Binge drinking has dropped in states with legal cannabis
A new study by Cowen and Co. suggests that in states where cannabis has been made legal, binge drinking rates have dropped as much as 9 percent below the national average. People in Washington self-reported that about 15.6% of adults had four or more drinks in one sitting in the past month (the established definition of a drinking binge). But that’s much lower than the national average of 17.4%. We’ve heard stats like this before — cannabis obviously has fewer calories than alcohol, so that’s one plus about it, and the “hangover” from cannabis is often much less than alcohol, so as it becomes legal in more places, it’s no surprise that people who used to drink heavily are drinking less and (presumably) using cannabis more often.
It’s not a full change just yet — alcohol is still used much more widely than cannabis in the US, and as popular as cannabis is in states where it’s legal, it’s still not used by a majority of legal adults (about 40% report regular use).
But of course, things are continuing to change quickly. As cannabis becomes more regulated and widely accepted across the country, the alcohol industry may continue to see drops in sales and consumption as former drinkers turn to using cannabis instead.