A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

According to a recent federally funded study, people who live in places where recreational marijuana is allowed had lower rates of alcohol use disorder (AUD) than people who reside in areas where cannabis is still prohibited. Researchers studied 240 sets of twins where one twin resided in a state where marijuana use is allowed while the other does not.

They discovered that although there was no significant difference in overall alcohol consumption, people who lived in places where marijuana was legal were “less likely to risk injury while under the influence of alcohol” than their twin who lived in a state where marijuana was still illegal.

The researchers from the University of Colorado and the University of Minnesota concluded that “recreational legalization was associated with higher cannabis usage and decreased AUD symptoms but was not connected with other maladaptations.” However, the peer-reviewed study issued a warning that this data is “difficult to interpret and needs greater exploration in future work.”

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

“We Established Evidence that Suggests Cannabis Legalization Causes a 0.11 Standard Deviation Increase in Cannabis Frequency, Whereas Aud Symptoms Decreased by 0.11 Standard Deviations Driven by Reductions in The Use of Alcohol when Physically Hazardous.”

It was published last week in the journal Psychological Medicine. The authors made an effort to quantify the impacts of cannabis use for recreational purposes on substance use, daily functioning, and the susceptibility of vulnerable individuals to potentially adverse effects.

The findings indicated legalization might be associated with higher cannabis use, cigarette use, and financial distress but not with an increase in cannabis use disorder. According to the researchers, “we assessed a broad variety of outcomes, including other substance use, substance dependency, disordered personality, externalizing and legal difficulties, relationship agreement, workplace behavior, civic involvement, and cognition.”

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

However, they concluded that “the majority of these domains did not experience any negative or protective effects, and we did not discover any enhanced sensitivity provided by existing risk factors.” The reason why the researchers’ findings did not show a correlation between the legalization of cannabis and an increase in psychosocial disorders may be because adult-use marijuana laws may increase consumption among occasional or light users rather than heavy users regardless of criminalization, according to the researchers.

“vulnerabilities to Cannabis Use Were Not Exacerbated by The Legal Cannabis Environment.”

The study, which was funded by funding from the National Institutes of Health, came to the conclusion that “continuing to target proven risk factors rather than focusing on availability may be the best way to undertake preventative and intervention initiatives.”

Although the findings “imply that cannabis consumption is without risk, only that we do not identify meaningful changes in these negative outcomes as a result of legalization,” the authors cautioned that they are “reassuring with respect to public health concerns around recreational cannabis legalization.”

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

The twin living in a recreational state used cannabis on average more frequently and had fewer AUD symptoms than their co-twin living in a non-recreational state, according to the co-twin control design that took into account earlier cannabis frequency and alcohol use disorder symptoms, respectively.

“In the co-twin design, the legalization of cannabis was not linked to any other negative outcomes, including cannabis use disorder. In order to predict any outcome, no risk factor significantly interacted with legalization status”

For the study, researchers used a co-twin model to account for early cannabis and alcohol use disorder symptoms while attempting to adjust for socialization- and genetic-related variables. Prior to the first states legalizing cannabis in 2014, the twins were first evaluated in adolescence as part of longitudinal research. They now range in age from 24 to 49.

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

The study does have certain limitations, as the authors themselves noted. For instance, not all effects of cannabis usage, such as those on physical health, sleep, and motivation, or on conditions like depression and bipolar disorder, were assessed.

In addition, they acknowledged that the participants in their study were “an adult community sample broadly characterized by low levels of substance use and psychosocial dysfunction,” which they claimed limited their ability to “generalize relationships between legalization, outcomes, and risk factors for the individuals at greatest risk.”

According to the report, the pros and cons of cannabis use account for a sizable amount of the discussion surrounding legalization. Many proponents of legalization think cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco. However, a significant GOP House caucus in October published a “Family Policy Agenda” opposing legalization and attempting to tie its usage to violence and suicide.

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

Cannabis use disorder can be linked to issues with the use of other drugs, mental illness, cognitive function, motivation, employment, and interpersonal interactions in some marijuana users. According to some data, in states where cannabis use is still illegal, people start using it younger, use it more frequently, and drive while impaired more frequently.

Cannabis use among teenagers remained steady throughout 2022, according to a recent nationally funded Monitoring the Future poll, despite additional states legalizing the drug and the relaxation of pandemic restrictions that kept many children at home with their parents.

Another study found no link between increased youth use of cannabis and state-level legalization and was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. According to the study, “young people who spent more of their adolescence under legalization were no more nor less likely to have used cannabis at age 15 years than young people who spent little or no time under legalization.”

A Federally Funded Twin Study Found Lower Alcohol Use Disorder Rates in States With Legal Marijuana!

In a study published in the journal PLOS One last year, researchers from Michigan State University suggested that in states where marijuana is legal, “cannabis retail sales might be followed by the increased occurrence of cannabis onsets for older adults,” “but not for underage persons who cannot buy cannabis products in a retail outlet.”

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