Alcohol, tobacco, and prescription pain medication use drops as cannabis is legalized

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Research proves that cannabis is not a gateway drug as previously assumed

While it is true that to this day marijuana remains illegal before the federal government, many states in the country have decided to legalize its use and sale, with half of these states taking it to a recreational level. Based on these facts, one study found that as cannabis continues to be legalized, a drop in the use of tobacco, alcohol, and painkillers is reported.

Many opponents point to marijuana as a “gateway” drug to the use of other potentially more dangerous controlled substances. However, these claims have been thoroughly debunked by various bodies of research. Many feared that legalization would result in an increase in the use of other drugs, but it appears that the opposite is true.

Scientists at the University of Washington conducted a recent study to assess trends in the use of nicotine, alcohol, and over-the-counter painkillers in Washington State after cannabis was legalized. About 12,500 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were part of this study.

The results showed that there has been a decrease in the prevalence of alcohol use in the past month, binge drinking, cigarette smoking, and painkiller abuse in the past year. “Contrary to concerns about spillover effects, the implementation of legalized non-medical cannabis coincided with decreases in alcohol and cigarette consumption and painkiller misuse,” the researchers said.

The authors added that these recent findings are in line with the large body of evidence that makes it clear that the legalization of recreational cannabis has not led to dramatic increases in alcohol, cigarette, and nonprescription opioid use. Other research has supported that alcohol consumption has declined since marijuana became a part of many people’s lives.