As marijuana continues to find legal and social acceptance throughout the nation, researchers are trying to determine the potential public health consequences. A new study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has yielded evidence that there is a significant link between cannabis use and the development of alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Cannabis Increases AUD Vulnerability for Adults
The study* of 27,461 adults who were enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions revealed two significant relationships that warrant further study:
- Adults with no history of AUD who began using cannabis were five times more likely to have developed an AUD after three years than study participants who had never used cannabis.
- Adults who had a history of AUD before cannabis use were more likely to still be experiencing AUD, compared with those who had not used cannabis and were successfully in recovery after the three years of the study.
Potential Risk for Youth
Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, notes that “further research should 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.”
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*Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. (2016, February 17). Marijuana smokers 5 times more likely to develop an alcohol problem. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 22, 2016.