For decades, our federal government and marijuana prohibition proponents have convinced the public that marijuana is so deadly that it must be maintained illegal at all costs. They’ve inflated its potential for harm, promoted falsehoods about its social influence, and even spent hundreds of millions of dollars on TV advertising to persuade you that anyone who smokes marijuana is a loser who spends their days on the couch.
It’s time to clear the slate and look at the facts of marijuana more closely. We’re not here to tell you that it’s completely free of side effects — what product is? — or that it’s a miracle drug. We only hope that you will see that it is significantly less hazardous than your government has claimed.
Marijuana is, in fact, extensively used in a manner comparable to that of alcohol. The majority of adults eat it when mingling with friends or unwinding after a long day at work. Others utilize it for therapeutic purposes, while some ingest it for medical reasons. Some people use it to treat arthritis, migraines, or to help them fall asleep and get a good night’s sleep, for example.
Most Americans would agree that if done appropriately, this is not “bad,” “wrong,” or “immoral,” just as drinking a cocktail after work, a beer at a ballgame, or a glass of wine with dinner is not “bad,” “wrong,” or “immoral.” Marijuana use is just something that some adults choose to do instead of drinking a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine. And it’s not without reason. Marijuana is less poisonous, addictive, and destructive to the body than alcohol, and it is less likely to lead to violent or irresponsible behavior.
Here are a few statistics that show how marijuana and alcohol have vastly different effects on those who use them and on the community as a whole.
Effects of Cannabis and Alcohol:
Alcoholism kills a lot of individuals. Marijuana consumption does not result in death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in the United States each year (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). The CDC, on the other hand, does not even have a category for deaths caused by marijuana’s health consequences. According to a study published in Scientific Reports in January 2015, the mortality risk connected with marijuana is about 114 times lower than that associated with alcohol.
Overdosing on alcohol kills people. There has never been a fatal overdose of marijuana. According to American Scientist, the official newspaper of the Scientific Research Society, alcohol is one of the most dangerous medicines, and taking just 10 times the amount needed to achieve the intended effect might result in death. Marijuana is one of, if not the, least toxic medications, requiring thousands of times the dose used to get the desired effect before death occurs. There has never been an example of a person dying from a marijuana overdose, therefore this “thousands of times” is purely hypothetical. Meanwhile, the CDC estimates that alcohol intoxication causes over 1,600 deaths in the United States each year.
The health-related consequences of alcohol abuse substantially outweigh those of marijuana abuse. According to a study published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal, health-related costs for alcohol users are eight times higher than for marijuana users. More specifically, the annual cost of alcohol use is $165 per user, whereas marijuana consumption costs only $20 per user. Given the massive amount of studies showing that alcohol causes far more – and far more serious – health problems than marijuana, this should come as no surprise.
The brain is harmed by alcohol consumption. Marijuana use, on the other hand, does not. Despite the misconceptions that marijuana kills brain cells that we’ve heard our entire lives, a rising number of research appear to demonstrate that marijuana has neuroprotective characteristics. It acts to protect brain cells from injury in this way. For example, a 2009 study discovered that youths who smoked marijuana and drank alcohol had considerably less white matter damage in their brains. Of fact, there is no denying that alcohol harms brain cells.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages has been connected to the development of cancer. Marijuana use, on the other hand, is not. Alcohol abuse is linked to a number of malignancies, including those of the esophagus, stomach, colon, lungs, pancreas, liver, and prostate. Marijuana consumption has not been linked to any type of cancer decisively. In reality, a 2009 research refuted the government’s long-held assumption that marijuana usage causes head and neck malignancies. It was shown that smoking marijuana reduced the risk of developing head and neck malignancies. If you’re concerned about marijuana’s link to lung cancer, the findings of the largest case-control study yet undertaken on the respiratory effects of marijuana and cigarette smoking may be of interest to you. The study, led by Dr. Donald Tashkin of the University of California in Los Angeles, was published in 2006 and revealed that marijuana use was not linked to an increased risk of lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that persons who used marijuana had a decreased risk of cancer than those who did not.
Marijuana is less addicting than alcohol. Based on a number of indicators, alcohol’s addiction potential is much greater than that of marijuana, according to a 1998 report by Drs. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Neal L. Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco. A similar finding was reached by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine in a comprehensive federal study: “Millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but the majority are not regular users, and only a small percentage of marijuana users get addicted… Despite the fact that [some] marijuana users acquire dependency, they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (such as alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be milder than other drug dependence.”
The consumption of alcohol raises the consumer’s risk of damage. Marijuana use, on the other hand, does not. Many persons who have taken alcohol, or who know others who have consumed alcohol, are unsurprised to learn that it significantly raises the chance of serious damage. According to research published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, alcohol usage by the injured person is responsible for 36% of hospitalized assaults and 21% of all injuries. Meanwhile, according to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, lifelong marijuana usage is rarely linked to emergency room visits. This is due to the fact that “cannabis varies from alcohol… in one major regard,” according to the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. It appears to have no effect on risk-taking behavior. This means that cannabis is rarely used to cause aggression against others or oneself, but alcohol is a major role in self-harm, domestic mishaps, and violence.” Surprisingly, marijuana consumption has been linked to a lower risk of harm in several studies.
The Effects of Alcohol and Cannabis on the Community
Aggressive and violent behavior are exacerbated by alcohol consumption. Marijuana use, on the other hand, does not. Alcohol, unlike marijuana, has been demonstrated in numerous studies to increase the chance of aggressive and violent conduct. “Alcohol is definitely the substance with the most evidence to support a direct intoxication-violence association,” according to a study published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, but “cannabis lessens the likelihood of aggression during intoxication.”
Domestic violence and sexual assault are more likely when alcohol is consumed. Marijuana use, on the other hand, does not. Domestic violence and sexual assault are both made more common by the consumption of alcohol. This is not to claim that alcohol causes these issues; rather, it increases the likelihood that someone who is predisposed to such conduct will engage in it. For example, a study conducted by the Research Institute on Addictions discovered that among chronic partner abusers, alcohol use was linked to large increases in daily chance of male-to-female physical aggression, but marijuana use was not. On days when men were drinking, the odds of abuse were eight times greater, and the odds of severe abuse were eleven times higher. Alcohol is the “most regularly used substance in crimes of sexual assault,” according to the website of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), which also gives information on a variety of other drugs associated to sexual violence. Given how easily accessible and extensively used marijuana is, the fact that the term “marijuana” does not appear anywhere on the page is rather striking.