Cannabis & Binge Drinking

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How
has

cannabis

legalization
influenced
the
use
of
other
substances
by
college
students?
A
recent

study

out
of
Oregon
State
University
(OSU)
aimed
to
find
out.

Several
earlier
reports
have
shown
a

decrease
in
opioid
use
and
overdoses
in
states
that
legalized
recreational
cannabis
use
,
as
well
as
decreases
in
binge
drinking
and
fatal
traffic
accidents
related
to
alcohol
use.
In
the

OSU

study,
researchers
analyzed
data
from
almost
900,000
students
between
2008
and
2018,
comparing
states
that
had
legalized
recreational
use
and
those
that
had
not.

The
most
significant
results
had
to
do
with
binge
drinking.
Students
in
legal
recreational
use
states
were
6%
less
likely
to
binge
drink
compared
to
those
in
non-legal
states.
Additionally,
the
longer
a
state
had
been
legal,
the
more
significant
the
reduction
in
binge
drinking.
This
was
particularly
true
for
students
21
or
older.
Given
that
21
is
the
age
for
legal
cannabis
consumption
in
the
eleven1
recreational
states
and
the
District
of
Columbia,
this
suggests
that

many
students
are
legally
substituting
cannabis
for
alcohol
when
it’s
legal
for
them
to
do
so
.


CBD

for
brain
health

The
positive
social
impacts
of
legalization
are
becoming
clearer,
and
the
physiological
effects
of
cannabis
could
be
playing
an
important
role.
Cannabis
has
been
shown
to

mitigate
alcohol
toxicity

due
to
its
anti-inflammatory
effects.
It
has
also
been
shown
to

reduce
the
urge
to
drink
.
Binge
drinking
can
cause
neurodegeneration

the
death
of
brain
cells

in
parts
of
the
brain
associated
with
memory
and
perception.

A
handful
of
preclinical
studies
have
demonstrated
how

cannabidiol

(CBD)
could
protect
the
brain
from
alcohol-induced
damage.
For
example,
a
2005

report

in
the

Journal
of
Experimental
Therapy

showed
that

CBD

injected
into
rodents
reduced
neurodegeneration
by
60%.
The
authors
suggested
that

CBD
’s
antioxidant
properties
could
be
responsible
for
the
protection.

And
in
a
2013

study
,
University
of
Kentucky
researchers
examined
the
effects
of
transdermal

CBD

in
a
rodent
model
of
binge
drinking.
The
strongest

CBD

gel
formulation
reduced
neurodegenerative
effects
by
nearly
50%.

So,
it
appears
that
cannabis
not
only
reduces
binge
drinking
frequency
merely
by
legalizing
access
to
the
herb

it
may
also
reduce
the
damage
alcohol
inflicts
on
our
health.

Opiate
use

Interestingly,
the
Oregon
researchers
did
not
detect
any
statistically
significant
impact
of
legal
cannabis
consumption
on
opioid
use.
This
could
have
to
do
with
different
reasons
that
people
use
opiates.
Some
students
might
smoke
the
poppy
sap
for
relaxation,
while
others
use
opioids
to
treat
acute
pain.


OSU

scientists
also
did
not
find
an
association
between
the
legalization
of
recreational
cannabis
and
the
use
of
illicit
drugs

one
more
strike
against
the
bogus
theory
that
cannabis
is
a
gateway
drug.



Zoe
Sigman
is
Project

CBD
’s
Program
Director.



Copyright,
Project

CBD
.
May
not
be
reprinted
without

permission
.


 

Footnotes

 

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