It is an argument that has been ongoing for years: alcohol vs weed, which is more dangerous, which causes more deaths, which is cheaper and better for the country? There is a lot to cover, so let’s get to it.
Alcohol vs Weed: Health Problems
You will hear arguments from cannabis advocates who claim weed is healthy and weed can cure cancer, while alcohol causes it. They like to demonize alcohol because it helps to make their point. After all, weed is not legal, yet alcohol is. And when you consider how much worse alcohol is than weed, it doesn’t make much sense.
That much is true. It really is a more dangerous drug and we’ll discuss that throughout this Alcohol vs Weed article. However, weed is far from harmless. Smoking it can cause throat cancer and lung cancer, and it has also been known to trigger mental health issues in people who are susceptible.
In most people, weed is perfectly healthy. If they eat it or vape it then they can avoid the cancer risks and if they are healthy mentally then they can avoid the other associated risks. But even then, there can be problems. The stereotype of a long-time weed smoker is of someone who doesn’t leave the house, doesn’t have many prospects and is constantly paranoid.
This is not true in all cases, but it’s a stereotype for a reason and that’s because this really does happen in many long-term smokers. So, while it is healthier and can be safe to consume, there are still many risks and if you overdo it then you increase the chances of it negatively affecting your life.
Alcohol vs Weed: Deaths
There have been deaths attributed to marijuana use. However, it has been said, even by experts, that this is a “cop-out” by coroners who can’t attribute the death to anything else and know that the deceased smoked prior to passing. The truth is that death from marijuana is very rare. There are risks and you are at a greater risk if you suffer from heart conditions and breathing problems, but even then the risk of death is low.
You would likely sicken yourself before you could smoke enough to overdose on weed. However, that is not the same with alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is a very real threat, as is liver damage, deaths from drunk driving, and deaths from drunken misadventure.
According to the World Health Organization, around 5% of all global deaths are related to alcohol. That’s 5% of every single death in the world. That’s millions of deaths and it means that you have a 1 in 20 chance of dying as a result of this substance.
Of course, it also means that you can reduce your risk of death by the same amount if you abstain. Those deaths include everything from violence triggered by alcohol, to the many diseases that alcohol can cause.
When it comes to risk of death and weed vs alcohol, it’s clear who wins. Even if you factor in the smoke inhalation, it’s still not a close contest. The average weed smoker doesn’t consume enough on a regular basis for that to be as big of an issue.
Alcohol vs Weed: Which is Better for the Economy?
It’s hard to arrive at an exact figure when quoting how much weed or alcohol would gain or lose. However, there are a few things that we know.
Firstly, accidents and overdoses on alcohol are a huge drain on every country’s health care service. In countries like the UK, where alcohol is legal, weed is not and all health care is free, the country is said to lose £3.5 billion a year to alcohol medical costs, with total alcohol harm coming to over £21 billion, or around $27 billion USD.
The UK is said to earn around £10 billion in alcohol taxes. That more than covers those NHS costs, and while it doesn’t cover the bigger number, there are other things to consider that might and it’s hard to judge.
However, it’s irrelevant, because weed would be able to generate just as much money in revenue, but it wouldn’t cost the health system nearly as much. Sure there would be losses. There would likely be more of a drain on the mental health services, there would be some accidents and there may be lost jobs.
But the revenue would likely cover all of that and then some. And once you legalize and tax weed, then you’re taking money away from of organized criminals, which also helps to keep more money in the country and cuts down on legal costs, border control and policing. This certainly seems to be the case in regions that have decriminalized weed, including many American states.
As for as the economy goes for weed vs alcohol, both seem profitable, but weed would likely have the edge.
Other Drugs vs Alcohol
There are arguments that if alcohol is legal, then other drugs should be. These would likely increase if weed was legalized in many countries. However, the arguments get a little weaker once you start considering other drugs.
You only need to look at the damage that the opiate epidemic has done in the United States to see how bad legal opiates could be for the country. That pretty much rules out drugs like opium, morphine, heroin and many opioids. The same can be said for sedative drugs like Valium. What’s more, if these drugs were legalized, then the pharmaceutical companies would be the ones getting richer, not the government, and no one wants that.
But what about legal drugs? What about “natural” drugs? Well, everything has a base in something natural. MDMA begins as an oil found in tree trunks; cocaine comes from leaves. Weed vs alcohol is one thing, but alcohol vs these drugs is another, because like alcohol, these drugs can kill. It is very easy to overdose, to get addicted, and to lose control when you’re on them.
It’s true that alcohol is often just as bad, but that’s not an excuse to make everything else legal. What’s more, it’s easy for an inexperienced child to pop too many pills or snort too much powder and end up dead before they even feel any effects. With alcohol, at least they have a good chance of making themselves sick before they consume too much and realize how much trouble they’re in.
Money wise, legalizing all drugs would probably be good for global economies and it would bring about the demise of many cartels. But it would likely cause more problems then it would fix.
Why is Alcohol Legal and Weed is Not?
There are likely many reasons. Some claim that the governments are in the alcohol companies pockets. Others claim it’s all down to the paper companies and their fear of widely available hemp. But it might be a lot simpler.
We know from our experience with prohibition that it is very hard to control the production and sale of alcohol. You need seeds, optimum growing conditions and at least several months to kill in order to grow weed. And with a few instructions and some LED grow lights from sites like Lumi Growth, you don’t even need to be outdoors. However, you need a degree in chemistry to make other drugs, as well as hard-to-find chemicals.
For alcohol, you just need sugar, water, yeast and a couple days and you have alcohol in its basic form. It’s probably less about corruption and more about the governments of the world saying, “if we can’t stop it, let’s at least try to profit from it”.
Weed vs Alcohol
When it comes to weed vs alcohol, we have a clear winner across the board. In terms of dangers, risks and benefits to the economy, weed wins hand down. It is also showing a lot of promise as a medication for everything from cancer to glaucoma and more.
In terms of “buzz”, well, that’s entirely down to you, but unless you live in a few key states or in countries like Netherlands, then there’s a good chance that you can only consume one of these legally. At least for the time being.