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.
A large percentage of Americans now have access to medical marijuana. This natural medicine treats a multitude of different symptoms from a variety of illnesses. There are literally hundreds of different strains available to choose from. For many first time users, it can be hard to decipher which one can treat your symptoms. Dispensaries commonly separate strains into larger categories of either Sativa, Indica, or Hybrids. In order to help you understand the differences, we are going to compare & contrast these 3 larger categories.
As far as appearance goes, the Sativa plant is taller in stature with narrower leaves. It goes through a longer flowering cycle and is better suited for warmer climates that have a longer season.
Sativa generally has a greater effect on the mind. It is commonly used during the day due to it’s energizing and invigorating properties. Sativa pairs well with physical activity, creative projects and social gatherings. It typically is a mood and productivity booster. These effects are often caused by the higher concentration of THC.
The Indica plant is the exact opposite of Sativa in the way that it looks. Indica is shorter, with wider leaves. It has a shorter flowering cycle and is better off in a colder climate with a shorter season.
The effects of Indica are usually quite different than Sativa, as well. Indica has more effect on the physical body than the mind. Due to it’s relaxing and sedating properties, it is perfect for night time use. It can act as a natural sleep aid because of its calming effect.
Hybrids are a combination of Sativa and Indica so they can look like either one, depending on the concentration of strains used.
Again, hybrid plants can share the effects of both Sativa and Indica. Generally speaking, a hybrid strain can be a good balance of each, boosting your mood and then mellowing you out without making you too sleepy.
Which is Right for You?
It’s important to note that some studies have shown that there is no scientific proof that Sativas will always make you feel energized or Indicas will always produce sedating effects. Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D. is a chemist that has said we need to be more focused on cannabinoids and Terpenes.
The two most common cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC produces the euphoric high. People suffering from chronic pain, nausea, migraines, depression and anxiety often choose strains with a higher THC concentration in order to treat their symptoms. CBD offers similar effects of THC, without the high. This is a common choice for people in need of relief that also need to maintain a clear mind for work or school. Mixing strains with THC and CBD offers a slight euphoric effect while still effectively treating symptoms. Terpenes play a large role in producing sedating and/or energizing effects, as well. They are also responsible for cannabis’ aroma, which has a surprising therapeutic effect.
Dr. Raber recommends focusing less on Sativa, Indica, or Hybrids and paying more attention to concentration of cannabinoids (THC & CBD) and aroma of strains. Understanding the effects of THC, CBD and Terpenes will enable you to choose a strain that will better treat your symptoms. Your best bet is to experiment with different strains until you figure out which one works best. Cannabis is a complicated subject. It is extremely diverse, which also happens to be why it is such an effective tool for such a wide variety of people. With so many combinations to choose from, it can help just about anyone.
If you are a Florida resident with questions or concerns, book your free consultation today! We have qualified physicians on staff ready to help! Call us at (786) 224-4005, book online, or visit one of our 12 Florida locations. We’re here for you.
Studies have shown that states which have passed medical marijuana laws have seen a significant decrease in prescription opioid use. These studies also suggest that the use of medical marijuana in place of opioids will not only save hundreds of thousands of lives but also billions of dollars, each year.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are prescription pain killers. A few examples of these drugs are OxyContin, Vicodin and Morphine. Common side effects of opioid use include sedation, nausea & vomiting, constipation and dizziness. Severe side effects of routine opioid use include tolerance & dependence, respiratory depression and even death.
According to the CDC, approximately 115 people die from opioid addiction in the United States each day. This is almost 42,000 people each year! According to the National Institute of Health, 25% of patients that are prescribed opioids misuse them; 5% of which end up transitioning to heroin. Aside from thousands of deaths per year, the misuse of prescription opioids cost approximately $78.5 Billion This includes the cost of healthcare, treatment, lost productivity, criminal justice proceedings, etc…
What is Medical Marijuana?
“Medical marijuana” refers to the pure extracts from a whole, unprocessed marijuana plant. The incredible healing properties come from the high concentrations of Cannabidiol (CBD) as well as the high levels of medical terpenes. There are CBD receptors in almost every organ in the human body. When the CBD interacts with these receptors, we experience the therapeutic and non-psychoactive effects. CBD is well-known for it’s anti-inflammatory and neurological benefits.
Tetrahydrocannabidiol, commonly known as THC, is also found in marijuana. This is the most potent psychoactive compound in the Cannabis plant, responsible for the “high” feeling. According to Doctor Margaret Gedde, THC can be highly beneficial for those that are suffering from extreme pain. This would include patients that are prescribed opioids.
Opioids VS. Medical Marijuana
Studies have shown that marijuana users can, at times, experience a mild dependence. Unlike opioid dependence, marijuana dependence can be reversed relatively easily. This is due to the fact that marijuana dependence can be broken without having to go through the debilitating withdrawal symptoms that opioid users have to deal with.
The human body is extremely adaptable and can develop a tolerance to any drug. A negative side effect from consistent opioid use is cognitive impairment (memory loss). When a patient develops a tolerance to opioids, they will require a higher dosage to get relief from chronic pain. The problem is many physicians are reluctant to up the dosage in fear of intensifying these side effects and potential addiction.
A survey was conducted on patients who have used both opioids and medical marijuana. Results of this survey have shown that participants reported a much higher satisfaction rate from cannabis, as far as pain relief is concerned.
Medical Marijuana has already reduced the use of opioids in America and has great potential to eliminate them all together. Medical marijuana offers all of the benefits of opioids (pain relief), with much less risk of withdrawal and negative side effects.