Students binge drink less when cannabis is legal: study

Students are less likely to drink heavily in U.S. states that have legalized cannabis than in those that haven’t, a study shows.

“The biggest takeaway from our paper is that problem binge drinking in college students who are 21 and over, changes after the implementation of recreational marijuana use,” says Zoe Alley, a Ph.D student at Oregon State University and one of the study’s authors.

The researchers defined binge drinking as having consumed five or more drinks at one time in the past two weeks. States that had legalized cannabis had six per cent decreased odds of binge drinking among students 21 and over.

The effect was seen only in students 21 and older as 21 is the minimum age for alcohol in all U.S states, and for cannabis in states where it’s been legalized.

“Once you turn 21 in states without marijuana legalization, alcohol suddenly becomes very easy to come by, relatively speaking, so people might switch to that,” says Oregon State psychology professor David Kerr.


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