A study by Canadian researchers suggests that 43.5 percent of patients who began using medical cannabis to mitigate harmful alcohol habits were able to reduce the frequency of their alcohol use or quit entirely. The researchers found that median drinking days from study participants went from 10.5 to eight.
The study included information from the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey 2019 from patients registered with Tilray. Of the 2,102 surveyed, 973 participants reported past or current alcohol use and 44 percent of those (419) reported decreasing alcohol-use frequency over the last 30 days, 34 percent (323) decreased the number of drinks per week, while 8 percent (76) reported using no alcohol over the 30 days prior to the survey.
Philippe Lucas, a study co-author, graduate researcher at the University of Victoria, and vice president of global patient research and access for Tilray, said the survey feedback adds “to a growing body of evidence that medical cannabis use is often associated with reductions in the use of other substances, including alcohol, opioids, tobacco and illicit drugs.”
“Since alcohol is the most prevalent recreational substance in the world, and its use results in significant rates of criminality, morbidity and mortality, these findings may result in improved health outcomes for medical cannabis patients, as well as overall improvements in public health and safety.” – Lucas in a statement
Other studies have purposed links between cannabis use and alcohol use reduction. An Oregon State University study published in January found that binge drinking rates among college students were reduced in states with legalized cannabis. A study published last year found binge drinking rates 9 percent below the national average in those states.
The University of Victoria study included researchers from the University of British Columbia. It was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.
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