Marijuana Users at Increased Risk for Alcoholism

Marijuana Users at Heightened Risk for Alcoholism

Is marijuana the gateway drug that leads to alcoholism?  A new study claims that there is indeed a positive correlation to marijuana and alcohol use.  In fact, the study asserts that marijuana users are five times more likely to engage in alcohol use and have a disorder.

Marijuana Smokers & Alcoholism

At the start of the new millennium, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) oversaw a significantly large study of unprecedented nature. It was referred to as the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, or the acronym NESARC.

NESARC surveyed 27,461 adults with the goal of observing comorbidity – the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient.  The study objectively monitored numerous variables and factors, such as consumption preferences and past history with drugs, alcohol and tobacco use.  

Rebooted Study

The study piggybacked off the original findings using the data points gathered from the NESARC study, a new group was assembled and analyzed the metrics to determine if there was a link between marijuana use and alcoholism.  They observed two separate data markers in the study: adults who had no previous alcohol abuse issues and had partaken in marijuana upon commencement of the study (“first assessment”), and those subjects who had been regular interval marijuana users for three years prior to the study.  

What interesting fact they noted is that those who indulged in marijuana at the first assessment and during the three-year timeframe after the study were five times as likely to develop an alcohol disorder as opposed to those who didn’t engage in marijuana use.  

Moreover, the group of study participants who did have an alcohol disorder at the first assessment were considerably more likely to be involved in recovery from their alcoholism then when not using marijuana.  

The Ramifications

A collaborator on the study Renee Goodwin said the data demonstrates a clear link between problematic alcohol use and marijuana usage.  “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.”

She elaborated further stating that ongoing research is necessary to comprehend these implications and to assess how to approach those who are at heightened risk. “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.”

Help is Available for Those with a Disorder

With the recent legislation aimed at legalizing marijuana in several states inside America there is a new wave of acceptance and tolerance for marijuana.  This has caused some people to loosen their stance on marijuana and consider using for the perceived medicinal benefits.  However, just like alcohol marijuana carries with it a number of potential unintended consequences.  Marijuana is a strong and potent drug regardless of the popular opinion, and it must be treated with care and respect.  Marijuana can easily cause one to become dependent and then segue into other drugs as as it begins to lose its effectiveness over time.  

If you are tired of battling your addiction to marijuana or alcohol and need help from professionals give us a call.  We specialize in situations like yours and are here for you every step of the way.  If you know someone who may need our help give us call as well.  We’ve successfully entered countless numbers of people into recovery and treatment programs across the nation.  Don’t waste another day of your life addicted. Call us at 1-877-721-7719.


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