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Adult Pot Smokers 5 Times More Likely to Have Alcohol Problem

Adult Pot Smokers 5 Times More Likely to Have Alcohol Problem

In a new study, researchers discovered a strong association between adults who use marijuana and the development of an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Investigators from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York found that adult marijuana smokers were five times more likely to have an alcohol abuse or dependency problem, as compared to adults who do not use the drug.

Researchers also found that adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist.

The study results appear online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“Our results suggest that cannabis use appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to developing an alcohol use disorder, even among those without any history of this,” said Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., at the Mailman School of Public Health.

“Marijuana use also appears to increase the likelihood that an existing alcohol use disorder will continue over time.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 27,461 adults enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions who first used marijuana at a time when they had no lifetime history of alcohol use disorders.

The population was assessed at two time points. Adults who had used marijuana at the first assessment and again over the following three years (23 percent) were five times more likely to develop an alcohol use problem, compared with those who had not used marijuana (five percent).

Adult problem drinkers who did not use cannabis were significantly more likely to be in recovery from alcohol use disorders three years later.

“From a public health standpoint we recommend that further research be conducted to understand the pathways underlying these relationships as well as the degree to which various potentially vulnerable population subgroups —¬†youth, for example — are at increased risk,” noted Goodwin.

“If future research confirms these findings, investigating whether preventing or delaying first use of marijuana might reduce the risk of developing alcohol use disorders among some segments of the population may be worthwhile.”

Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health/EurekAlert

Adult Pot Smokers 5 Times More Likely to Have Alcohol Problem

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Adult Pot Smokers 5 Times More Likely to Have Alcohol Problem. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 18 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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