Why Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol
There have been crusades against cannabis, also known as marijuana, for decades. Neighborhood moms in their minivans have been joined by congressmen in hopes of “keeping children safe,” but science suggests that cannabis isn’t any less safe than another substance society has legalized for adults over the age of 21. In fact, research suggests cannabis is actually safer than alcohol. Here’s everything you need to know about why this is.
- Death from use. This is perhaps the biggest indicator that cannabis is safer than alcohol. More people die from alcohol use and alcohol overdoses than marijuana use or overdoses. What’s more, there has never been a death from marijuana use or overdose. The CDC reports than there are 30,000 deaths annually from alcohol-related causes – and that’s just in the United States! This number does not include accidental death that involves alcohol as well. And while these 30,000 people perish at the hands of alcohol every single year, cannabis doesn’t have a single death on its hands. The CDC doesn’t even have a category for them. Alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs while marijuana is one of the least toxic drugs.
- Health-related costs. Research has shown that the health-related costs for alcohol are eight times greater than that of cannabis. And, as the spending is greater, this means that the health problems are more significant for alcohol.
- Brain damage. Recent studies have shown that cannabis has neuroprotective properties. This means that teens who have used both cannabis and marijuana have actually benefited. The alcohol was shown to have had less of an impact on the white matter in their brain, which indicates that cannabis not only didn’t damage it, but it seemed to protect the brain cells from harm. That said, what was it protecting it from? Alcohol.
- Risk. The risks of serious injury when consuming alcohol is high. Around 36 percent of hospitalized assaults and 26 percent of all injuries are due to alcohol use of the injured person. Marijuana, on the other hand, is rarely correlated with emergency room visits. This is just one way that cannabis is shown to be less risky than alcohol. Self-harm, domestic accidents, and violence are much less likely to occur under the influence of cannabis than alcohol.
- Addiction. The addiction potential of alcohol is much greater than that of cannabis, which is why there are 16 million adults in the U.S. who have an alcohol addiction. There are only about 4 million adults who experience cannabis addiction. In general, marijuana dependence is much less severe than dependence on other drugs, including alcohol.
Between death, health-related issues and costs, brain damage, risk, and addiction, cannabis simply can’t compete with alcohol in terms of how dangerous. Research has shown that cannabis helps protect the brain and even has medical benefits. Unlike what you may have heard previously, cannabis is less addictive, less harmful, less toxic and ultimately safer than alcohol.