Is Marijuana Safer than Alcohol?
December 4, 2012
Is Marijuana Safer than Alcohol?
It is Friday night, and you are getting ready to get your weekend stated. What to do is the question; to roll one or pour one. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, whereas alcohol is legal and can be purchased anywhere. Marijuana and alcohol are two of the most commonly used recreational substances. Although using marijuana is not as dangerous as drinking alcohol. Marijuana use is linked with addiction, respiratory, and mental illnesses. Increased heart rate and systolic blood pressure are also linked with marijuana use; however, the risk is as dangerous as the use of caffeine or tobacco (Ostrowsky, 2011). The “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration” (n.d.), states “Smoking marijuana can cause health problems, such as chronic coughing, chest colds, lung infections, breathing problems, and cancer”. According to “Office of National Drug Control Policy” (2012), “Marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory”. Marijuana use during pregnancy is known to affect the fetus growth and interfere with the supply of oxygen and supplements (“National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre”, n.d.). Alcohol affects the consumer’s body and the growing fetus. Impaired brain function and motor skills are affected during alcohol consumption. The excessive use of alcohol can risk cancers, strokes, and liver disease (“National Institute of Drug Abuse”, n.d). Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect the growth of the fetus as well as the central nervous system and can cause facial distortion to the unborn child. Children are also known to be born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) (“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”, n.d.). Marijuana does not lead to aggressive and violent behavior. Marijuana gives the user a laid-back and calm behavior, rather than a violent or aggressive demeanor. Users report that marijuana makes them more calm, easy going, and provides them with a pleasant feeling. Even though marijuana use and violent behavior are associated, it is still hard to understand the connection (Ostrowsky, 2011). When the user experiences anxiety, phobia, and paranoia it can lead him or her to become aggressive. When the effects of marijuana are becoming scarce the user can become annoyed, which can lead to aggressive demeanor as well. Marijuana users are perceived to be violent because the drug has to be purchased in the street. Violence is known to take effect during these transactions (“University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute”, n.d.). On the other hand, heavy alcohol use causes injuries, including traffic, domestic violence, dangerous sexual behavior, defects during pregnancy, miscarriages, stillbirth, and alcohol poisoning (“Centers of Disease Control and Prevention”, 2012). Alcohol and aggressive behavior has been linked in studies. Laboratory studies claim that alcohol does lead to aggressive behavior. Aggression is known to be caused by alcohol for some (Levinson, Giancola, & Parrott, 2011). Do to negative life circumstances, the increase in violent acts and behaviors are easily triggered by alcohol consumption (Bye, 2007). The most important reason using marijuana is not as dangerous as drinking alcohol because marijuana is less impairing than alcohol (Bramness, Khiabani, & Morland, 2010). Driving under the influence of marijuana is found to occur more than driving under the influence of alcohol. Combining marijuana with alcohol can cause more impairment to the driver. The study assesses that a minimal amount of alcohol is more impairing than marijuana (Bramness, Khiabani, & Morland, 2010). In 2010 31% of the traffic fatalities were caused by alcohol impaired drivers. Over 1.4 million arrests were made for alcohol or narcotic influenced driving. 18% of behind the wheel deaths were caused for other drug related use including marijuana (“Center for Disease Control and Prevention”, n.d.). In conclusion, although marijuana is an illegal drug, using marijuana is not as dangerous as drinking alcohol for two main reasons. First, marijuana does not lead to aggressive and violent behavior. But most important, marijuana is less impairing than alcohol. Statistics have shown that marijuana is not the leading cause of vehicular deaths. Both substances will continue to flourish in today’s society and future generations.
Bramness, J., Khiabani, H., & Mørland, J. (2010). Impairment due to cannabis and ethanol: clinical signs and additive effects. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 105(6), 1080-1087. Bye, E. (2007). Alcohol and violence: use of possible confounders in a time-series analysis. Addiction, 102(3), 369-376. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov Levinson, C. A., Giancola, P. R., & Parrott, D. J. (2011). Beliefs about aggression moderate alcohol's effects on aggression. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 19(1), 64-74. doi:10.1037/a0022113 National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ncpic.org.au/ncpic/publications/factsheets/article/cannabis-use-and-reproduction National Institute of Drug Abuse. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/marijuana_fact_sheet_3-28-12.pdf Ostrowsky, M. (2011). Does marijuana use lead to aggression and violent behavior?. Journal of Drug Education, 41(4), 369-389. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//PHD641/PHD641.pdf University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ncpic.org.au/ncpic/publications/factsheets/article/cannabis-use-and-reproduction