Getting high whilst going dry?

Liz Filmer
29 Jan 2023

About one in five Americans doing "Dry January" say they're using cannabis as a replacement to get them through the month.

About one in five Americans doing "Dry January" say they're using cannabis as a replacement to get them through the month. 

Whilst 33 per cent of those shunning alcohol in January say they're not replacing booze with anything, 21 per cent said they're opting for cannabis and CBD products. 

Weed and its products are the most common alternative. More people are using it as an alternative than those substituting with non-alcoholic beverages (20 per cent), soda and seltzer (20 per cent) and kombucha (6 per cent).

Young people are the most likely to consume cannabis over alcohol, with 34% of 21-24-year-olds "getting high while going dry," in comparison to 24% of 25-34 year-olds, 22% of 35-54-year-olds and 9% of those who are 55 years old and over.

The survey involved interviews with 938 people and reflects a wider trend in substance substitution that has already been recognised in other studies in recent years: 

As more states move to legalise cannabis, more people are choosing to use it instead of alcohol and certain prescription drugs like opioids. Part of this is the perceived risks associated with other types of intoxicants and medications, with most Americans saying that they believe cannabis is safer than alcohol and tobacco.

A separate poll released last year found that more Americans openly admit that they smoke marijuana or eat cannabis-infused edibles than say they've smoked cigarettes in the past week.

More than twice as many Americans think cannabis has a positive impact on its users and society as a whole than say the same about alcohol, according to Gallup survey data. That's generally consistent with another poll released last year showing that more Americans think it would be a positive move for people to switch to cannabis and drink less alcohol compared to those who believe the substance substitution would be wrong.

A federally funded study published recently also determined that people in states that have legalised cannabis for adult use are less likely to experience alcohol use disorder than those in states where weed is still outlawed.

Liz Filmer