To see such a topic of conversation, one who partakes of neither might say, “Well, aren’t they both bad for you?” While it is true that cannabis – marijuana, Mary Jane, weed, bud, whatever you want to call it – has mind-altering qualities, studies have shown there are benefits of using the plant among those undergoing treatment for cancer and other diseases. Alcohol, by contrast, is cited as having the potential to cause damage to the body, particularly the liver, and effect things like memory and motor skills. Though some studies have reported on health benefits of wine (mainly the tannins, which can have similar properties to antioxidants), nonetheless use and abuse are two things to watch when you drink.
One crux of the debate on marijuana use is legality. Cannabis is illegal to grow, purchase, and possess in many states – depending on where you live, you may be eligible for medicinal marijuana if you qualify. Alcohol is legal to purchase if you are over 21, though one must bear in mind that because it is legal doesn’t mean it is a better substance. Alcohol, though a liquid, is still an addictive drug. Whether it’s wine, beer, or spirits, moderate intake can prove harmless if you refrain from driving or other activity that could put people in harm’s way.
Do you put friends and family at risk when you smoke cannabis? Those next to you may experience a contact high from second-hand smoke, yet what’s interesting to note is a study done at the University of Iowa reported that driving after having smoked marijuana had little effect on skills, though there is still a chance of distraction. These days, however, as people text and drive and work mobile phones and stereos, that level of distraction could prove more deadly than smoking a joint!
Is marijuana safer than alcohol? In truth, there is no cut and dry answer, as consumption and other variants of use come into play. Just as there are different types of alcohol, there are different strains of cannabis, and each can cause different reactions in users. What’s important to note here is that while use of weed or booze can be generally harmless, it is abuse of any vice that causes the problems. Those who use marijuana for recreation or medicinal purposes are not likely to pose a threat to themselves or others if they understand how the drug works. Organizations like NORML, which work toward decriminalization of marijuana, can provide more insight on cannabis benefits for health and financial concerns.