What's new
Addiction Culture Featured Health Lifestyle Medical Cannabis Opinion

Does Smoking Pot Make You Want to Drink Less?

smoking pot drink less
Written by Sarah Friedman

It seems today, everyone wants to quit something, and not everyone is having an easy time of it. Whether you’re going to therapy, trying some quick fix being advertised on TV, or depending on will power, it’s hard to change from hard-set patterns. So, it’s always nice to know when a better method might be out there. While it might not be an answer for everyone, there is plenty of evidence to indicate that smoking pot could help a person drink less.

With all the damage caused by drinking, the best answer might be in a form of contraband. The evidence is building that smoking pot can make a person want to drink less, and this could be beneficial to tons of people suffering from alcohol addiction! We’re all about the most important cannabis-related stories of today; so subscribe to the THC Weekly Newsletter to stay up on all the current news going on. Also, it’ll get you premium access to deals on cannabis flowers, vapes, edibles, and much more! We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!


Let’s be honest, we all have them. Some people can’t handle money in their pocket, and feel the urge to spend what they have. Some go further, betting what they have and hoping to get more, even despite losses that leave them with less. Some people are addicted to going from bed to bed, despite the risk of disease, and some love modifying their bodies so much, that it becomes a constant in life. And some just want to change their mental state, and will take anything to that end, even if it ruins their health.

Having said that, some of the issues with certain substances, are the dangers they pose to life and health. Because of this, the idea of ‘drugs’ is understood to be ‘dangerous’. Does this apply to all drugs we’re told are dangerous? Absolutely not! And the current situation with both cannabis and psychedelics, is a great example. While both are Schedule I, both categories are generally considered not only to be medically safe, but are useful for helping to deal with other medical situations. This really shines a light on how misinformed governing bodies can be. Or perhaps how corrupt they are.

So, while cannabis and psychedelics certainly don’t deserve the treatment they’ve received, (and we sure don’t deserve having good things restricted from us), some substances really do carry the dangers we’re told about. And some have even more than what is expected for how they’re treated. Because, as cannabis and psychedelics sit in Schedule I federally, alcohol is so ubiquitous, it can be found nearly everywhere with a cash register. It’s also the substance with one of the highest rates of death and disability, and a cause of all kinds of violence, accidents, and disease, everywhere in the world.


Can smoking pot make a person drink less – the evidence

I think it’s always important to mention that people are different. Just like smoking pot makes some people relaxed and happy, the very same bud can make someone else incredibly anxious. So, the idea of what can be useful, is not necessarily going to be relevant to everyone. However, oftentimes, even if we’re all different, something can stand out as working for a substantial amount of people.

What is one of those things that keeps popping up? That smoking more pot often leads a person to drink less alcohol. This is seen in an Australian study from 2014 called Changes in cigarette and alcohol use during cannabis abstinence. The study specifically looked at if people quitting cannabis, in turn drank more. The study was

“a secondary analysis of a prospective community-based study quantified cannabis, alcohol and tobacco use with Timeline Follow-back during a two-week voluntary cannabis abstinence and at one-month follow-up in non-treatment seeking cannabis users. Cannabis use was verified by urine THC-COOH levels.”

What was found? That alcohol use greatly increased when abstaining from cannabis. Not only that, these increases went away when cannabis use was resumed. The longer a person abstained from cannabis (all the way through to the one-month follow-up), the less the alcohol increases were noticeable. And at a one-month follow-up, most had resumed smoking pot, and did not show alcohol increases anymore, but rather were back to drinking less alcohol. When drinking did increase, it wasn’t by a small amount, but by an average of eight standard units.

More evidence

That’s not the only study to show this connection between smoking pot and and the desire to drink less. The Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey of 2019, which was sponsored by Tilray (a cannabis and pharmaceutical company), is a national and cross-sectional study. One of its major findings is that almost 44% of respondents who were drinkers prior to using medical cannabis, reported drinking less while using medical cannabis.

Another is this observational study: Effects of cannabis use on alcohol consumption in a sample of treatment-engaged heavy drinkers in Colorado, where it was found that drinkers who were trying to drink less, and who also used cannabis, seemed to use less alcohol on days they consumed the cannabis. The 96 participants used in the study, were a subset of an initial 182 participants enrolled in a larger randomized controlled study about drinking. The subset was created based on whether participants use cannabis or not.

smoking pot

A last example I have is actually a personal one. It deals with a friend I’ve had for many years. This guy is currently getting divorced from his wife over his drinking habits, and despite five trips to rehab, and watching his own friend die from too much heavy drinking, has not been able to quit. This guy actually marks his bottles to keep track of how much he drinks, and this is why I brought him up.

