Drinking once or twice a week makes people happier, scientists find

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
A few units of alcohol could make us happier, says a new scientific report (GETTY)

A controlled amount of alcohol per week can contribute to ‘life satisfaction’, according to a study on how drink and drugs affect humans.

The report, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, focused on cannabis use and the controlled use of other drugs and alcohol consumption.

Titled 'Valuing the Relationship Between Drug and Alcohol Use and Life Satisfaction', the scientific report explored the relationship between drug use and wellbeing using data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

A few units of alcohol could have a more positive effect on humans than other drugs such as cannabis (GETTY)

It suggested that ‘drinking a couple of days a week’ was positively associated ‘with life satisfaction’

The study measured life satisfaction on a linear 0–10 scale points system.

It found that people who had never used cannabis had significantly higher scores than current users (0.54).

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The report read: 'Individuals who had never used drugs, and even past users, had significantly higher life satisfaction than current drug users.

‘Compared to current cannabis users, life satisfaction was, on average, 0.33 scale points (3.0%) greater for past users, and 0.54 scale points (or 4.9%) greater for never users.

The study suggested people who had never used cannabis had significantly higher scores of mental well-being than current users (GETTY)

'Both specifications produced similar relative results. In terms of other drugs, compared to current users, life satisfaction was, on average across the two specifications, 0.35 scale points (3.2%) greater for past users, and 0.38 scale points (or 3.5%) greater for never users.’

But the study highlighted how results suggest that a few units of alcohol per week contributed to a happier state of mind.

The report continued: 'The estimated coefficients related to alcohol consumption suggested that, compared to ‘never’ as a reference category, drinking a couple of days a week was positively associated with life satisfaction (a 0.27 scale point or 25% increase).

'Drinking more than five days a week was negatively but not significantly associated with well being.'

In conclusion, the study’s authors Anna Maccagnan, Tim Taylor and Mathew White wrote: ‘The findings suggest that, in terms of well-being, there is a small benefit to moderate alcohol consumption.

‘In terms of drugs, current and past drug use is associated with important reductions in well-being—which would suggest that efforts need to be placed into services to discourage illicit drug use and that future drug policy (including legalisation) should be carefully designed with societal well-being in mind’