It’s taken long enough, but cannabis, marijuana, or weed how is colloquialy known, is finally losing the stigma that has surrounded it for so many years. All across the globe, people have finally come around to realize that cannabis not only offers a wide range of benefits, but it’s also safer than another drug that has been widely accepted (and legal) for literally thousands of years: alcohol.
Why is it that the majority of addiction counselors, physicians and law enforcement officials across the globe agree that cannabis is safer than alcohol?
Here are some of the reasons why:
- Heavy alcohol use can lead to severe health problems. According to the World Health Organization, 3 million deaths worldwide every year come from harmful use of alcohol. The harmful use of alcohol is also a casual factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.
- Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large. The harmful use of alcohol can also result in harm to other people, such as family members, friends, co-workers and strangers.
- There is a causal relationship between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioral disorders, including addiction, depression and anxiety. The latest causal relationships are those between harmful drinking and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, as well as the incidence of HIV/AIDS. In addition, alcohol consumption by an expectant mother may cause fetal alcohol syndrome and pre-term birth complications.
- Alcohol abuse is also directly attributable to unintentional and intentional injuries, including those due to car accidents, violence, and suicide. Fatal alcohol-related injuries tend to occur in relatively younger age groups.
On the other hand, weed has no significant health risks – and studies show that it even decreases risky behavior and violent tendencies. The American Addiction Center states that while alcohol exacerbates underlying mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, cannabis is proven to reduce anxiety and help patients in their fight against depression.
In addition, cannabis has never caused a single overdose. In fact, it has saved lives through its treatment of epilepsy and cancer.
Also, cannabis does not kill brain cells (as alcohol is known to do). Conversely, as detailed in a study conducted in 2009, cannabis contains neuroprotective properties that literally protect the brain from damage.
Finally, few users of cannabis report developing dependence or addiction. For those who do, it is more mental than physical.
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