Alcohol Res. 2022 Mar 17;42(1):06. doi: 10.35946/arcr.v42.1.06. eCollection 2022.
PURPOSE: The liberalization of cannabis policies has the potential to affect the use of other substances and the harms from using them, particularly alcohol. Although a previous review of this literature found conflicting results regarding the relationship between cannabis policy and alcohol-related outcomes, cannabis policies have continued to evolve rapidly in the years since that review.
SEARCH METHODS: The authors conducted a narrative review of studies published between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2020, that assessed the effects of cannabis policies on the use of alcohol in the United States or Canada.
SEARCH RESULTS: The initial search identified 3,446 unique monographs. Of these, 23 met all inclusion criteria and were included in the review, and five captured simultaneous or concurrent use of alcohol and cannabis.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Associations between cannabis policy liberalization and alcohol use, alcohol-related outcomes, and the co-use of alcohol and cannabis were inconclusive, with studies finding positive associations, no associations, and negative associations. Although several studies found that cannabis policy liberalization was associated with decreases in alcohol use measures, these same studies showed no impact of the cannabis policy on cannabis use itself. The lack of a consistent association was robust to subject age, outcome measure (e.g., use, medical utilization, driving), and type of cannabis policy; however, this may be due to the small number of studies for each type of outcome. This paper discusses several notable limitations of the evidence base and offers suggestions for improving consistency and comparability of research going forward, including a stronger classification of cannabis policy, inclusion of measures of the alcohol policy environment, verification of the impact of cannabis policy on cannabis use, and consideration of mediation effects.
Source: ncbi 2