A new study based off of analysis of Washington residents shows that people who use marijuana and alcohol together are at a higher risk of engaging in dangerous activities. Additionally, these people are more likely than others who only smoke marijuana or only drink alcohol to engage in behavior that they later regret. Researchers are publishing these results in an attempt to educate adults on the dangers of mixing substances.
Two years after marijuana was legalized in Washington, researchers began collecting data related to marijuana use. Among the questions they were looking to answer, was how many people used marijuana while also consuming alcohol. Prior to the passing of recreational marijuana use for adults over 21, some people worried that legalization would increase the likelihood of drug mixing. So, researchers included this question in the survey they sent around to Washington residents.
The survey included 24,000 people in the state who reported drinking alcohol in the past year. Of those, 18% admitted to usually consuming alcohol and marijuana together. A closer look at that group showed that these people tended to drink more frequently and in greater amounts than those that consumed alcohol without marijuana. Researchers were able to further conclude that this group of people were four times more likely to have health issues related to the mixing of the two substances, 6.5 times more likely to drive under the influence and 6.5% more likely to have financial problems.
“People who use both [marijuana and alcohol] should probably use them separately,” cautioned Meenaksi Subbaraman, researcher and biostatistician at the Alcohol Research Group. This simple statement regarding her team’s research may be exactly what some residents need to hear. Instead of arguing belief systems or what should or shouldn’t be allowed by law, Subbaraman cautions mixing substances. We of course feel that people should abstain from both substances. Thankfully, marijuana is still illegal in Florida, but we see clients from all over the country.
Mixing any sort of drug with other drugs or alcohol increases the potential danger to the user exponentially. Now that marijuana has become legal in a few more states, it is increasingly important to remind people of the additional dangers associated with using both alcohol and marijuana.
If you have a loved one with a substance abuse problem, contact us today for more information about our programs and how we can help.