It’s remarkable how alcohol, a substance that we know can be damaging to the body, has been legal for so long but cannabis, a substance that can have a number of medicinal benefits for some people, has been illegal for so long. Thankfully, around the world this is changing, and has changed in the country where our business operates, Canada.

A decades worth of  data from a survey of American college students with 1.1 million participants shows that of-age students are less likely to binge drink where recreational cannabis is legal. This is according to a study recently published in Addictive Behaviors,  and it’s one of the only studies to investigate how university students’ substance/alcohol intake changes after states legalize recreational marijuana.  This new study suggests that students are substituting cannabis for alcohol and binge drinking less often as a result.

For the study, researchers examined trends in college students’ alcohol, nicotine, prescription opioid and other drug use after recreational marijuana legalization. Data from surveys of American university students from 2008 to 2018 was used, researchers wanted to see how recreational marijuana legalization (RML) impacts other substance use trends.

The study highlights how RML was linked to decreased binge drinking prevalence among university students old enough to legally consume alcohol. After states legalize recreational weed, researchers observed a decrease in college binge drinking by an average of 6 percent.

Oregon State University Ph.D student Zoe Alley, one of the study’s authors, said the decrease could be accounted for by the wider availability of cannabis after legalization. “When you reach the legal drinking age, suddenly a lot of people transition to using more alcohol because now it’s more available and marijuana is not,” said Alley. Legalizing marijuana, by contrast, may prevent students who turn 21 from substituting alcohol for cannabis based on availability.

A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology shows that there is a reduction in dependence on opioids, antidepressants, sleep medications as well as alcohol alcohol in patients who were given medical cannabis for their condition. According to saludmóvil™, researchers found an astounding 76.7 percent drop in opioid use in patients who used cannabis. (source)

Another study recently published in Canada this year concludes:

This study offers a unique perspective by focusing on the use of a standardized, government-regulated source of medical cannabis by patients registered in Canada’s federal medical cannabis program. The findings provide a granular view of patient patterns of medical cannabis use, and the subsequent self-reported impacts on the use of opioids, alcohol, and other substances, adding to a growing body of academic research suggesting that increased regulated access to medical and recreational cannabis can result in a reduction in the use of and subsequent harms associated with opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.

Too much alcohol can lead to permanent brain damage, among other things. A recent study from the University of Kentucky and the University of Maryland concluded that a chemical in marijuana called cannabidiol (CBD) could be used to prevent alcohol-induced brain damage. The study was published in September of 2013 in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. (source)

The study outlines how excessive alcohol consumption results in neuro-degeneration as well as behavioral and cognitive impairments that are hypothesized to contribute to the chronic and relapsing nature of alcoholism. As a result they aimed to study the transdermal delivery of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of alcohol-induced neuro-degeneration.

Just like THC, CBD is another chemical found in marijuana, the difference is that it doesn’t get you ‘high.’ Both chemicals are strong antioxidants. The study points out:

These results justify further preclinical development of transdermal CBD for the treatment of alcohol-induced neurodegeneration. It has been suggested that the neuroprotective effects of CBD observed during binge alcohol induced neurodegeneration are due to its high antioxidant capacity.

The authors note that CBD acts as a stronger antioxidant than many well-known antioxidants. This study was done on rat models, using both a skin patch and regular needle injection. Both methods produced similar magnitudes of neuroprotection, approximately 50 percent.