The alcohol consumption rate in the United States seem to be related to the growing legalization of medical marijuana nationwide. Researchers from the University of Connecticut, Georgia State University and Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, found that medical marijuana laws led to 15 percent drop in alcohol sales in states with legal cannabis programs.
The study analyzed data sourced from Nielsen on alcohol sales from 90 grocery, convenience, drug and mass distribution stores between 2006 and 2015. According to the researchers, they used Nielsen’s data because they thought consumers might not be comfortable in disclosing their alcohol consumption habit.
The data was used for comparing alcohol sales in states with or without medical marijuana laws. Factors, such as age, ethnicity and income, were also taken into consideration as these areas can have a significant impact on one’s drinking habit. Over a period of 10 years involving repeated studies, the researchers concluded that counties in states, where medical marijuana was legal, exhibited a 15 percent drop in monthly alcohol sales. These findings have convinced researchers that alcohol and marijuana are strong substitutes for each other, sharing the same target audience. In that case, experts argue that introducing legal weed in places where alcohol can be consumed legally may lead to lesser sales.
As of now, medical cannabis is legally available to a small number of people who possess special marijuana cards. However, the current study may serve as an important insight into the future of the alcohol industry, once recreational marijuana is legalized nationwide. Currently, 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow medicinal use of marijuana, while 16 others permit the cannabidiol (CBD) use. Nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia have permitted the use of recreational pot.
On the question of whether marijuana can replace alcohol completely, in a recent Webinar, host Rob McMillan, president of the Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division, joined by two wine industry guests, completely ruled out the possibility of legal marijuana as a major substitute for alcohol. However, McMillan pointed out there was a higher chance of beer being replaced compared to wine, and subsequent sales reductions as “wine compliments a meal, marijuana doesn’t.”
Kicking menace of alcoholism
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, 136.7 million Americans aged 12 or older reported current use of alcohol and 16.3 million reported heavy use of the substance in the past month. But unfortunately, less than 8 percent of them seek professional treatment, which is why alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the third leading avoidable cause of death in the U.S.
The obvious problems and side effects begin to manifest when someone gets addicted to alcohol or is in the process of withdrawal. Experts say there is a thin line of separation between beneficial and harmful drinking, a line that is too easy to cross. While generally accepted standards may restrict moderate drinking to not more than seven drinks per week and certainly not more than three on any given day, those levels aren’t set in stone.
At such a juncture, the only way forward is to nip the problem in the bud by reversing alcohol dependency. When treating individuals grappling with alcoholism, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What may work for one person may not work for the other. The different approaches used to deal with AUD are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medications and enrolling patients in mutual-support groups.
If you or your loved one is battling alcoholism, get in touch with Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, which offers a variety of customized alcohol addiction treatment options. Clinicians at our world-class alcohol rehabs in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe effective treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. Call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about our treatment facilities spread across the U.S.