A study published for the British Journal of Psycho pharmacology in September of this year (via NORML) claims that after examining over 40 years of the “relative physical, psychological and social harms” of cannabis and alcohol in the United Kingdom, alcohol is more than twice as harmful as the illegal cannabis. Anybody that’s been to a keg party in college or ripped a bong in their living room knows about the differentiation, so lets take a look at the subjective elements of this study in this author’s life.
Via the studies abstract.
A recent expert-led comparison of the health and social harms to the user and to others caused by the most commonly used drugs in the UK showed alcohol to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to users, and five times as harmful as cannabis to others.
So, alcohol is a lot (5 x) more dangerous to those around whom drinking is taking place, and twice as harmful for the user. This makes sense. Alcohol is a depressant, but it has a way of leading to the most insane behavior imaginable, and not the fun kind cannabis smokers elicit.
I’ll ask our readers some questions and if you answer in the comments, you’ll see alcohol is far more dangerous than cannabis. This is far from scientific, but as the UK study and countless others– including this Reuters article–show, alcohol is more dangerous. Always has been. Except prohibition didn’t work, so we continue to drink as a nation and as a world.
- Have you ever resorted to stealing money from relatives to feed your cannabis addiction?
- Have you ever gotten someone pregnant because you smoked too much cannabis?
- Have you ever become physically aggressive or violent when smoking cannabis?
- Have you ever crashed a car you were driving while impaired from smoking too much cannabis?
- Has cannabis ever led you to cheat on your spouse or exhibit other questionable behavior?
- Have you ever been taken advantage of when you were high off cannabis?
Most of these questions would be answered with a resounding “no” by our readers. That’s because cannabis is drastically less harmful in how it effects the user, and perhaps most importantly, the people around the user.
Fermented fruits and grains vs. cannabis sativa. Alcohol kills people either from over-drinking, drinking and driving, or cirrhosis of the liver for long time drinkers. Cannabis smoking can lead to psychotic breaks for those already predisposed to schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Cannabis can also cause lung cancer if it’s smoke regularly over an extended period of time just like anything that’s smoked regularly over a long period of time.
Unlike a lot of cannabis literature out there, smoking herb can kill you if you smoke it all the time; You will very likely die from lung cancer, but you can’t overdose from it. Alcohol, if you drink enough of it in one sitting, can kill you. Done. Finito. Gone. Cannabis doesn’t have that risk.
All the above information is stuff I threw together as a long time drinker and cannabis smoker. Please refrain from claims that I present one-sided information. I asked some questions you can answer in the comments, I mentioned a couple studies. I subjectively feel cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, but science believes so too.
Also, from the NORML blog:
Naturally, any health costs related to cannabis use pale in comparison. A 2009 review published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal estimated that health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers of alcoholic beverages than they are for those who use cannabis, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers. “In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user,” investigators concluded.
What do you think? Is Cannabis safer than alcohol?
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