As someone who supports the use of psychedelic for addiction issues, I have repeatedly encouraged him to seek out an addiction study using psychedelics in order to get treatment. I also encouraged him to do what this article is about, use more weed in an effort to drink less. And to be honest, he wasn’t up for it, because it meant paying for both. However, when a friend of his left a bag of weed at his house, he found himself as his own inadvertent study subject.

He said smoking the weed made his drinking go down by a third. And whereas some drinkers might not track what they consume, he does, by way of marking his bottles. He said he didn’t think about it at the time, and it wasn’t something he actually noticed in his behavior. But that he could see the end result on his bottles, and in how frequently he had to buy a new one. Far as I know he did not keep this up when the bag ran out, but it does help support the idea that smoking pot could lead to less drinking.

How bad is alcohol?

One thing to understand about cannabis, is that regardless of the smear campaigns out there, it has no death toll attached. This isn’t to say that a person can’t get sick, particularly from consuming too much THC, something that has been known to happen with edibles, or mislabeled products. It might not help everyone drive better, but as weed has been highly available forever, and the idea of driving and smoking never registered much before, it’s illogical to assume that suddenly this would change. Meaning we might get told about a few isolated incidences more, but there also seems to be no real issue here. And certainly not when being compared to alcohol. How bad is alcohol for our collective heath?

A 2018 study found that approximately three million deaths worldwide were attributable to drinking in 2016. This study encompassed 195 countries and looked at the years from 1990-2016. It also found absolutely no safe amount of alcohol consumption, with no medical value at any level. In terms of the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors, the 2016 study, which used 694 data points and investigated individual and population alcohol consumption, including 592 related studies, found this information:

In 2016, alcohol was the 7th place holder worldwide for death and disability-adjusted life year (DALY), a measurement of overall health burden due to time lost to sickness, disability, and death. DALY’s are used to show differences in health and life expectancy between countries. In the 15-49 age group, alcohol was the primary risk factor for death and disability. As in the #1 factor. This beat out cardiovascular issues, respiratory issues, and any other drug use.

drink less

In fact, it even makes the opioid epidemic seem like nothing. And yet, there are painfully few countries that don’t promote the use of alcohol. Including the US of A. Not only that, but the majority (excluding the US of A), allow it starting at the age of 18. Weirdly enough, that makes the US a country with a safer policy than nearly anywhere else when it comes to alcohol, though I can personally attest to how little this is followed.

Not enough to sway you just yet? Well, according to the Nation Institute on Health (NIH), about 95,000 people in the US alone die from alcohol-related issues every year. To put it in context, that’s more than the 70,000ish that now die from opioids a year, and we call that an epidemic. Much like smoking, where those that don’t smoke can still die of second-hand smoke, alcohol is good at causing death to those who never took a drink.

In 2014, 9,967 deaths were logged due to drunk driving, which totaled an entire 31% of all driving deaths that year. As of 2019, approximately 14.1 million US adults were estimated to have drinking problems, and get this…about a half million teens as well aged 12-17. The idea that cannabis could help lower any of this at all, makes it not only a good thing, but one that should be promoted to help assuage the massive damage that alcohol causes.


My own life experience backs up the idea, because smoking pot makes me want to drink less. In fact, if I smoke, I don’t want to drink alcohol at all. I can only say that as a statement for myself, but if it happens that way for me, it likely happens similarly for other people too. This does not mean, however, that it will apply to everyone. Considering how many people are grappling with drinking issues, and don’t know how to get a handle on them, it seems the idea of using cannabis, could be an excellent, and safe, way to bring own the drinking.

Hello and welcome! You’ve made it to CBDtesters.co, the #1 web spot for the most comprehensive independent news coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics industries. Join us whenever possible to stay in-the-loop on the ever-changing landscape of cannabis and psychedelics, and subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter, so you’re always on top of what’s going on.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

Have anything to add? Your voice matters! Join the conversation and contribute your insights and ideas below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.