Alcohol is widely available and socially acceptable to drink, the beverages are advertised in all major media, and alcohol is available in anywhere from the supermarket to your favorite restaurants.
Cannabis was up till now mostly illegal everywhere, and is still not as socially accepted by the masses. Although these attitudes are beginning to change, there are still many people who believe that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol.
Several studies link alcohol with violence, particularly at home. That has not been found for cannabis.
It’s impossible to say whether drinking alcohol or using marijuana causes violence, but several studies – including a recent analysis published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience – suggest a link between alcohol and violent behavior.
For the study, which was published in 2018, researchers used fMRI scans to see how two alcoholic drinks impacts brain function in 50 healthy adult males. Compared with sober participants, the intoxicated volunteers were found to have reduced functioning in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain linked with moderating social behavior. That reduced functioning was also linked with aggressive behavior.
The finding aligns with some previous research on alcohol’s connections with violence. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes, and a study of college students found that the rates of mental and physical abuse were higher on days when couples drank.
On the other hand, no such relationship appears to exist for cannabis. A recent study looking at cannabis use and intimate partner violence in the first decade of marriage found that marijuana users were significantly less likely to commit violence against a partner than those who did not use it.
Anybody who has ever spent some time partying. Have most likely seen the effects that drinking alcohol can have on a person. Loud, incoherent, and even aggressive is not that uncommon.
Now visualize the people smoking cannabis or having an edible, and you will likely have a far more chilled out mental image. Based on this, it would be easy to assume cannabis users are less of a threat than drunks, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Both drugs may be linked with risks while driving, but alcohol is worse.
In 2017 there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired- driving crashes according to NHTSA.
Traffic accidents are also more prevalent in cannabis users than the general population. But the exact figures are hard to determine. That is because THC can stay detectable in your system for several days. So someone can test positive for weed long after you have sobered up.
It is estimated that use of marijuana could increase your chances of a fatal crash by as much as 83%. However, this is much lower compared to alcohol, which could increase the risk by 2,200%!
In most cases, drinking alcohol is not life-threatening. However, when people consume too much alcohol, it can be fatal. The CDC reports that nearly 88,000 alcohol-related deaths occur each year.
Which is a big difference to Marijuana use, as deaths directly related to marijuana are practically non-existent.