Not all drugs have the same effect on the body, and even more, not all drugs are harmful.
Marijuana is one of the drugs commonly lumped together with heroin or cocaine, even though marijuana is much less damaging than the other two and can actually provide benefits to the body.
Even more, alcohol is yet another substance that can affect the body, yet its presence in society has become normalized, and its ill effects looked over.
It shocks many to learn that marijuana, a drug that many consider “bad,” is less harmful than alcohol. Let’s look at the science behind this claim.
Alcohol Use Can Lead to Death
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3 million deaths each year result from the use of alcohol. Of those who die from alcohol, those who are younger are affected the most, with 13.5% of all deaths in those aged 20-39 years linked to alcohol use.
As for cannabis, there is no report on the number of deaths associated with it because that risk is minuscule. In fact, a study comparing the risk of death related to marijuana found that you are 114 times less likely to die from its usage compared to alcohol.
Marijuana Overdoses Never Happen
Alcohol overdoses can happen, whereas it is essentially impossible to overdose on marijuana. While there is no evidence for the lethal dose of marijuana in humans, since an overdose has never occurred, animals studies found lethal doses ranging from 40 mg/kg to 130 mg/kg.
To put this into perspective, a typical joint contains 20 mg of THC. The average weight (in kg) worldwide is 62 kg (136 lb), so an average person would have to smoke between 124 and 403 joints at one time in order to overdose.
Greater Health Benefits
The health benefits of these two consumables are vastly different.
Alcohol has very few health benefits, and they are only obtained when alcohol is consumed in moderation, which equates to about one drink per day. For example, red wine contains polyphenols, which possess antioxidant properties, and alcohol in general reduces fibrinogen, which is a blood-clotting protein.
However, most people who drink alcohol for social reasons have more than one drink, which then leads to adverse effects and negates these benefits
In comparison, the health benefits of cannabis are numerous. Whether taken infrequently or daily, cannabis can help:
- promote sleep
- relieve pain
- reduce vomiting and nausea
- improve mood and quality of life
Marijuana Is Safer When Driving
While nobody should drive after using marijuana or alcohol, marijuana is safer for those who do.
Studies on driving while under the influence of marijuana have shown that marijuana produces little or no impairment in handling the car. This is consistently less than the impairments observed in those who took alcohol or even legal medications.
However, mixing marijuana and alcohol produces an even more dangerous driving situation, so it is important never to do that.
The Importance of Testing Limits
As with alcohol, it is crucial to use marijuana responsibly. When using it while out with friends, it is important to always test your levels to ensure you are safe to drive. With a home test that provides immediate results, this can become a second-nature quick check that keeps you, or anyone else who plans to drive, safe.