Prior to legalization, opponents to cannabis stated it was a gateway drug that was bad for you. The irony was that those same opponents usually drank alcohol and had no problem with it. The truth is that alcohol is worse for you than cannabis and taking cannabis can have several health benefits for you.
It is important to note that both cannabis and alcohol will have benefits for your body, but also have impacts as well. It is all about moderation as well. Having one puff of weed in a week is not going to do much for you but smoking all day and every day is going to impact you heavily. Same with alcohol. Drinking one beer on Saturday won’t hurt you but drinking 10 beers daily will come close to killing you eventually.
Let’s dive in and see how cannabis is better for you than alcohol.
First, in a study done by the medical journal The Lancet, the leading risk factor for death in 2016 among those aged 15 to 49 was alcohol. It accounted for 3.8 per cent of female deaths and 12.2 per cent of male deaths. This review looked at 600 studies in 195 countries covering the years from 1990 to 2016. Among people of all ages, it was also found that alcohol was the seventh-leading cause of death that year. Worse yet, the more people drank, according to the study, the greater the risk of dying or cancer.
Time for a comparison.
In 2014, 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes. That same year, there were zero documented deaths from the use of cannabis. If you add in accidents related to drinking and homicides caused by drinking, the number reaches 90,000.
According to a 16-year study of 65,000 Americans, conducted by the American Journal of Public Health, it was found that healthy users of cannabis were not more likely to die earlier than those who did not use cannabis at all.
Another reason that cannabis is better for you than alcohol is the fact that it is less addictive than alcohol. When 8,000 people were studied in a 1994 study, only nine per cent of those who tried marijuana at least once had an addiction diagnosis. For alcohol, the figure was 15 per cent, while cocaine, heroin and nicotine accounted for 17, 23 and 32 per cent respectively.
Cancer is a fear for all of us. Chances are, one out of two people will develop cancer at some point in their life. In November of 2017, a statement was issued by the top cancer doctors in America, asking people to drink less. They stated that even a glass of wine or one beer a day can increase the risk of developing cancers like breast cancer. The US Department of Health has even listed alcohol as a carcinogen and the National Cancer Institute stated that the more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk of developing cancer.
Contrast this with marijuana. Research has found that there is no link between smoking marijuana and developing lung cancer. A January study found that cannabis is not connected with any form of lung, head or neck cancers.
When we talk about health, we aren’t just talking about physical health but mental health too. In a study published in the journal Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, there was found to be a strong link between alcohol and violent actions. The study looked at MRI scans of those who had two alcoholic drinks and compared that with sober participants. There was found to be a reduction in the function of the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to social behavior. As well, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence found that alcohol is a factor in 40 per cent of all crimes and that rates of mental and physical abuse were higher in college students on days that they drank.
This is heavily in contrast to cannabis. One study found that cannabis made a person significantly less likely to commit violence against someone else.
It is well-known that weed use brings on the munchies. Some may think that is knock against the healthy aspects of marijuana use, but the truth is much different. Yes, you can eat as much as 600 extra calories when smoking marijuana, but you don’t tend to gain higher body-mass indexes. Studies have found that those who smoke have a lower risk of obesity. Alcohol, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that those who drank heavily had a higher rate of obesity. Alcohol has lots of calories too, with a can of beer having 150 calories. Drink 10 beers and you have consumed way over 1,000 calories.