Cannabis and alcohol. Marijuana and liqueur. Weed and booze. Two quite controversial substances. One is legal other is not. In most places around the world. Alcohol is one of the most widely used legal drugs. Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug.
Both, alcohol and marijuana have different groups of people using them. And the most distinct subgroups in these major larger groups are pro-alcohol and anti-marijuana people vs. pro-marijuana and anti-alcohol people. So, this raises a very important question, what’s more dangerous, is it alcohol or is it weed?
Historically in the western world, alcohol has been more widely used than marijuana pretty much ever since it became part of western culture. A huge industry has grown around alcohol and propaganda has been used to convince people that real men drink it and that it’s healthy. Same thing has been said by about cigarettes too. Meanwhile marijuana has been vilified and said to make people eat glass and do other stupid and dangerous things. Which is, of course, nonsense. So one of the reasons why there was and still is a large amount of people who consider marijuana to be more dangerous is because of decades of propaganda.
But let’s put the lies aside and deal with facts.
Short term Effects
Short term effects of alcohol can be lethal. Within 5 minutes of heavy drinking, you might die. About 10 to 15 regular shots of vodka put an average user to risk of death from an alcohol overdose. Plus, you might throw up when drinking because your body is trying to get rid of the alcohol in it and some people choke on their own vomit without being able to properly. About 6 people die everyday in United States alone from an alcohol overdose.
When it comes to overdosing on weed, well, I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but I am saying that you would have to eat about 22 kilograms of it to be at any danger. And if you wanted to kill yourself by smoking it, you would have to smoke about 680 kg’s of marijuana in 15 minutes. So, needless to say, we don’t have a single death from marijuana overdose in documented history.
Weed increases heart rate, but almost never to a very dangerous level, unless you have serious problems with your health.
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and can make you act in dangerous ways, be more aggressive and less sensitive. Thousands of car crashes, fights, about one third of all suicides are done while drunk.
Marijuana can also, depending on the strain and amount, slow you down. It can delay your reaction time, make you more paranoid and anxious, or the complete reverse. It can also make you have a psychotic episode. Although it is rare and is usually only experienced by a small portion of the population that also usually have mental illnesses. And they usually experience it on high doses rather than small ones and then they smoke weed rather than ingest it.
Drunk driving makes the driver about 12 times more likely to crash his/her car whereas marijuana doubles or triples it. And over repeated use, users tend to become much more proficient at driving and drive safer whereas repeated use of alcohol doesn’t really make you more efficient at driving while drunk or if it does, it’s not very significant.
Long Term Effects
Long term effects of alcohol are many in numbers and scary in consequences.
Alcohol affects every single organ system in the body. Drinking can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which can progress to fibrosis of the liver, which in turn can potentially lead to liver cancer.
Irreversible neurological damage is also almost always experienced in a single day of heavy drinking. Although it’s usually not so strong that it will be felt for the rest of your life, but damage does accumulate over prolonged use.
Marijuana, on the other hand is not as well studied in clinical context and it’s long term effects aren’t as well known. What we do know however, is that some animal studies have found that it might have a negative impact on the reproductive system. But based on anecdotal data it doesn’t seem to be significant in humans. At least not in most humans.
People who might experience biggest problems with marijuana are people who a;ready have or are genetically predisposed towards certain psychiatric disorders. Especially schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. it can speed up the development of these disorders or make them worse if they are already present. So if you’re suffering from a psychiatric disorder or have family history of them, you should think twice before smoking weed, because no one knows what can happen.
Another potentially dangerous thing with marijuana is that it is almost always being smoked. That means that people inhale hot smoke of cannabis flowers. There are early studies that show that smoking weed increases your chances of getting lung cancer. But there’s also studies that disprove this. What is very possible is that the smoke itself is dangerous to the lungs, because it’s essentially hot fumes that your lungs have to absorb. However, it also seems, that the negatives are often outweighed by the positives, because the smoke also contains many cannabinoids that have medicinal properties and can help to heal your lungs. This is often showed by new studies.
There are no known medicinal uses for alcohol other than it being a disinfectant and that it can possibly lower rates of cardiovascular disease and prevent colds.
Marijuana has many health benefits. They include treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, glaucoma and many other diseases.
There are many scientific studies being made right now and and the positives or marijuana are constantly being discovered. And by the way, to read about marijuana is depth, you can check out my post about it: Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis
Marijuana is by far a much less harmful substance and it has many more health benefits than alcohol. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs, in spite of being legal. It causes irreversible neurological damage, liver damage and it negatively effects every single organ system in the body.
Alcohol also is a lot more likely to lead to car crashes, conflicts and other accidents than marijuana.
Biggest problems with marijuana seem to appear when people have certain mental illnesses or are predisposed to them and then kids whose brains are still developing use it because in can interfere with the development. That’s why it’s recommended to use cannabis after the age of 25.