Cannabis and alcohol are two substances people like to compare. Mostly because alcohol has been legal for so long and cannabis is still struggling with its legal state. They both have mind-altering properties but what makes alcohol better/safer? Why is it seen as normal to have a glass of wine in family gatherings but completely unacceptable to smoke a joint (in most families)?
If we look closely at what both substances are, it is surprising to think that an untransformed plant is considered more dangerous than the result of months even years of seepage or fermentation. Some of the deadliest poisons are indeed found in nature, but can we really put cannabis in this category?
As mentioned earlier both cannabis and alcohol interfere with our bodies but in a very different way. They also have distinct effects on our short- and long-term health.
Alcohol is associated with 88 000 deaths per year and some death related to cardiovascular system failure could be related to cannabis, but we can't put it as the cause of death. There is still too little research on cannabis health effects compare to alcohol and human health.
Alcohol has no known benefits for the human body. A lower rate of cardiovascular disease has been observed in occasional drinkers, but that's about it.
Cannabis is still a fragile subject concerning its benefits. There aren't enough studies and proof that it does has benefits. Although more and more physician is seeking potential in the plant for all kind of diseases. A lot of people are reporting their personal experience with medicinal cannabis for all types of conditions from, cancer to multiples sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and so much more.
Short term threats
The short-term threat of alcohol can actually be fatal. When drinking too much alcohol too fast, the alcohol can build up in the brain and shut down areas necessary for survival. This interferes with heartbeat and respiration patterns leading to death.
Also, if you are already taking prescription drugs, alcohol is more likely to conflict with the purpose of these drugs than cannabis.
Cannabis can affect the cardiovascular system, increasing the blood pressure and the heart rate but it can not lead to an overdose.
Long term threats
Long-Term exposure to regular drinking can lead to severe consequences, like alcoholism of course but also liver disease which can evolve into fibrosis of the liver and turn into liver cancer.
For years cannabis was associated with lung cancer at the same title as tobacco smoking. Recent studies have been able to prove that cannabis smoke doesn't affect the lungs in the same way and is actually beneficial for lung capacity.
Although It has been observed in animals, that a long term cannabis exposure, could have an impact on the reproduction system. Plus, it can also worsen psychiatric issues for people who are predisposed to them.
The main concern with both substances is when younger people experiment with them. Before 25 years old, our brains are still in development. Those two psycho-active substances when used too frequently at a younger age, can interfere with the development of the brain. Leading to all kinds of complications during adult life.
Ultimately, they are both substances we should be careful with. Slowly experimenting with both is best. Know your limits and be inform before saying one is better than the other. Alcohol is purely used as a recreational drug. Cannabis also used as a recreational drug is slowly making its way in the medical field. To conclude we have to remember that, the people who are the most at risk from these two substances are teenagers. That is why cannabis legalization could actually be protecting the younger generation.