Students Binge Drink Less When Weed Is Legal, Study Finds

Students in states with legal recreational weed are less likely to drink heavily than in states where it’s still illegal, a new study has found. 

As 21 is the legal age to buy alcohol in the U.S, the effect was seen only in students 21 and older.

Still, this study highlights how the availability of cannabis can represent a healthier alternative to consuming large amounts of alcohol – something that is commonplace on student campus’ in the U.S and the UK. 

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New study

With binge drinking was defined as consuming five or more drinks at one time in the past two weeks, the study found that states with recreational cannabis laws had six percent less chance of binge drinking among students 21 and over.

Researchers concluded that if cannabis and alcohol were equally available from legal sources – like in Oregon – fewer people would turn to alcohol and there would be lowered incidences of problems associated with alcohol use.

The study looked at ten years’ worth of data from a survey of American university students that had 1.1 million participants.


Over in Canada, where cannabis was legalised recreationally a year ago, there’s little sign of reduced alcohol consumption. However, some think that cutting-edge cannabis beverages that offer a fast-acting effect may be the product to change that.

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Previous studies in legal states have not clearly demonstrated the theory that alcohol sales drop following cannabis legalisation. While some have shown this, others have shown an increase in alcohol consumption and some have showed no change. 

Stoners vs drunks

Either way, it is well established that cannabis is far less harmful than alcohol – as well as offering many therapeutic uses – and a culture of binge drinking has huge negative repercussions on society. 

If more people choose to smoke a joint or two instead of downing drinks and hitting the town centre to cause trouble, the world would be a healthier, happier place. 

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