If I told you there was a substance that is highly addictive and kills over 2.5 million people a year, while another substance has been shown to be medically beneficial and shows minimal long-term side effects, which one would you guess was illegal? Well, if you’re a logical person, you probably guessed wrong. The latter—cannabis—has been illegal since 1937, while every other television commercial is for an alcoholic beverage.
Cannabis is Less Addictive
One of the loudest reasons that cannabis is safer than alcohol is the addictive nature of the two substances. While Cannabis Use Disorder is a real mental illness, cannabis is 66% less addictive than alcohol. One 1994 study found that only 9% of people who tried cannabis developed a use disorder, while 15% of people who tried alcohol developed an addiction. A more recent study done in 2013 found that 30% of cannabis users developed a use disorder while 32.1% developed an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol is Linked to Cancer
The research is in—alcohol is linked to various cancers. Even as little as a drink a day increases the risk of developing breast cancer in women. In fact, in 2017 a group of the nation’s top cancer doctors issued a statement urging people to drink less. Cannabis, on the other hand, has removed its name from any cancer-causing connections thanks to the latest research.
Alcohol is Associated with Violence
It would be reckless to say that alcohol causes violence, but to say that there isn’t a link between the two would be even more so. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol has been found to be a factor in 40% of all violent crimes. That number is staggering.
Alcohol reduces the functioning of your prefrontal cortex. This is the part of your brain that helps in moderating your social behavior. This reduction has also been shown to be linked with aggressive behavior. Cannabis and alcohol couldn’t have a more perfect dichotomy in this respect. Research has shown that cannabis consumers are significantly less likely to become violent with their spouses during the first ten years of marriage when compared to those who did not smoke cannabis.
These are just three of the ways that cannabis is safer than alcohol. The list goes on as far as you are willing to follow the rabbit hole. Alcohol has been mainstream for so long that it is hard to see it falling from grace any time soon. But as more and more data point to alcohol being no good for us, maybe cannabis can start to overcome alcohol as America’s favorite social pastime.