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Marijuana Legalization Reduces Binge Drinking, Study Finds


According to a new study in the journal Addictive Behaviors, states with a recreational marijuana law are associated with reduced rates of binge drinking by college students.

Researchers compared self-reported alcohol and drug use for almost one million college students over a period of ten years (2008 to 2018), NORML reported. The discovered that binge drinking pervasiveness among students between the ages of 21 and 26 fell by 10% in locations where recreational marijuana is legal.

“[F]or students ages 21 years and over, binge drinking decreased following RML (recreational marijuana legalization),” the researchers reported. “We speculate that legalizing recreational marijuana use may temper this [increased alcohol use by minors after they reach the legal drinking age] effect, such that college students over the age of 21 who otherwise would have engaged in binge drinking continue using marijuana instead. … [A] substitution effect of RML on college students’ binge drinking could have important public health implications.”

Researchers found no increases for the use of any other drugs than marijuana, except for prescription sedatives by students under 21.