Why Replacing Alcohol with Weed is on the Rise?

Stephen Andrews
21 Jun 2024

From Dry January to going off without booze completely, the latest drinking trend seems to be staying absolutely alcohol-free. However, those who abstain from alcohol increasingly turn to cannabis, and there are several reasons why that is happening. Keep reading and learn more why replacing alcohol with weed is a growing trend in the U.S.

Alcohol use is trailing behind weed use in the U.S. in a first over the last few years. In 2022, almost 18 million people aged 12 and above reported daily use of cannabis. Conversely, about 15 million said they used alcohol every day, according to the results of the annual National Survey on Drug and Health

This clearly illustrates that cannabis is the new daily drug of choice among Americans. Replacing alcohol with weed is a growing trend in the U.S. and people go for it for various reasons. Let’s see what has contributed to that. 

Why Replacing Alcohol with Cannabis is Trending in the U.S.?

There are several factors at play that could explain why more and more people are questioning their relationship with alcohol and turning to weed. Here are some of them. 


First, it’s that cannabis has become increasingly available and accessible nationwide. More than half of Americans have access to legal recreational weed nowadays, and a large majority has access to legal medicinal products. 

Lower Health Risks

Cannabis generally has less health risks than alcohol, therefore it’s a great substitute for those groups of people who are advised due to advanced age or other health reasons to reduce or completely quit alcohol.

No Hangovers

Drinking, in particular binge drinking, causes hangovers and sometimes also anxiety or guilt of having drunk too much the next day. With weed, the experience is a bit different than that. A lot more friendlier, if you will. 

Generational Preference

Cannabis is very well accepted among Gen Z and Millennials. Gen Z, in particular, is growing up in the age of cannabis normalization. Younger people use cannabis for various activities like video gaming, but also as a social lubricant. Ask any Gen Z what they would prefer between alcohol and weed, the answer will be probably weed. 

Various Ways to Use

It’s also the easy and multiple ways you can incorporate cannabis in your daily habits. You can add gummies in non-alcoholic beverages. You can make drinks with tinctures. You can buy other edibles, and so forth. You don’t need to smoke if you are against smoking. 

Health Risks Increase with Increased Alcohol Use 

Staying healthy is obviously a major motivation why people refrain from alcohol and try to find an alternative in cannabis to chill out and chase away the blues. 

There are many health risks associated with daily alcohol use, including liver disease, digestive problems, high blood pressure, developing diabetes over time, or cancer, or suffering a stroke, and more. 

With cannabis there are also certain health risks, though the more serious complications are those associated with smoking. In particular, the negative effects that smoking might bring on heart and lung health. Therefore, smoking cannabis is not recommended for those with a history of heart disease, or those suffering from asthma or other conditions on the air passageways. 

Most of the risks from cannabis can be avoided if you turn to delivery methods other than smoking, or opting for CBD products that do not cause any intoxication.

Can CBD Replace Alcohol? 

CBD is indeed one of the cannabis options with which you can replace your alcohol-drinking habits. CBD products can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and facilitate better sleep, without causing high. Stronger doses might slightly feel like taking THC, but it’s still a very different seasoning. Find out more here on how CBD can help those with alcohol-use disorder. 

Other health benefits of CBD include easing inflammation and pain, including dental pain, neuropathic pain, symptom relief from diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, herniated disc, and more. 

What is the Difference Between Being Drunk and Stoned? 

Both alcohol and weed have an impact on the brain and the central nervous system. But being stoned is definitely not the same as being drunk. For example, there’s no way you will experience hangxiety the next day – that combined feeling of regret, guilt and anxiety you experience after indulging in alcohol too much. 

The presence of THC in the body alters the experience of time and space. Thoughts are also affected, therefore you may end up thinking about things or ideas you would not usually come up with while sober or even drunk. THC also intensifies certain feelings and sensations, thus music may sound better on weed, and food may taste much better as if it came from a Michelin star menu. But it can also work the other way round. Being too stoned can result in experiencing a range of negative emotions, and in those moments you need to remind yourself that it’s all overexaggerated. 

Overall, a lot of users reach out again and again for marijuana because it’s a pleasant experience that calms the racing mind and helps release stress and tension. Which is also why a lot of people drink alcohol. Minus the hangxiety, or the slurred speech, or the drowsiness, or the danger of vomiting after downing too much booze. 

What is Crossfading? 

When you use weed and alcohol at the same time, it’s called crossfading. There are various ways how the effects of the combo can play out. If you are already drunk and switch to smoking pot, it can cause feeling sick. When overdone in this order, it can even lead to vomiting and greening out. On the other hand, drinking after consuming weed is usually a much more enjoyable experience. What might be even more pleasant is microdosing with weed along with slow drinking. 

A danger assessment cannot be made yet on the combined effects of weed and alcohol, primarily because there’s little research on it. There is some increased risk as the levels of THC in the body increase with the simultaneous presence of alcohol. Although this doesn’t mean you can overdose on THC – the chances for that are practically next to zero. All there is to more exposure to THC is stronger effect, and after you sleep out it’s fine. 

While crossfading is a great way to let it all hang out every once in a while, when done far too often, it may be a sign of problematic use of weed, alcohol, or both. 

What to Know If You Consider Replacing Alcohol with Weed? 

If you plan on joining the growing trend and replace alcohol with weed, make sure to purchase legal marijuana or hemp products, preferably from a licensed retailer. If you make the purchase online, make sure that the selected product has a label that shows the brand has tested for purity through a state-licensed lab. 

The other advice, as always, is to go low and go slow if you don’t have prior experience with weed. Never drive a vechile after indulging in weed. And try to avoid using unregulated, hemp-derived products that are laced with synthetic cannabinoids. 

Also read on Soft Secrets: 

5 Delicious THC-Infused Beverage Recipes You Must Try

Can Weed Help with Going to Gym?

Is It OK to Put Alcohol in a Bong?

Stephen Andrews