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5 Areas Where Cannabis & Alcohol Actually Do Cross Paths

One heals while one causes hurt, but they do have a few common places

Posted by BehindTheWaves on Friday Mar 9, 2018

5 Areas Where Cannabis & Alcohol Actually Do Cross Paths

Cannabis and alcohol have never really shared the same playing field. But with the increasing momentum of the legalization movement, the two pastimes are starting to rub elbows with each other as they enter many of the same spaces. It’s worth examining how these two cultural mainstays interact, so here are five areas where cannabis and alcohol have interesting influences on each other. 


  • Cocktails
    In some cases, cannabis and alcohol mix in the most literal way possible. Cannabis cocktails have become a sensation in some of the more progressive culinary circles across the country, often served alongside gourmet dishes with a bevy of complex flavors.

    A lot of the time, these cocktails make use of liquor infused with regular cannabis, meaning that there is a good amount of THC involved. While new cannabis consumers should steer clear of the double trouble that is a cannabis cocktail, everyone can enjoy the novelty of one infused with only CBD.

    One California restaurant began serving 15 different CBD-infused cocktails to celebrate the end of prohibition in the state. They won’t get you stoned, since CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but they do contain a host of unique flavors that make for a one-of-a-kind food pairing experience.      
  • Sales
    Two United States universities and a third from Lima, Peru embarked on a joint 10-year study to see what kind of influence medical marijuana has had on alcohol sales. They looked at 90 different alcohol chain stores between 2006 and 2015, and compared the alcohol sales of states that didn’t have medical marijuana programs against those that did. The results of this study showed that states with medical marijuana saw a 15% drop in monthly sales of alcohol.

    The takeaway here is that cannabis and alcohol function as strong substitutes for each other, and compete for some of the same audience. This has led to some big players in the alcohol industry trying to get in on the cannabis boom.

    Constellation Brands, for example, bought a 9.9% stake in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. While you may not be familiar with the Constellation name, you’ve definitely heard of their top offerings: Corona, Modelo, and Svedka. Under the guidance of Canopy Growth, Constellation hopes to create a range of weed-infused adult beverages.

    Amid the lightning-fast developments in legal weed, it seems at least a few booze barons have realized that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!
  • Liver Health
    We all know alcohol is bad for your health, and especially for your liver. Given that the liver is your largest organ and crucial for a number of functions in the body, it’s in your best interest to steer clear of the booze and stick to bud. But according to the most recent study on the subject, it turns out that cannabis can actually have protective effects against the ravages of alcohol.

    The results of the study state that “among alcohol users, individuals who additionally use cannabis (dependent and non-dependent cannabis use) showed significantly lower odds of developing AS, AH, AC and HCC”. Those conditions are alcoholic steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, respectively.

    So, the famed anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis extend to the liver, and using more cannabis seems to compound the protective effects. The study’s lead investigator specified: “We found that if people are using cannabis in the dependent manner, they actually are much more protected from alcoholic liver disease.”  
  • Distribution Systems
    Remember how Nevada nearly ran out of weed in the weeks following legalization? That was partially thanks to some odd political maneuvering by the state’s alcohol distributors.

    After legalization measures were initially approved, alcohol wholesalers got exclusive rights to transport cannabis from growers to dispensaries. But when Nevada’s tax department contacted every licensed alcohol wholesaler operating in the state, they claimed that only a few wholesalers demonstrated interest, and that no actual business plans were prepared. Only one wholesaler had applied before the deadline.

    Since a lack of distributors meant a massive bottleneck in the supply chain, the state decided to open up applications for distributions licenses, so that the rollout could continue smoothly. But the wholesalers weren’t having that. They filed a complaint claiming that their exclusive rights to distribution licenses were being violated, but luckily the tax commissioners passed temporary licensing rules to allow other players into the arena.

    According to the wholesalers’ attorney, their goal was not to delay the rollout of legal weed. However, given the conflicting stories surrounding the legal battle, it looks like the alcohol industry was making a power play to stall what they perceived as a threat to their business.           
  • Addiction
    Alcohol abuse is a huge issue in America. Approximately 30% of US adults have had an alcohol use disorder at some point, and about 14% abuse alcohol in a given year. People with alcohol use disorders or alcoholism overwhelmingly opt out of getting treatment, due in part to the fear that it won’t work, as well as the stigma.

    Luckily for some, cannabis shows promise as an addiction treatment aid. There are multiple groups who use “marijuana maintenance” to reduce the urge to drink, and stay sober more successfully. While it’s still controversial, at least one rehab center has embraced the idea of cannabis inclusive treatment for addictions including alcoholism.

    While it’s still a very contentious method of reducing or eliminating alcohol intake, personal anecdotes about the efficacy of cannabis make the connection hard to ignore.


As cannabis continues to grow in acceptance, alcohol is going to have to give up some of its elbow room. As both industries jockey for business, we’re sure to learn a lot more about how they coexist.


Spencer Grey is a staff writer at Smoking Outlet, purveyors of fine dab rigs and water pipes.


5 Areas Where Marijuana & Alcohol Actually Do Cross Paths from CannabisNet on Vimeo.








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