Monday, November 7, 2011

Top 8 Reasons Marijuana is Safer Than Alcohol

1. Cause of Death: 79,000 Deaths per Year Attributed to Alcohol / 33 Deaths per Year Attributed to Marijuana
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2. Overdose: 1,393 Deaths per Year Due to Alcohol Poisoning / 0 Deaths Ever Due to Marijuana Poisoning
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3. Accidents: Alcohol Increases Risk Taking Behaviour, Marijuana Does Not
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4. Cancer: Alcohol is a Major Factor in Cancer Incidence / There is no Proof That Marijuana Causes Cancer
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5. General Health: Average Beer, 150 Calories / Average Joint, 0 Calories
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6. The Long Term Effects of Excessive Alcohol Consumption are Far Worse Than the Long Term Effects of Excessive Use of Marijuana
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7. Sex. Alcohol is a Depressant and Decreases Stimulation / Marijuana May Actually Increase Stimuation
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8. Crime: Alcohol is a Major Factor in Most Violent Crimes / The Most Common Crime Smoking Marijuana Leads to is…Smoking Marijuana.
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Deaths per Year Due to Alcohol vs. Marijuana

   According to FDA reports, there were an average of 33 deaths per year that could be attributed to marijuana use, between January 1997 and June 2005. In all of these cases marijuana was listed as a secondary factor in the death. Not one case stated marijuana as a primary factor. (1.)
   Excessive alcohol use, on the other hand, was a factor in approximately 79,000 deaths per year, between 2001 and 2005. Excessive alcohol use was the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States for this time period. (2.)


Overdose: Alcohol vs. Marijuana

   While only 10 times the “normal” amount of alcohol consumption can lead to death, it would theoretically take 1000 times the “normal” amount of marijuana consumption to cause death. According to the CDC, there has never been any report of a marijuana induced death. (3.) Alcohol poisoning is the primary cause of 317 deaths per year on average, and a contributing factor to death in another 1,076 deaths every year, for a total of 1,393 deaths every year caused by alcohol poisoning. (4)

3. Source: The American Scientist (Magazine of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society). Gable, Robert. May-June 006.

Accidents: Alcohol vs. Marijuana

   Marijuana differs from alcohol in that alcohol use often increases risk-taking behavior, while marijuana use does not. Every year alcohol use is a major factor in deliberate self-harm, domestic accidents and violence. (5)
5.  Source: British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, 2002.

Cancer and the Effects of Alcohol vs. Marijuana

   Alcohol is associated with an increased risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx and larynx, colon, liver, stomach, breast, and ovaries. A 2011 study found that one in 10 of all cancers in men and one in 33 in women were caused by past or current alcohol intake.(6)(7)
   While many researchers agree that marijuana contains known carcinogens, or chemicals that can cause cancer. Results of epidemiologic studies of marijuana and cancer risk have been inconsistent, and most recent epidemiologic studies have not found a substantial effect on cancer risk.(8) A recent study, funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse, which involved 1200 people who had lung, neck or head cancer and an additional 1,040 people without cancer matched by age, sex and neighborhood, found that even the very heavy marijuana smokers showed no increased incidence of the three cancers studied.(9)


Short Term Effects of Alcohol vs. Marijuana

   Smoking marijuana regularly (a joint a day) can damage the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decrease the ability of the immune cells in the lungs to fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells. Marijuana use also impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, and learning. (10)       
   Alcohol use also affects the immune system as a whole, and also impairs perception, judgment thinking and learning. In addition, while the average joint has 0 calories, the average beer has about 150 calories, which can contribute to weight gain, not to mention hangovers.

The Long Term Effects of Alcohol vs. Marijuana

  There are some physical health risks, particularly the possibility of damage to the airways in people who smoke marijuana or any other substance for that matter. However, the latest and most comprehensive research on marijuana has concluded that it does not contribute to the development of lung cancer. (11) While some people believe that marijuana can cause mental illness, studies have shown that marijuana may enhance the effect of such illnesses, it certainly does not cause them. (12)
   Alcohol is a primary or secondary factor in a wide range of health problems. Excessive use of alcohol can cause mental heath problems such as brain shrinkage, dementia, physical dependence, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.  Damage to the physical body may include chronic gastritis, anemia, hypertriglyceridemia, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, stroke, fatty liver, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, liver cancer, acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, alcoholic lung disease, kidney stones, increased risk of gouty arthritis.  Alcohol can also cause skin diseases such as urticaria, porphyria cutanea tarda, flushing, cutaneous stigmata of cirrhosis, psoriasis, pruritus, seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea. (12.5)


The Effects of Alcohol and Marijuana on Sex

   Alcohol tends to have a negative effect on male sexual performance, since alcohol intoxication can decrease sexual arousal, decrease pleasureability and intensity of orgasm, and increase difficulty in attaining an erection, also known as whiskey dick. However, men that suffer from premature ejaculation may actually benefit from the decreased stimulation.
   The effects of marijuana on libido are inconclusive, but marijuana does not appear to have negative effects on sexual performance. Studies have shown that marijuana boosts libidos, increases sensitivity to touch, and enhances erotic pleasure in roughly 50% of people who smoke. (13)

13. Osborne GB and C Fogel. "Understanding the Motivations for Recreational Marijuana Use Among Canadians," Substance Use and Misuse (2008) 43:539

The Social Effects of Alcohol vs. Marijuana

   It is widely known that alcohol use contributes to aggressive behavior and acts of violence, but studies have shown that marijuana use actually reduces the likelihood of violent behavior. (14) According to a Harvard School of Public Heath study, 72 percent of college rapes occurred when the female was too intoxicated by alcohol to resist/consent. (15) Another study shows that in about 67% of child-beating cases, 41% of forcible rape cases, 80% of wife-battering, 72% of stabbings, and 83% of homicides, either the attacker or the victim or both had been drinking. (16) In the US, about 3 million violent crimes occur each year in which victims perceive the offender to have been drinking at the time of the offense. On the contrary, because marijuana is still illegal in lost places, the most common crime smoking marijuana leads to is…smoking marijuana.

14. Hoaken, Peter N.S., Sherry H. Stewart. Journal of Addictive Behaviors. 28, pages 1533-1554. Drugs of abuse and the elicitation of human aggressive behavior