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Many in Oregon View Alcohol As More Harmful Than Marijuana

In survey, 52.5 percent called alcohol more harmful, 40 percent considered the two equally harmful

THURSDAY, Feb. 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Just more than half of surveyed adults consider alcohol to be more harmful than marijuana, according to a study published in the April issue of Preventive Medicine.

Jane A. Allen, from RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues surveyed 1,941 adults in Oregon in September 2015 (through paper and online surveys) in order to examine perceptions of the relative harmfulness of marijuana and alcohol. An address-based sampling frame was used to recruit 1,314 of the participants, and 627 participants were recruited through social media advertising. The survey was performed just before the first legal sales of marijuana for recreational use in the state.

The researchers found that 52.5 percent of respondents considered alcohol to be more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana and 40 percent viewed the substances as equally harmful. Just 7.5 percent considered marijuana to be more harmful than alcohol. Respondents who considered alcohol more harmful than marijuana tended to be younger, male, and not Republican. Respondents who considered marijuana and alcohol equally harmful tended to be older, female, and Republican. Alcohol was viewed as more harmful than marijuana by most individuals who reported using both marijuana and alcohol (67.7 percent) and nearly half (48.2 percent) of those who used neither substance.

“As state lawmakers develop policies to regulate marijuana, it may be helpful to consider the ways in which those policies may also affect use of alcohol and co-use of alcohol and marijuana,” the authors write.

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