While obviously – like everything – Beer Drinking should be kept to an acceptable level, according to a study by scientists at the University of Greenwich, two pints of beer are more effective in reducing pain than painkillers. In fact, glugging down two pints and thus increasing your blood alcohol content to 0.08 percent reportedly creates a “small elevation of pain threshold in the body, and thus a reduction in pain intensity ratings from moderate to large.

‘Hair of the dog’ explained?

This certainly brings to mind the term “hair of the dog,” when a drinker with a bad hangover reaches for another glass to soothe their ailing head.

It turns out that that action really does work. As noted by the Independent, however, this effect doesn’t just relate to hangovers.

The researchers likely didn’t have problems getting volunteers for their study – who doesn’t enjoy free booze? They ran their tests with 404 subjects, in 18 varied controlled experiments. They concluded – maybe a little ironically – that the more beer the participants drank, the less pain each of the them felt.

Trevor Thompson, one of the authors of the study, said beer can be compared to opioid drugs, like codeine, adding that the effect of drinking beer is more powerful than taking Paracetamol.

However, according to the scientists it is still not clear whether drinking alcohol reduces pain by affecting brain receptors, or if it simply lowers anxiety, making people think the pain isn’t quite as bad.

Patients with chronic pain often ‘self-medicate’ with alcohol

Thompson believes this explains why many people with chronic pain tend to self-medicate with alcohol, despite the potential effects on long-term health.

According to the study, their findings suggest that alcohol can be an effective analgesic, delivering a clinically-relevant reduction in pain intensity.

The researchers went on to stress that the long-term use of alcohol to reduce pain would be extremely harmful to health. Obviously, drinking beer or any form of alcohol on a regular basis to reduce pain is not a good idea.

Thompson said it would be better if a drug could be made without the current harmful side-effects, adding that this would be better than what is available at present.

The International Business Times quotes government guidelines as recommending that both males and females should consume a maximum of 14 units of alcohol each week. This translates to approximately six 175ml glasses of wine or six pints of beer in a week.

The results of the study will reportedly be published in the Journal of Pain.