Previous Next Cannabis smokers are 'FIVE times more likely to develop an alcohol addiction', experts warn Cannabis smokers are five times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol, experts have warned. And for those people already battling an alcohol use disorder, using marijuana is likely to aggravate their dependency. Alcoholics, who did not use the drug, were significantly more likely to be seeking treatment in rehab, within three years, according to scientists at Columbia University and the City University of New York. Their results are reinforced by another study, published today, by colleagues at Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Those investigations suggest cannabis use also increases the risk a person with become dependent on drugs, and develop a smoking habit. +2 Cannabis smokers are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder, than those who do not use the drug, experts at Columbia University and the City University of New York discovered Dr Renee Goodwin, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, said: 'Our results suggest that cannabis use appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to developing an alcohol use disorder, even among those without any history of this. 'Marijuana use also appears to increase the likelihood that an existing alcohol use disorder will continue over time.' The second study, led by Dr Mark Olfson, warns 'these adverse psychiatric outcomes should be taken under careful consideration in clinical care'. Dr Goodwin and her team examined data from 27,461 adults who enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. All those included in the study first used marijuana at a time when they had no lifetime history of alcohol use disorders. The population was studied at two separate points in time. Twenty-three per cent of those adults used cannabis at the first assessment and again over the following three years. Researchers discovered that group was five times more likely to develop an alcohol use problem, compared with those who had not used marijuana. Of the group being studied, five per cent had never used the drug, researchers noted. +2 Their results are reinforced by another study, published today, by colleagues at Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Those investigations suggest cannabis use also increases the risk a person with become dependent on drugs, and develop a smoking habit Those adults who had a problem with alcohol but did not use cannabis were significantly more likely to be in recovery treatment three years later. Meanwhile Dr Olfson and his team of researchers surveyed the same data, but looked at records for 34,653 American adults. Again interviews were conducted three years apart. Researchers note that marijuana use was not associated with an increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders. But their results mirrored those of Dr Goodwin's team, in finding an increased risk for 'developing alcohol and drug use disorders, including nicotine dependence'. Dr Goodwin said: 'From a public health standpoint we recommend that further research be conducted to understand the pathways underlying these relationships as well as the degree to which various potentially vulnerable population subgroups - youth, for example - are at increased risk. 'If future research confirms these findings, investigating whether preventing or delaying first use of marijuana might reduce the risk of developing alcohol use disorders among some segments of the population may be worthwhile. Dr Goodwin's study is published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, while Dr Olfson's findings are publishing in JAMA Psychiatry.