Weed vs. alcohol is a no-brainer for us diehard pot enthusiasts, but how do we prove to the world which substance is king? For one, many recent studies have shown that cannabis is safer than booze. According to a 2015 study, weed is 114 times less deadly than alcohol, to be exact.
Yet, cannabis is still criminalized in most of the world while alcohol is legal and socially acceptable. It’s time to get our weed vs. alcohol facts straight when it comes to the body, mind… road, and party.
Weed vs. Alcohol in the Body
For starters, cannabis has tons of medical benefits, from helping people with chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety, to epilepsy, cancer, and Parkinson’s Disease. Cannabis is medicinal and has been for thousands of years. While alcohol has been used medicinally in the past, its biggest current medicinal use is its ability to sterilize and maybe put you to sleep.
According to the National Cancer Institute alcohol is actually a carcinogen. The more regularly you drink booze, the more likely you are to develop cancer. In the weed vs. alcohol debate, many will point out that cannabis is the opposite – it has the potential to kill cancer cells rather than promote them. Plus, a 2017 National Academies report found cannabis was not even connected to increased risk of lung, head, or neck cancers like cigarettes are.
A recent 2018 study surveyed 320,000 people with alcohol abuse disorders and found something really interesting about weed vs. alcohol in terms of liver damage. When researchers compared the livers of alcoholics who didn’t use cannabis to those who did, they found something miraculous. The pot smoking drinkers had significantly less liver damage than the non-smoking drinkers, revealing that cannabis is protecting the liver from alcohol-induced liver damage.
One of the main reasons regular drinkers develop liver disease is due to inflammation. Alcohol actually increases inflammation in the liver, brain, and body. Therefore, the scientists in this study hypothesized that cannabis’s proven anti-inflammatory properties are actually protecting the body from the damage alcohol is doing. Pretty neat, right?
Plus, another win for the weed vs. alcohol debate: a 2017 study found a connection between heavy drinkers and weight gain. Regular drinkers had a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. On the other hand, regular pot smokers have a reduced risk of obesity according to a 2011 study. Munchies or not.
Not to mention the most obvious argument in the battle of weed vs. alcohol: weed doesn’t give you a hangover and won’t make you throw up from consuming too much.
Weed vs. Alcohol in the Mind
The ways weed vs. alcohol effect behavior seem pretty obvious. Weed smokers are less likely to engage in risk-taking behavior or start fights, two classic drunk behaviors. In fact, a 2018 study suggested a link between alcohol and violent behavior. On top of that, according to the National Council on Alcoholism, alcohol is a contributing factor to 40 percent of all violent crimes.
Cannabis consumers, on the other hand, are more peaceful. A 2014 study found couples who smoke weed together are way less likely to engage in domestic abuse than those who didn’t light up together.
Besides, we’re forgetting one of the most blatant arguments in the weed vs. alcohol debate: alcohol is massively more addictive, both physically and mentally than cannabis. Nearly 29 percent of Americans develop an alcohol abuse disorder in their lifetimes. Meanwhile, a 1994 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found only 9 percent of cannabis consumers can be considered clinically addicted.
Weed vs. Alcohol on the Road
While you really should never drive drunk or high, statistics say you’re 10 times more likely to get into an accident while under the influence of alcohol than weed. In fact, many studies fail to find a significant difference in stoned driving verse sober driving.
But, the trick regarding weed vs. alcohol when it comes to operating a vehicle is the person’s pot tolerance. Chronic smokers prove to be much better-stoned drivers than inexperienced users. Weirdly enough, an older study even found chronic pot smokers to be better at drunk driving than other people.
Other researchers have found that if regular smokers consume 1/3 of a joint, they drive relatively safely and normally, but if they consume the whole joint or smoke cannabis with high levels of THC, their driving becomes more impaired.
Overall, stoned drivers are likely to be cautious and slow when compared to drunk drivers who drive faster and engage in more risk-taking behavior, like speeding and passing. Some studies found that the most dangerous type of driving was drunk and stoned, unsurprisingly.
At the end of the day, it’s still illegal to drive drunk or stoned. Check out this map to see “drugged” driving laws in your state.
Weed vs. Alcohol at a Party
Many will argue that this all sounds great, but alcohol is the clear winner at parties. Weed makes them feel socially awkward and sleepy while booze is the perfect social lubricant. But in places like California and Colorado, sophisticated pot products are popping up are designed to enhance social experiences.
Brands like Lucid Mood are creating vape pens with specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles to provide certain experiences. Lucid Mood has a “Party” pen that makes partygoers alert, clearheaded, and talkative. Plus, there are plenty of strains, usually sativas or sativa-dominant hybrids, that are great for socializing. Check out Herb’s complete list of social strains here.
Weed vs. alcohol, is it even really a question? Considering alcohol killed at least 30,722 people in the U.S. alone in 2014 – closer to 90,000 if you include drinking-related accidents and homicides – it seems like a no-brainer. Cannabis has never killed anyone and instead, helps people live happier and healthier lives.