Marijuana or Alcohol, which is more dangerous?
The New Yorker Magazine did an interview with President Barack Obama excerpts of which were published in “Livescience” where the President said, and we share their quote:
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Both of these drugs are used recreationally and, even though there are major differences in how they are regulated by the laws of the land, it is very difficult to compare the long-term effects of using either drug. There are many factors that go into this analysis.
The Center on Disease Control (CDC) says that there are 88,000 deaths a years related to alcohol. However, the research on marijuana’s effects on the body is studied to a much lesser degree than that of alcohol. It is difficult to find reputable studies on the long term effects of marijuana. For one thing, it is only legal to smoke in Colorado and Washington states and that makes it difficult to find subjects that are willing to to come forward to volunteer for research projects.
If a person consumes a large amount of alcohol, it can kill them rapidly and this is documented in many cases on a daily basis throughout the world. It wasn’t long ago that there were news articles about fraternities having games that included the ingesting alcohol quickly and at high volumes and the deaths that occurred because of these practices.
You can literally die within minutes from drinking too much alcohol, but the same isn’t true for marijuana. However, this shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the fact that smoking marijuana has many detrimental side effects, just as cigarettes cause 440,000 deaths per year, yet no one has ever died from smoking a few cigarettes, if there is such a thing as a “bing smoker”, so you can see that the analogy breaks down in many ways.
Alcohol is also dangerous because of its effects with other drugs and medications, which isn’t the case with marijuana. You have people who die from drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, but were also taking painkillers or other drugs that notoriously increase the effects of both the alcohol and the drug.
The immediate effects of smoking marijuana cause a lack of awareness and an impairment in judgement, which leads to bad decisions. Many auto accidents are caused by impaired drivers that are high on marijuana. We have laws to enforce driving while under the influence of both marijuana or alcohol, but because judgement is impaired, people still smoke marijuana and drive. They also put themselves at risk by making poor judgements related to unprotected sex.
The long terms effects of alcohol are know by most adults. Everyone is aware of the damage that heavy drinking causes to the liver and the cardio vascular system as well as blood sugar level, etc. None of these are documented with heavy use of marijuana.
It is not the concern of this website about the physiological difference that come from marijuana or alcohol use, but the addiction potential and the effects that it has on one’s personality.
In this area, casual to social drinking is much less dangerous that the use of marijuana. A person can have a mixed drink, a couple of beers or a glass of wine a day and not have any significant changes to their basic moral codes or “who they really are as human beings”. But the effects of smoking marijuana are much more detrimental to a persons future and the choices he makes than moderate use of alcohol.
It is a fact that whether marijuana is legal or not, it is a gateway drug to many types of drug addiction. THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes one to feel the effects, lodges in the fat tissues of the body and causes a person to have the effects of that drug months or even years after it is smoked.
The Use of marijuana is well documented to cause a person to have lower motivation and aspirations to achieve his potential. Many people experiment with marijuana in their adolescence, which is a time when it is difficult to have enough confront of the challenges of life even when not under the influence of a drug. Chronic use of marijuana at this age reduces one’s ability to mature and gain the learning that is necessary to socially and educationally be competitive with one’s peers.
When you look at adolescents as they mature though life, you will find that those that smoked marijuana didn’t achieve as many of the needed goals to be successful in the rest of their lives.
This subject is much more subtle and profound that can be discussed in an website article. From the many years that we have been working with addicted individuals that are attempting to confront their problems and rebuild their lives, we can tell you that smoking marijuana is a high-risk activity and shouldn’t be justified that it is much better for a person than heavy drinking. Neither of these are needed to do well in life and both with hinder one’s ability to succeed and be as happy as they could be if their confronted their lives without these drugs.