No Easy Answers In Uw Study Of Legal Marijuana’s Impact On Alcohol Use | Eurekalert! Science News

The issue is particularly complicated in Washington state, which legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012 after privatizing liquor sales the previous year. As a result, the uptick in alcohol sales made it difficult to isolate the impacts of legalized marijuana on drinking from the change in alcohol policy. The researchers concluded that there’s evidence of marijuana and alcohol being both substitutes and complements. Given the rapidly evolving landscape of marijuana policy, they say further study will be important to understand how changes in marijuana laws impact the use of alcohol and other drugs. In particular, Guttmannova said, future studies should address specific dimensions of marijuana policies, timing of policy change and implementation, and different aspects of marijuana and alcohol use, such as age of users and whether they are episodic or regular consumers. “This is a complicated issue and requires a nuanced approach,” she said. “We were hoping to have more clear-cut answers at the end of our research. But you know what? This is the science of human behavior, and it’s messy, and that’s OK.” ### Co-authors at the UW Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors are Associate Director Christine Lee, professor of psychiatry Mary Larimer, assistant professor of psychiatry Jason Kilmer, and research assistant professor Issac Rhew. Other co-authors are UW School of Social Work lecturer and investigator Charles Fleming and Social Development Research Group investigator Rick Kosterman. The research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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