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Study: Medical Cannabis is Linked to Reduction in Alcohol Use

The deliberate use of medical cannabis to reduce alcohol consumption was linked to a greater likelihood of reducing and ceasing alcohol use after starting medical cannabis


Tilray is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis and cannabinoids currently serving tens of thousands of patients and consumers in 13 countries spanning five...

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NANAIMO, BC, CANADA — October 28, 2020 /CNW/ — Research led by Philippe Lucas, a graduate researcher at the University of Victoria and VP of global patient research and access at Tilray, has found that medical cannabis use is associated with self-reported reductions and even discontinuation of alcohol use amongst authorized Canadian patients.

The results stem from the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey 2019 (CCPS 2019), a large national cross-sectional survey that gathered comprehensive information on patient demographics, patterns of cannabis use, and self-reported use of prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs before and after medical cannabis initiation from 2102 Canadian medical cannabis patients registered with Tilray, a global pioneer in medical cannabis research and production.

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"The results of CCPS 2019 add to a growing body of evidence that medical cannabis use is often associated with reductions in the use of other substances, including alcohol, opioids, tobacco and illicit drugs" says Lucas. "Since alcohol is the most prevalent recreational substance in the world, and its use results in significant rates of criminality, morbidity and mortality, these findings may result in improved health outcomes for medical cannabis patients, as well as overall improvements in public health and safety."

These results were recently published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in a paper titled, "Reductions in alcohol use following medical cannabis initiation: results from a large cross-sectional survey of medical cannabis patients in Canada," co-authored by Susan Boyd (University of Victoria), M-J Milloy (University of British Columbia), and Zach Walsh (University of British Columbia, Okanagan).

Overall, 973 survey participants reported past or current alcohol use, with 419 (44%) reporting decreases in alcohol usage frequency over 30 days, 323 (34%) decreasing the number of standard drinks they had per week, and 76 (8%) reporting no alcohol use at all in the 30 days prior to the survey. Being younger than 55 years and reporting higher rates of alcohol use prior to initiating medical cannabis use were both associated with greater odds of reducing alcohol use, and having an intention to use medical cannabis to reduce alcohol consumption was associated with significantly greater odds of both reducing and ceasing alcohol use altogether.