Science has finally revealed which is more harmful to your health out of cannabis and alcohol.
There are dozens of factors to account for, including how the substances affect your heart, brain, and behaviour, and how likely you are to get hooked.
A comprehensive round-up of studies by the team over at IFLScience appears to show that cannabis really isn’t as bad for you as alcohol is, Cornwall Live reports.
More than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2014 – not including drinking-related accidents or homicides – while there have been zero documented deaths from marijuana use alone.
According to the World Health Organisation, booze is thought to contribute to 3.3 million deaths across the globe each year which, soberingly, equates to one person dying every 10 seconds.
Yet the comparison is slightly unfair; while scientists have been researching the effects of alcohol for decades, the science of cannabis is a lot murkier because of its mostly illegal status.
Addiction, cancer risk, mental illness and weight gain are just some of the factors which users must consider before taking either alcohol or marijuana. So what makes alcohol worse for you than weed?
Addiction – ALCOHOL Marijuana appears to be significantly less addictive than alcohol. A study of the drug habits of 8,000 Americans revealed that 15% could be classed as addicted to alcohol, while 9% were addicted to weed.
Cancer risk – ALCOHOL Alcohol is strongly linked with several types of cancer; marijuana is not. We know about the links between alcohol and mouth or liver cancer. For marijuana, some research initially suggested a link between smoking and lung cancer, but that has been debunked.
Affect on memory – BOTH Both drugs negatively affect your memory — but in different ways. These effects are the most common in heavy, frequent, or binge users.
Mental illness – BOTH Both drugs are linked with an increased risk of psychiatric disease. For weed users, psychosis and schizophrenia are the main concern; with booze, it’s depression and anxiety.
The largest review of marijuana studies found substantial evidence of an increased risk among frequent marijuana users of developing schizophrenia — something that studies have shown is a particular concern for people already at risk.
Weight gain – ALCOHOL Weed gives you the munchies, but despite eating over 600 extra calories when smoking, marijuana users generally don’t have higher body-mass indexes. In fact, studies suggest that regular smokers have a slightly reduced risk of obesity.
Alcohol, on the other hand, appears to be linked with weight gain. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who drank heavily had a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Plus, alcohol itself is caloric: A can of beer has roughly 150 calories, and a glass of wine has about 120.
Conclusion: All things considered, alcohol’s effects seem markedly more extreme — and riskier — than marijuana’s When it comes to addiction profiles and risk of death or overdose combined with ties to cancer, car crashes, violence, and obesity, the research suggests that marijuana may be less of a health risk than alcohol.
Still, because of marijuana’s largely illegal status, long-term studies on all its health effects have been limited — meaning more research is needed.
It depends on your definition of “dangerous” as to which is worse.
I used to work with some pot smokers. I saw bright and intelligent useful members of a small team become unreliable, couldn’t-care-less, wasters in a very short space of time. They were irredeemable.