Does cannabis use lead to more drinking, or to less?
The answer to that question has been as elusive as the chicken or the egg quandary.
Some studies suggest that people who consume cannabis are likely to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities. According to other research, people sometimes swap margaritas or mugs of beer for cannabis, leading to less drinking.
A few years ago, a group of scientists at the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington in Seattle looked at the association between drinking and cannabis by reviewing the reports that had been done on alcohol use in states that had legalized marijuana in some form. Their conclusion: it's complicated.
“It is likely that the relationship between marijuana and alcohol varies for different segments of the population, and the type and course of marijuana and alcohol use,” the researchers found.
Now, some innovative new research conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder's Center for Health and Neuroscience, Genes, and Environment (CUChange), suggests that the impact cannabis has on drinking may have a lot to do with the THC and cannabidiol (CBD) content of specific strains.
“In light of the different effects of THC and CBD on the brain and throughout the body, we wanted to explore whether or not those effects depend upon the actual cannabinoids ingested,” said Hollis Karoly, a postdoctoral research associate at CUChange.
The researchers also wanted to improve on the cannabis-alcohol studies that had already been done. Many had rodents as their subjects. And even studies that had human participants often relied on cannabis sourced from farms in Mississippi …