Is it more beneficial to consume alcohol than marijuana, or is it the opposite way around? This discussion has been going on for several decades.
There are several different aspects to think about, but in general, smoking pot is associated with a lower risk of adverse effects than drinking alcohol. In addition, they are distinct substances that generate distinct effects, which makes it challenging to make direct comparisons between the two.
In light of this, we have compared the primary effects and risks involved with each substance in order to get a sense of how they stack up against one another.
Things That Must Be Taken Into Account
It is important, before beginning to compare alcohol and weed, to have a solid understanding of some of the variables that contribute to the complexity of the comparison.
A Deficiency in Research
When compared to marijuana, our knowledge of alcohol is significantly more extensive. Although there has been some acceleration in the pace of research on the subject, there is still a dearth of large-scale, in-depth studies.
The fact that we aren’t fully aware of the dangers associated with marijuana may give the impression that it’s safer than alcohol.
Products From Multiple Categories
Vaping and edibles are just two of the many ways that cannabis can be consumed, but the market is flooded with a wide variety of products to choose from.
How you consume marijuana can have a significant influence on the drug’s immediate and long-term effects. To give one example, smoking is harmful to your lungs, but ingesting cannabis does not pose the same risk.
It Depends On An individual’s Genetics
The Effects of Marijuana and Alcohol Can Vary Greatly From Person to Person
One person, for instance, might have an extremely low tolerance for marijuana, whereas another individual may be able to handle alcohol quite well. Someone else may not experience any problems with abusing alcohol, but they might still find it difficult to function if they don’t have their weed.
Implications in the Short-Term
The short-term impacts of marijuana and alcohol can vary greatly from one individual to the next. Some people report that getting drunk and high have very similar sensations, while others say that the two experiences are very different. The amount of the substance that a person consumes plays a role in how they feel when they are under the influence of intoxication.
Every single person’s experience of being drunk is going to be unique. While intoxication may make one person feel calm and relaxed, it may have the opposite effect on another.
Additional short-term consequences include the following:
- Problems with coordination and reflexes
- A deficit in cognitive abilities and impaired judgment
- Less capacity for sustained attention
- Feeling queasy and throwing up
There is, of course, the issue of the hangover the following day. In the event that you do end up with a hangover, you may also experience other symptoms, such as headaches and diarrhea.
The instantaneous effects of marijuana can have a significant amount of variation from one person to the next.
The following are some of the effects that are most frequently mentioned in reports:
- A distorted perception of time as well as problems with coordination and reflexes
- A deficit in cognitive abilities and impaired judgment
- Contentment (though it could also make others feel nervous)
- Relief from nausea and pain dry mouth dry eyes red eyes
- Increased appetite
Take into account that these effects do not include those that are associated with different methods of consumption, such as smoking or using an electronic cigarette.
In terms of the hangover, there are a few things that can happen to some people after using marijuana, including the following:
- Symptoms such as headaches
- Brain fog
The final decision
Although the physical sensation of being high on marijuana is distinct from that of being drunk on alcohol, being high on either substance has a similar influence on a person’s cognitive skills, reaction times, and judgment.
Both can leave you feeling a little worse for wear the following day, though the effects of alcohol hangovers are typically more severe.
Long-term Dangers to One’s Health
The long-term effects of marijuana and alcohol vary from person to person, just as the short-term effects of these substances do.
Alcohol can have a number of long-term consequences, including the following when it is consumed in large amounts or for an extended period of time:
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause permanent liver disease, which can interfere with your body’s capacity to metabolize substances and detoxify itself.
Pancreatitis, a disease that affects the pancreas, is most commonly brought on by excessive use of alcohol.
Consuming large amounts of alcohol can be harmful to one’s cardiovascular system.
Problems with the stomach and the digestive system
When consumed in large quantities, alcohol has the potential to irritate the stomach, which can result in ulcers, pain, and bloating.
Central nervous system damage
This could result in tingling and numbing sensory experiences in the limbs.
Consuming alcohol over a prolonged period can result in erectile dysfunction.
Consuming alcohol in large quantities or for an extended period of time can have an effect on fertility in both men and women.
It is not entirely clear what the long-term consequences of marijuana will be. In addition to that, there is the problem of the numerous ways that something can be consumed.
To this point, the following have been identified as a summary of long-term effects associated with weed:
According to the findings of a study that was published in 2014, using marijuana when one is an adolescent may result in problems with one’s brain development at a later age. However, the study was unable to determine whether or not these problems are ongoing over the long term.
The connection between smoking marijuana and developing schizophrenia is a complicated one that is not yet fully understood. However, a number of authorities think that smoking weed can bring on the first symptoms of schizophrenia in some people, particularly those who have a history of mental illness in their families. Again, this does not include the effects that are associated with the various methods of consumption.
It is also essential to keep in mind that there haven’t been many high-quality studies conducted over extended periods of time on the effects of weed.
When compared side by side
To repeat, there is a significant gap between the number of studies done on weed and alcohol, which may explain why there are fewer concerns regarding the long-term effects of using weed.
Possibility of inappropriate use
Both alcohol and marijuana have the potential to become addictive. Both substances have the potential to produce psychological and/or physical dependence in those who use them.
Alcoholism is a problem that affects a significant number of people. There are 15 million people in the United States who struggle with alcoholism, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Inappropriate use of alcohol can be indicated by the following:
- Being unable to reduce one’s consumption of alcohol
- Being forced to make adjustments to your schedule as a result of drinking and hangovers
- Struggling with intense desires to drink alcohol
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you stop drinking, such as feeling sick, sweating a lot, shaking uncontrollably, and getting headaches.
- Encountering issues at work or school as a direct result of your use of alcohol
- Having disagreements with people you care about because of your drinking
It’s a widespread fallacy that marijuana doesn’t have any addictive properties. Cannabis addiction occurs at a startlingly high rate. According to the data, there is a possibility that 30% of people who smoke pot have a “marijuana use disorder” of some kind.
The final decision
Although the risk of abusing cannabis and developing an addiction is present with both alcohol and cannabis, the former seems to be more prevalent with alcohol.
The Key Takeaway
The question of whether or not alcohol or marijuana is more harmful cannot be resolved simply. There is simply not enough proof to determine which substance is safer, despite the fact that marijuana gives the impression of being less risky. Because of the wide range of responses that each substance can elicit in individuals, what may appear to be safe for one person may not be effective for another.