use of both substances. The alcohol industry even admits, it helped them in a way. Tourism is booming in Colorado and that is something everyone there benefits from, although recreational weed is the true reason for that. Both industries, former opponents, even work together now and help each other in a collaborative manner which is great. In Colorado at least it seems that the concerns did not become real, though nobody has expected that.


The conflict in the data needs more years and studies to be resolved and there are so many parameters which come in play that it is really difficult to find answers: gender, age, income, social situation, other substance use etc. all come together here. However, there are some scenarios of real effects on society that a legalization of cannabis can have represented in some of the research. If the use of substances shifts more to marijuana it has important implications for the health, safety and related costs of a society. People who use cannabis are less likely to harm society with problems that are related to excessive drinking like health care costs, accidents on the streets and deteriorated productivity at the workplace, just to name a few. On the other hand, people who use alcohol and pot at the same time are more likely to face social and family problems.


We will have to wait for more data to be collected to give final answers to this question. But given the case that legal cannabis actually slowly replaces alcohol, would that be a bad thing? To know that people prefer a natural product that is less harmful, less addictive, has such astounding medical potential and doesn't kill, is more beneficial to economy, society, health and nature in general. The main thing is though, to use a substance responsible whether it is cannabis or alcohol. In the end, it is fair to say that cannabis is the better choice. If it is replacing alcohol though, is still up to debate.


  Guest Writer  

Written by: Guest Writer
Occasionally we have guest writers contribute to our blog here at Zamnesia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, making their knowledge invaluable.

      Find out about our writers  

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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