10 Reasons Marijuana Is Far Safer vs. Alcohol


 Source: Marco Torres, Prevent Disease Waking Times

Both cannabis (marijuana) and alcohol have very different and complex actions on the brain. The long term effects of both are often quite different from their short term effects. We have been led to believe that cannabis is a dangerous and addictive drug that has destroyed the lives of countless teens and adults. We have also been encouraged to accept through poorly designed scientific studies, that cannabis causes lung cancer and is a “gateway” to harder drugs. The government has even tried to convince the public that people who use cannabis are more at risk to themselves and the public than those who use alcohol. What we have been led and encouraged to believe through mainstream education about cannabis and its reality, are two entirely different things.


The health impact of any drug depends on how it’s used, who’s using it, how much is used, and under what circumstances. Cannabis and alcohol are no exception, so comparing them directly is difficult — each possesses the potential for unique risks or benefits.

Both alcohol and cannabis can be considered a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behavior and often addiction. But there are major differences in how each reacts with the human body.

Alcohol, regardless of its type (i.e. beer, wine, liquor, etc) is a class A1 carcinogen which are confirmed human carcinogens. Alcohol consumption has been causally related with breast cancer for some time. Increasing evidence indicates a stronger association with neoplasms, though the risk is elevated for other types of breast cancers too. Regardless of how much alcohol is consumed, it will always be a class A1 carcinogen. That doesn’t mean you will get cancer from drinking a beer or a glass wine, but the classification for the substance is clear.

Cannabis on the other hand is a plant and it is one of the most powerful healing plants in the world which can make cancer essentially disappear. Cannabis compounds are responsible for halting the growth factors that are responsible for metastatic growth. Cannabinoids can alsoreduce heart attacks by 66% and insulin dependent diabetes by 58%.

However, the therapeutic effects of cannabis come from juicing the leaves or extracting its medicinal compounds, NOT smoking it. “If you heat the plant, you will decarboxylate THC-acid and you will get high, you’ll get your 10 mg. If you don’t heat it, you can go up to five or six hundred milligrams & use it as a Dietary Cannabis. . . and push it up to the Anti-oxidant and Neuro-protective levels which come into play at hundreds of milligrams,” stated Cannabis clinician Dr. William Courtney.

So there is clearly a major difference in therapeutic value based on how the majority of cannabis users experience the plant, rather than the methods to maximize cannabinoid delivery into the blood stream.

Cannabis – whether Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis, male, female, hermaphrodite, wild, bred for fiber, seeds or medicinal resin – is a vegetable with every dietary essential we can’t synthesize: Essential Amino Acids, Essential Fatty Acids, Essential Cannabinoid acids and hundreds of anti-Cancer compounds.

As social element, there is nothing wrong with smoking cannabis either, but it will not provide the same therapeutic value is all. Smoking it is not “bad” or “wrong” or “immoral.” It is simply something that millions of responsible adults choose to do with their own time, just like drinking a glass of wine. Despite alcohol being more toxic, more addictive, more harmful to the body, more likely to result in injuries, and more likely to lead to interpersonal violence than cannabis, the latter is demonized.

Below are just a few facts that highlight the very different impacts of these two popular substances on those who consume them and on the broader community. A vast amount of additional information can be found in the book, Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink? (Chelsea Green, 2009), which was foreword by the former Chief of the Seattle Police Department.

1. Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from cannabis use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of cannabis.

2. People die from alcohol overdoses. There has never been a fatal cannabis overdose. The official publication of the Scientific Research Society, American Scientist, reported that alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs and using just 10 times what one would use to get the desired effect could lead to death. Cannabis is one of — if not the – least toxic drugs, requiring thousands of times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death. This “thousands of times” is actually theoretical, since there has never been a case of an individual dying from a cannabis overdose. Meanwhile, according to the CDC, hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur in the United States each year.

3. The health-related costs associated with alcohol use far exceed those for cannabis use. Health-related costs for alcohol consumers are eight times greater than those for cannabis consumers, according to an assessment recently published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal. More specifically, the annual cost of alcohol consumption is $165 per user, compared to just $20 per user for cannabis. This should not come as a surprise given the vast amount of research that shows alcohol poses far more — and more significant — health problems than cannabis.

4. Alcohol use damages the brain. Cannabis use does not. Despite the myths we’ve heard throughout our lives about cannabis killing brain cells, it turns out that a growing number of studies seem to indicate that cannabis actually has neuroprotective properties. This means that it works to protect brain cells from harm. Research published in the journalsBehavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Researchdemonstrated that even extremely low doses of THC (cannabis’s psychoactive component) — around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional cannabis cigarette — can jumpstart biochemical processes which protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function say researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU). Another example is one recent study which found that teens who used cannabis as well as alcohol suffered significantly less damage to the white matter in their brains. Of course, what is beyond question is that alcohol damages brain cells. Scripps scientists discovered that eleven months of alcohol consumption that produced a blood alcohol level sufficient to be considered intoxicated decreased neurogenesis by more than fifty percent! Furthermore, the decrease in neurogenesis lasted for many weeks of abstinence. In contrast to the effects of alcohol, a series of publications during the past few years suggest that stimulating the brain’s cannabis neurotransmitter system appears to have the exact opposite effects upon neurogenesis in the hippocampus of both young and old laboratory animals and humans, i.e. neurogenesis is increased by stimulation of our brain’s cannabis receptors. When we are elderly, our brain displays a dramatic decline in neurogenesis within the hippocampus. This decline may underlie age-associated memory impairments as well as depression. Research has demonstrated that stimulating the brain’s cannabis receptors restores neurogenesis. Thus, later in life, cannabis might actually help your brain, rather than harm it.

5. Alcohol use is linked to cancer. Cannabis use is not. Alcohol use is associated with a wide variety of cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, lungs, pancreas, liver and prostate. Cannabis use has not been conclusively associated with any form of cancer. In fact, one study recently contradicted the long-time government claim that cannabis use is associated with head and neck cancers. It found that cannabis use actually reduced the likelihood of head and neck cancers. If you are concerned about cannabis being associated with lung cancer, you may be interested in the results of the largest case-controlled study ever conducted to investigate the respiratory effects of cannabis smoking and cigarette smoking. Released in 2006, the study, conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that cannabis smoking was notassociated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers found that people who smoked cannabis actually hadlower incidences of cancer compared to non-users of the drug. THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. Researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to actually treat lung cancer. Continue reading

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