In this article, we’re going to compare and contrast, Alcohol Vs. Cannabis, to discover their similarities and differences. Alcohol and cannabis share the ability to alter a person’s mood and state of mind. Both of these things are also capable of affecting us physically, albeit in different ways.
While alcohol has been linked to approximately 88,000 deaths per year, it has been federally legal for quite some time. Most supporters of the legalization of medical marijuana would agree that cannabis is far less risky than alcohol, which begs the question… Why is cannabis still federally illegal, while alcohol is not?
There are many different types of alcohol (beer, wine, vodka, etc), however, they are all essentially made from sugar and yeast through a process called fermentation. More than 52% of Americans aged 12 or older consider themselves current alcohol users. 1 in 10 Americans aged 12 or older, have admitted to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
Mental and Physical Effects
If you’re a healthy adult, having a drink every now and then is not going to hurt you. A glass of wine or a beer, can help you relax and even provide a boost in mood. With that being said, it doesn’t take much for those positive effects to turn negative.
Occasional and moderate drinkers can experience symptoms such as memory impairment or blacking out. This can cause he/she to engage in reckless activities, such as unprotected sex or driving under the influence. Moderate drinking can also increase the risk of certain types of cancer, violent confrontations, falls, drownings and car accidents.
Heavy drinkers are even more likely to experience the previously mentioned symptoms. They are also prone to brain damage, permanent memory loss, increased depression, anxiety & thoughts of suicide, difficulty sleeping, paranoia, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal disorders.
It’s important to note that alcohol is much more likely to negatively interact with other medications. Alcohol has the ability to kill you if you drink too much, too fast. It can shut down your brain and other essential organs.
Cannabis comes in several different forms as well, all of which are made from the natural cannabis flower. Nearly 22% of American adults ( 55 million people) over the age of 18, claim that they currently use marijuana at least 1-2 times per year. 70% of Americans agree that cannabis is less risky than alcohol.
Mental and Physical Effects
The effects experienced after marijuana use, depend largely on the specific strain used. There are many reasons why marijuana is becoming more and more popular in the medical world. The benefits of this plant, far outweigh the risks. As you will see, the possible negative effects of marijuana are much less severe than the negative effects of alcohol.
Different Strains, Different Effects
There are two primary categories of cannabis: Sativa and Indica. Sativa typically contains higher concentrations of THC. THC is the component of marijuana that provides the ‘high’. Sativa is known for its effect on the mind. These strains promote increased energy, making them a great option for those partaking in physical activities. Sativa also promotes creativity and productivity.
Indica is commonly higher in CBD and lower in THC. This means they can provide benefits to people who are not looking to get high. These strains have more effect on the physical body by acting as a natural sleep aid due to their relaxing and sedating properties.
Compared to Alcohol
People that suffer from a variety of diseases, choose to use medical marijuana for a number of reasons. Cancer patients choose to use cannabis to increase their appetites, reduce their pain, and provide them with energy. People suffering from mood disorders and PTSD also use marijuana for pain relief and it’s mood boosting properties. Those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders experience relief through the use of medical marijuana. Have you noticed a pattern here? While Alcohol creates a lot of these same symptoms, cannabis is working to treat them.
While they are less severe, cannabis does come along with a few negative effects. These include short term memory loss, a decrease in attention span and focus, a slowed reaction time and lack of coordination. Driving while under the influence of marijuana is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s important to note that people that are predisposed to high anxiety may experience paranoia or heightened anxiety, although this is quite rare. You may also develop dry mouth and red eyes, as well.
Answering the Question…
Why is cannabis still federally illegal, while alcohol is not? There are many different theories as to why this is the case.
Some people say that it’s just a matter of timing. They claim that if alcohol wasn’t currently legal under federal law, it would probably be just as hard to legalize it in this day and age. People were just more open to things like alcohol and tobacco back then.
Another theory is that the fed is ‘in bed’ with the big pharmaceutical companies. These companies would stand to lose billions of dollars if marijuana was to become federally legal.
The simplest explanation, and probably the most common is the ongoing belief that marijuana is a gateway drug. Most opponents of the legalization of marijuana will claim this to be true, although there are no scientific studies that prove this.
To be fair, there have been many more studies on the effects of alcohol than their have been for marijuana. Alcohol is much more accessible, to a wider range of people. This could explain, at least partially, why there are so many more alcohol related deaths in this country. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that marijuana has the ability to promote many more positive effects when compared to alcohol.
Whether or not cannabis will ever be legalized federally is still up in the air. Fortunately, all that truly matters is the fact that many states are legalizing medical marijuana. When it comes down to it, any American in need of relief should have the right to access marijuana as a viable medical treatment.
If you’re a Florida resident suffering from any of the illnesses or symptoms above, schedule your free consultation with one of our medical professionals, today! You can call us at (786) 224-4005, schedule online, or visit one of our 12 Florida locations.