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2024 New Year Resolution: Dry January with Cannabis

By Danyal Swan January 4, 2024

In January 2023, a survey by NCSolutions revealed that 34% of Americans are aiming to reduce their alcohol intake.

Each year, an increasing number of people consider embracing Dry January as a New Year's resolution. Originating in the UK, this practice of abstaining from alcohol during January is gaining traction for those wanting to cleanse post-holidays and embark on a healthier new year. However, this is not without its challenges. The same survey indicates that 93% of Americans believe alcohol consumption is deeply embedded in national culture.

Is cannabis a viable substitute for alcohol in states where it's legal?

Research by BDSA shows that 54% of adults using cannabis for recreational purposes do so for enjoyment, similar to how alcohol is consumed. Beyond its well-known health advantages, cannabis also has the added benefit of not causing hangovers, unlike alcohol. Continue reading to discover the benefits of Dry January and explore how cannabis could support your New Year's resolutions.

Health Benefits of Dry January

Beyond avoiding hangovers and regrettable drunk calls and texts, there are additional advantages to partaking in Dry January.

A 2018 study highlighted the short-term impacts of refraining from alcohol. In this research, 94 individuals were chosen to abstain from alcohol, while a control group of 47 continued their usual drinking habits. Even within this brief period, the findings were notable among those in the abstinent group:

  • Slept better
  • Reported more energy
  • Lost weight – on average, 4.5 pounds
  • Had measurably lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Had a reduction in cancer-related proteins measured in their blood

A subsequent follow-up 6-8 months later revealed that the group who abstained experienced considerable decreases in their alcohol consumption.

If Dry January wasn't initially part of your resolutions, the insights from this study might change your mind. Remember, the concept of a sober month isn't limited to January, nor does it have to begin on the first of the month. Plus, choosing to forego social drinking doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself in other ways.

Swapping Alcohol for Cannabis, Intentionally or Not

Swapping Alcohol for Cannabis

According to BDSA, there are several reasons why Americans are opting for cannabis over alcohol. 67% of users view cannabis as healthier than alcohol, and 57% feel it impairs them less than alcoholic beverages.

In a January 2023 CivicScience survey, 21% of participants reported using cannabis or CBD as an alternative to alcohol during Dry January. Similarly, a survey at a medical cannabis dispensary in Berkeley, CA, found that 40% of respondents used cannabis as an alcohol substitute, 26% instead of illegal drugs, and 66% in place of prescription medications.

Additionally, compelling insights emerge from a comprehensive 392-question survey of medical cannabis patients in Canada, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

The responses broke down as such:

  • 44% stated they decreased alcohol use over 30 days
  • 34% reported a decrease in the number of drinks had per week
  • 8% reported no alcohol use in the 30 days before the survey

Interestingly, researchers noted: “Being below 55 years of age and reporting higher rates of alcohol use in the pre-period were both associated with greater odds of reducing alcohol use, and an intention to use medical cannabis to reduce alcohol consumption was associated with significantly greater odds of both reducing and ceasing alcohol use altogether.”

Overall, the results lead researchers to conclude cannabis use “may be associated with self-reported reductions and cessation of alcohol use among medical cannabis patients.”

Cannabis for Binge Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder – What the Research Says

While still in early stages, research indicates that cannabinoids, particularly CBD, may be effective in addressing binge drinking and alcohol use disorder.

CBD has been noted for its potential to lessen cravings among individuals with alcohol use disorder. A comprehensive review in Frontiers in Pharmacology examined 26 studies focusing on CBD and alcohol. The findings highlighted three key areas where CBD could benefit those with alcohol use disorder: a decrease in alcohol consumption, reduction in alcohol-induced liver inflammation, and mitigation of alcohol-related brain damage, underscoring the necessity for more in-depth research.

Moreover, the non-intoxicating properties of CBD were also evident in animal studies. A 2018 publication in Addiction Biology used a two-bottle paradigm, where mice choose between two drinks, to assess preferences. The study observed that CBD significantly reduced ethanol consumption and preference, decreased self-administration of ethanol, and lowered the chances of ethanol relapse. These results suggest that CBD might be a valuable tool in treating alcohol use disorders.

