Until recently, anti-drug ads made you believe that marijuana is a threat. Some ads exaggerated or directly lied, about its effects. Other ads showed people comically out of control, establishing a correlation between this behavior and cannabis users. All the ads shared the same mission: to show marijuana as a threat and a waste of time.
But these drug campaigns did not pay much attention to alcohol. For decades there have indeed been advertisements about alcoholism and the public does not completely ignore the problem, but most alcohol ads show images of parties and adventures. They do not show surgeons getting drunk during an operation, as they did with smoking surgeons. No, they only indicate one “Drink responsibly” at the end of each ad.
Therefore, until recently, the media had convinced most people that the herb was much more dangerous than alcohol. But what does science say about it? If we look at the data, we see that cannabis is safer than alcohol in many ways. These are the 10 main reasons:
1. NUMBER OF DEATH
We do not intend to start with a sad fact, but one of the greatest indicators of the danger of a substance is the number of deaths. The harmful consumption of alcohol claimed the lives of more than 3 million people in 2016 worldwide; This includes, among others, the victims of ethyl coma and those who suffered cancer and strokes as a result of alcohol consumption. In contrast, the number of deaths resulting from the use of marijuana is 0. Some people can cause car accidents while driving under the influence of cannabis, but drunk drivers are much more frequent.
According to Alcoholism Solutions, in the US About 50,000 people are diagnosed with ethyl poisoning every year. In the United Kingdom, the situation does not improve; In the last eight years, the number of children hospitalized for ethyl coma has increased by 20% year after year.
Although not as recent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that, in the 2011-2012 period, six people died daily from ethyl coma in the United States. Do you know how many people died from an overdose of marijuana during that period? Delegate it with me: ZERO. To do this, you would have to smoke between 238 and 1,113 joints (15–70 grams of pure THC) in a single day, something practically impossible.
3. CHRONIC DISEASES
Excessive and chronic alcohol consumption can cause various diseases. These include, among others: liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, epilepsy, and ischemic heart disease. Marijuana also has negative side effects, but these are mainly limited to lung problems (especially when consumed with tobacco) and psychotic episodes in especially severe cases (but these are rare). But, even in that case, alcohol also produces psychotic episodes! In general, the risks associated with alcohol intake are much greater than those associated with cannabis use.
4. RATES OF VIOLENCE AND INJURY
We do not know if this is your case, but when we smoke weed we don’t have the energy or the impetus to commit violent crimes. And it seems that other consumers agree.
According to a study by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, prolonged cannabis use rarely is related to harmful aggressions. In contrast, one study found that 36% of hospitalizations due to assaults and 21% of all injuries were associated with alcohol consumption. When a single drug is related to so many hospitalizations, it is time to stop saying that it is “safer.”
5. BRAIN IMPACT
Although many of you might think that marijuana is more harmful to the brain than alcohol (due to public perception), surprisingly this is not so. In fact, according to Dr. Gary L. Wenk in an article in _Psychology Today_, it’s the opposite!
In this article, Dr. Wenk cites an investigation by the Scripps Research Institute that found that neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons) is affected in compulsive drinkers, even when they have already stopped drinking alcohol. Instead, some recent studies have observed that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors _activa_ neurogenesis.
6. MEDICINAL VIABILITY
Marijuana has an advantage over alcohol, as it offers beneficial effects that help some people. Many people consume cannabis for various therapeutic purposes and, in regions where medical consumption is legal, cannabis is often prescribed or cannabinoid therapies are applied to those who suffer from conditions such as chronic pain and nausea. When was the last time (since the 1870s) that a doctor prescribed whiskey to a patient?
7. ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Although excessive cannabis use can aggravate these problems, many patients with anxiety and depression find relief in medical marijuana. Although research in this area is indeed lacking and cannabis prescriptions for mental health problems are not very frequent. But this has not prevented some people from self-administering different proportions of THC and CBD.
The CBD, in particular, is being investigated for its anxiolytic potential. In one study, where CBD was administered to patients with social phobia before a mock public speaking test, it was observed that cannabinoid significantly reduces subjective anxiety.
About alcohol, the situation is quite atrocious. Alcohol is known to be a central nervous system depressant and chronic consumption is associated with a series of mental health problems that include, among others, depression and anxiety.
Yes, many cannabis smokers feel hungry when placed, experiencing what is known as “munchies.” But, contrary to what would be expected, cannabis users often have a lower body mass index than no consumers, so you can forget the stereotype of the “lazy smoke”.
On the other hand, alcohol contains calories and does not provide viable nutrients. Chronic, excessive alcohol intake is associated with higher levels of adipose tissue and therefore higher rates of obesity.
As we have already mentioned, alcohol has the potential to cause various types of cancer. On the other hand, although cannabis is not currently considered a cancer treatment, it has been used for a long time to relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy and other unpleasant physiological symptoms associated with this disease.
Some preliminary investigations show that cannabinoids “slow growth and / or cause death” of cancer cells in vitro. But this is far from being considered a viable treatment. Even so, the fact that cannabis has some potential in this area is positive, given the serious harmful effects of alcohol.
10. ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
For some time now, alcohol has been associated with the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A recent study has supported this scientifically. The authors of this study, published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, observed that “the effects of alcohol on phagocytosis could contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
And what about cannabis? Preclinical studies have shown that small amounts of THC reduce the production of beta-amyloid protein, a key factor contributing to Alzheimer’s. It is important to note that, in this case, it is also too early to consider cannabis as a treatment for this condition. But these results, together with other studies that highlight the possible neuroprotective properties, show that the action of cannabis is very versatile.