Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Study: Young cannabis users drinking less alcohol

A new industry study found that 60 percent of cannabis users have cut back on alcohol consumption in the last 20 years.
FILE – A protestor holds a joint during the hemp-parade demanding the legalization of cannabis in Berlin, Aug. 2, 2008. Germany’s health minister has unveiled plans to decriminalize the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis and allow the sale of the substance to adults for recreational purposes. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns, File)

Story at a glance


  • New research released by international investment bank Cowen Inc. shows that younger consumers are drinking less alcohol.

  • The study shows that 60 percent of cannabis users have cut back on drinking.

  •  That decline mostly comes from younger cannabis users.

A recently released study

from international investment bank Cowen Inc. found that 60 percent of cannabis users cut back on drinking, with most of that decline stemming from younger users.

Report crafters analyzed almost 20 years of government survey and spending data along with Nielsen and Cowen’s Consumer Survey to analyze alcohol and cannabis consumption trends.


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More than 8 million people were surveyed as part of the report.  

While alcohol consumption among cannabis users is common, the report shows the percentage of marijuana users who also drink has fallen from 90 to 79 percent between 2002 and 2020.  

Meanwhile, the percentage of 18- to 25-year-old drinkers who also use cannabis has gone up from 25 to 32 percent during that same time period.  

The findings prompted study crafters to conclude that “legal cannabis states are showing slower alcohol growth.”  

Cowen Inc’s study findings go against earlier reports that have linked easier access to cannabis to higher alcohol consumption.  

One study published in JAMA Health Forum last month, found that the passage of recreational cannabis laws were linked to a 0.9 percentage point increase in alcohol consumption across the United States.  

Researchers behind the JAMA Health Forum looked at data gathered between 2010 and 2019 on more thsn 4 million U.S. adults between