Mixing: Marijuana & Alcohol

Sources: 18 19

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      On January 1, 2014, Colorado law made it legal for people age 21 and older to legally consume marijuana, and possess up to an ounce of the drug. It remains both a state and federal crime to provide marijuana to any person younger than 21 years old.

Teen Alcohol & Marijuana Use

According to the latest available Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data (2011), marijuana remains the second most-used drug, behind alcohol, for Colorado high school students. This data also indicates a relationship between binge drinking (5 or more alcoholic drinks at a time) and marijuana use.

More than half (57.5%) of Colorado high school students who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days also reported using marijuana in that same time period. Given that nearly a quarter of students reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, this equates to roughly 1 in 8 students who reported both binge drinking and using marijuana within the same month.

Alcohol Associations

Dangers of Mixing

There are a number of circumstances that factor into how a person’s body will react when alcohol and marijuana are used at the same time including:

      • Amount of alcohol consumed
      • Amount of marijuana consumed
      • Strain and potency of marijuana consumed
      • How a person’s body processes these substances

When used together, marijuana and alcohol can enhance each other’s effects leading to potentially dangerous levels of intoxication.18 On average, the potency of marijuana has also doubled in the past decade, and is four times greater than it was in the 60’s and 70’s.19 As teens can’t directly purchase retail marijuana there is little way of knowing the potency or strain of marijuana they are consuming.

To learn more about the impacts marijuana can have on the developing teen brain, click here.