Women Should Swap Their Bourbon for a Bong

It felt serendipitous that I was in Denver when I read that there’s been a steep rise in women’s binge drinking across the United States. Because it struck me that if women smoked pot – now legal in Colorado – with the same gusto with which they seem to imbibe alcohol, perhaps we’d be in better shape.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health this month, shows that while men’s binge drinking increased just 4.9% between 2005 and 2012, women’s rates rose by a whopping 17.5%. That’s a lot of bourbon. (Sorry, I don’t drink Cosmos.)

It’s hard to say why women are binge drinking more. We do know, though, that women are much more likely than men to have certain kinds of mental health issues – we’re twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder and 70% more likely to have depression. And we know that women tend to self-medicate using alcohol.

But unlike marijuana use – which outside of memory impairment shows very little in terms of severe physical damages – long-term use of alcohol has extremely serious consequences. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 5.8m American women have some sort of alcohol disorder and 26,000 women die from alcohol related causes annually. Deaths related to cannabis are so rare that German researchers claimed to find the first two casesjust last year.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.