Cannabis and alcohol use go hand in hand

Cannabis and alcohol use go hand in hand

Is there a significant association between alcohol and cannabis use in adults? The National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol Use and Related Disorders explored this theory in a three-year study of adults in the United States, and the results are in.

The study found that adults who use marijuana are at an increased risk of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) over a three-year timeframe.

Dr. Lara Segalite, a psychiatrist with Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill., believes that we need community-based and clinical programs to monitor this problem.

“Those using cannabis treatment programs should also be monitored for alcohol use,” says Dr. Segalite. “Education on the link between addictions should also be integrated into the program.”

According to the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), when people mix cannabis and alcohol together at one time, the results can be unpredictable. The effects of either drug may be more powerful, or the combination may produce different and unpredictable reactions, including but not limited to nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

“People sometimes try substituting one drug for another,” says Dr. Segalite. “Trying to cut back on one drug may end up in more use of the other drug to help manage the symptoms of reducing the first drug.”

Dr. Segalite says, for example, some people giving up cannabis may experience anxiety and take up drinking alcohol to help them relax and combat the anxiety.

“This type of drug use is dangerous and can result in a person having problems with both drugs instead of one,” she says.

Dr. Segalite says people should remember that they don’t have to go through addiction treatment alone. Consult with a physician for help and to receive more information about available support resources.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.