Study shows students binge drink less often with access to legal weed

Published Jan 13, 2020 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / TasiPas

Drinking alcohol is a rite of passage in many parts of the world, as it is something governed by a legal age that typically aligns with becoming an adult. Most regions set this age minimum between 18 and 21 years, to avoid potential long-term damage to developing brains. Despite this large gap of breathing space, most can attest to the fact that many young and old adults still make terrible decisions, which in the case of alcohol leads us to the topic at hand, binge drinking.

Binge drinking is something that many college-aged students use to take the edge off a stressful week full of classes, tests, and life-altering scores, and it’s long been considered a socially acceptable fact. Unfortunately, cases of drunk driving, alcohol poisoning and other alcohol-related incidents kill thousands of people every single year, which makes it one of our many traditions that should be slowly aged out of society.

If you are wondering what our stressed to the max students will be able to use instead, then you must read up on the latest research in regards to legal weed and its impact on binge drinking incidents, because the results are astounding and life-altering, and it could be the solution that so many of us have been waiting for. That’s right, smoking weed can help us to reduce the problem of binge drinking by replacing it with something newer and better.

What is binge drinking?

For those who aren’t quite sure what it means to binge drink, it isn’t a glass or two, but too many after a hearty dinner. Though that is technically overconsuming, binge drinking is where someone ingests massive and often dangerous amounts of alcohol. This can lead to impairment and scarier incidents like blacking out or alcohol poisoning, and it can happen any time after your first few spiked beverages.

Some will binge drink on weekends to forget about the week, while others have true problems with alcoholism and consume far too much of the mind-altering substance on a regular basis, however, the dangers impact both groups of individuals equally. Binge drinking means something slightly different to everyone, but it essentially means that you drink so much that it could be hazardous to your health, both long and short term.

The research on the effects of smoking weed on binge drinking rates

The enlightening study took place across the United States, where some regions have legalized cannabis and others that have kept it illegal for recreational purposes. For the research, binge drinkers were defined as consuming 5 or more drinks at any time in the last 2 weeks, which means that it is also relevant for many of those who might be considered to be casual weekend drinkers.

The study included participants who were 21 years of age and older, as that is the legal minimum age to consume alcohol in the United States. What they found were states which offered some form of legal marijuana, so that citizens could enjoy smoking weed rather than drinking, had a 6% lower rate of binge drinking when compared to those without it.

It turns out that most people who hit legal age have easier access to alcohol products, which means that they are much more likely to drink, but those who have the option of choosing cannabis instead, are a bit more likely to do so. Though this might not be the end-all solution to an age-old problem, it is an excellent start, and even more reason for every region in the world to make smoking weed something that all legal aged consumers have the option of choosing as a preferred substance of choice.

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