The Best Ways to Use Cannabis in Social Settings

There are countless ways to get social with cannabis. Whether you’re reaching for THC or CBD to take the edge off, let loose, or simply enjoy yourself a little more, consider our favorite options to socialize with cannabis:

  1. Cannabis mocktails. For a more invigorating option than plain sparkling water, consider creating a cannabis mocktail at home. These marijuana-infused drinks are simple to prepare and emulate popular cocktail aesthetics, minus the hangover. Remember, oral cannabis ingestibles take time to manifest their effects, typically around an hour.
  2. Marijuana edibles. Edibles used to be one size fits all in terms of effect, but no longer. Targeted outcomes are all the rage, achieved with terpene blends or strain-specific options. Our favorite options are microdoses, which provide enough THC to take the edge off, and strain-specific RSO. Don’t forget that edibles can take an hour or so to kick in!
  3. Flower. For quicker results, inhalation is the way to go. Using flower can be more challenging in social situations, so it's important to ensure everyone is comfortable with its presence. Sometimes, using it before an event and arranging a ride is the best approach.
  4. Vapes. Vaping THC is discreet and suitable for social environments, producing minimal odor that dissipates quickly. As with any form of cannabis use in public, make sure those around you are okay with the vapor.
  5. Concentrates. Concentrates offer a potent experience, akin to a caffeine buzz, making them ideal for social interactions. Dab pens and portable rigs provide an easy way to inhale these extracts with little odor, though it's always courteous to check with others before using these devices in social settings.

Remember, cannabis can be used on private property with the owner’s permission, not in public settings!

Find Alcohol Alternatives at MÜV Dispensary

Shop Marijuana for Dry January at MÜV

If Dry January is in your cards for 2024, cannabis might be a nice social alternative. Whether you’re thinking inhalation or edibles or even DIY mocktails, shop online or stop by your local MÜV Dispensary. Our trusted Cannabis Advisors are standing by to aid you in your New Year’s resolution, guiding you to the best option for your social needs.

Most importantly, make 2024 an incredible year!


References:

  1. Alcohol use and your health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 14, 2022, cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Accessed January 2, 2023.
  2. Boyd S., Lucas P., Milloy, M-J, Walsh Z. (2020). Reductions in alcohol use following medical cannabis initiation: results from a large cross-sectional survey of medical cannabis patients in Canada. International Journal of Drug Policy, Vol. 86. doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102963
  3. De Ternay J, Naassila M, Nourredine M, Louvet A, Bailly F, Sescousse G, Maurage P, Cottencin O, Carrieri PM, Rolland B. Therapeutic prospects of cannabidiol for alcohol use disorder and alcohol-related damages on the liver and the brain. Front Pharmacol. 2019 May 31;10:627. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00627. PMID: 31214036; PMCID: PMC6554654.
  4. Hamelink C. (2008). Comparison of cannabidiol, antioxidant, and diuretics in reversing binge ethanol-induced neurotoxicity. Acc. Chem. Res 45 (6), 788–802.
  5. Reiman A. Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs. Harm Reduct J. 2009 Dec 3;6:35. doi: 10.1186/1477-7517-6-35. PMID: 19958538; PMCID: PMC2795734.
  6. Sober curious nation: one in three Americans are trying to drink less alcohol in 2023 (2023). NCSolutions. ncsolutions.com/the-goods/sober-curious-nation-alcohol-survey/. Accessed December 21, 2023.
  7. Viudez-Martínez A, García-Gutiérrez MS, Navarrón CM, Morales-Calero MI, Navarrete F, Torres-Suárez AI, Manzanares J. Cannabidiol reduces ethanol consumption, motivation and relapse in mice. Addict Biol. 2018 Jan;23(1):154-164. doi: 10.1111/adb.12495. Epub 2017 Feb 13. PMID: 28194850.

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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