Cannabis industry advocates and marketers have strived for years to help the plant gain the social acceptance that alcohol enjoys. But in that respect, they might be going down the wrong path. Whereas cannabis cures cancer, alcohol causes it. That’s right, and if you reread the last sentence in surprise, know that 9 out of 10 people are ignorant of the fact as well, much to the chagrin of the National Cancer Institute.
National Cancer Institute: Alcohol causes cancer
Despite the jovial image portrayed by beer and wine commercials, the truth is that alcohol remains a poison. It kills brain cells, whereas cannabis protects them and grows new ones. Conclusions from a study published in The Scientific Journal of Addiction point to the fact that,
There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others. Current estimates suggest that alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths world-wide.
Alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer.
The National Cancer Institute says health experts are trying to educate people against the,
Widespread public ignorance about how closely alcohol and cancer are connected.
Good old suds poison and kill at every turn. A bit too much, puke your guts out. Have way too much at once, you die. Keep using over time, your organs shut down, or you get cancer. Either way, you die.
The alarming statistics
The National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services categorizes alcohol as a carcinogen. Plain and simple. According to the National Cancer Institute website, the more a person drinks regularly over time, the higher the risk of alcohol-associated cancers. 3.5 drinks a day or more increases the risk at least 2-3 fold.
- Head and neck cancers: Mouth, throat, & larynx especially
- Esophageal cancer: Alcohol is a major risk factor, even more so in people with certain enzyme deficiencies
- Liver cancer: Alcohol is a primary cause liver cancer
- Breast cancer: 3 drinks a day increases the chances by 1.5 times, and for every drink above that, the chance goes up over 7%. In the UK, it goes up by over 12% per drink
- Colorectal cancer: The risk increases similar to the numbers for breast cancer
Why does it do this to our bodies?
The NAC states several reasons.
- The breakdown of alcohol in the body turns it into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical, and carcinogen. This chemical damages both DNA and proteins.
- Alcohol consumption generates chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. These molecules also damage DNA, proteins, and lipids through oxidation.
- Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to break down and absorb nutrients that help prevent or fight cancer, including vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and carotenoids.
- It also increases the level of estrogen in the blood.
Wait, estrogen? Correct, and now we know where man boobs come from. In addition, not only are other carcinogens introduced during fermentation, such as hydrocarbons but using tobacco as well multiplies the risks of either alcohol or tobacco alone.
Why you aren’t alone
Of course, getting the message out there is like shouting at a rock concert, where alcohol plays the headliner. The alcohol industry spends millions upon millions of dollars on advertising.
You see images of happy people getting liquored up on billboards, cardboard cutouts at the local grocery or gas station, packing a cooler in every sales circular in you mailbox, and everywhere major sporting events take place. They simply drown out the voice of reason or divert the discussion with distractions and rhetoric.
Cannabis enjoys no such freedoms with advertising, even in recreationally legal states. Otherwise, far more people would undoubtedly understand the hypocrisy. The liquor industry uses every ploy in the book, showing fun, social acceptance, adventure, relaxation, and of course, lots of sex. Why? Because they tap into our understanding of the social function of drinking.
Don’t count on a public outcry, either
But the government won’t be stepping in to save the day, either. They earned 9.6 billion dollars last year from alcohol tax nationwide. And the revenue generated by the alcohol industry dwarfs that number tenfold.
President Obama launched a 1.1 billion dollar initiative last week against the scourge of heroin in America. To put that in perspective, heroin killed about 10,000 people in 2015, while alcohol killed 88,000. But alcohol puts money in political pockets, so it remains invisible. Nice priorities, government.
The truth we are too blind to see
On a more subjective note, alcohol increases aggression, and telling a drinker he shouldn’t drink could easily start World War III. This leads back to the dire hypocrisy of why so many towns would rather have bars than dispensaries. Is it that they prefer to watch citizens slowly kill themselves?
And as for the age-old prohibitionist fallback, “What kind of message does legal marijuana send to our children?” I think the message is pretty clear. Be healthy and don’t die.
How is that a bad thing?
Do you think that the world needs to pull its head out of the beer barrel? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.