Which Is Worse For Your Health, Marijuana or Alcohol? Here’s The Science : ScienceAlert

Researchers say that alcohol causes more damage to the brain than marijuana does. Alcohol appears to be linked more closely with weight gain than marijuana, despite weed’s tendency to trigger the munchies. Alcohol is strongly linked with several types of cancer; marijuana is not.

Chronic drinkers display reductions in memory, attention, and planning, as well as impaired emotional processes and social cognition — and these can persist even after years of abstinence. “We have to have a conversation. There are risks and benefits, and in moderation everything is fine.” By submitting this form you agree to terms of use and privacy policy of the website.

Brandt says research has found cannabis use can cause blood vessel constriction, increase your sympathetic nervous system hormones and are also, in general, pro-inflammatory. Join our online community to learn more about addiction and treatment. Looking to help someone with their alcohol addiction, we have provided some more information for those seeking guidance. More than 65 million Americans were estimated to engage in binge drinking on at least one occasion . Over 216 million individuals were estimated to have used alcohol at least once over their lifetime.

Marijuana affects the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, whereas alcohol primarily affects the neurotransmitters gamma aminobutyric acid and NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate, an excitatory neurotransmitter). When these drugs are combined, particularly at high doses, the effects of both drugs are enhanced, and this can lead to some significant issues. Using substances to cope with negative feelings may be a sign of a substance use disorder or an alcohol use disorder. Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time can lead to alcohol poisoning, where critical parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and temperature can shut down, leading to death.

To give you an idea of how much marijuana that is, consider that a typical joint contains about half a gram of marijuana. That means that you would have to smoke between 238 and 1,113 joints in a day to overdose on marijuana. While both are intoxicants used recreationally, their legality, patterns of use and long-term effects on the body make the two drugs difficult to compare. https://soberhome.net/ Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery. Excessive drinking can cause chronic liver disease, which can affect your body’s ability to process substances and detox itself.

whats worse weed or alchol

Make sure you’re in a safe environment, and it’s probably best to have a sober adult around in case anything goes sideways. The large January report found that cannabis is not connected to any increased risk of the lung cancers or head and neck cancers tied to smoking cigarettes. The latest Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms report lists health conditions that can be wholly or partially attributed to substance use.

As anxiety over the pandemic rose, so did alcohol and marijuana sales across the country. One piece of this trend that is worth taking a beat with is that parents are increasingly choosing weed over booze, by wide margins. © 2023 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK. All rights reserved.

What are the Effects of Mixing Weed and Alcohol?

In 2010, 1.5 million people died worldwide from alcohol-attributable cancer, liver cirrhosis, and injury, according to a 2014 study. Light and moderate drinking have a reduced risk of death from all causes, whereas heavy drinking increases risk of all-cause mortality, according to a study of more than 330,000 people. (Although this is a large and rigorous study, long-term mortality for moderate use of alcohol is difficult to pin down and there are a number of quality studies that flip this finding). The jury is out on whether cannabis increases the risk of death. I think about which substance might put young people at risk for being hurt by others.

whats worse weed or alchol

Even after students reported stopping marijuana, their cognition did not improve. In contrast with culpability studies, case control studies compare the prevalence of marijuana use among drivers injured or killed in traffic accidents with a control group of other drivers. The validity of these studies depends upon careful selection of an appropriate control group for comparison. Of parents who have tried pot, 52% increased their consumption during the pandemic compared to 33% of adults without young kids.

Carroll wrote a provocative piece for the New York Times exploring what’s known about the risks of these two popular but easily abused substances. And while doesn’t advocate underage users trying either one, he says it’s clear that overall, alcohol causes a lot more harm. In comparison, the number of deaths caused by marijuana is almost zero. A study found that a fatal dose of TCH, the potent chemical in marijuana, would be between 15 and 70 grams.

Join the thousands of people that have called a treatment provider for rehab information. Marijuana – which is commonly called pot, dope or weed – is made from a dried plant called cannabis. People either smoke it like a cigarette or add it to certain foods. For more information about the risks of long-term smoking, visit Facts About Smoking. While a substance may affect one person one way, it can affect a different person an entirely different way. According to data provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, about 5.9 percent of 12th graders reported daily use of marijuana in 2017, up from 5.1 percent in 2007.

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Keep in mind that there are dozens of factors to account for when comparing the health effects of alcohol and marijuana, including how the substances affect your heart, brain, and behavior, and how likely you are to get hooked. People commonly combine marijuana (commonly referred to as “weed”) and alcohol, and as marijuana becomes legal for recreational purposes sober house boston in many states, this practice is likely to increase. Both of these drugs have many similar effects, but act through different mechanisms. Both result in sedation, alterations in judgment, perceptual effects that include time distortions and even minor hallucinogenic effects, and physical effects that include slowed reflexes and decreased motor coordination.

whats worse weed or alchol

We still live in a world that cannabis is less accepting and could change the pool of users, making for an innacurate study. One of the most common things people want to know is whether alcohol or marijuana is worse for your brain and overall health. “It’s important to make your doctor aware of any substance you’re taking, whether its an over the counter or herbal medicine,” Colvin said. “It can increase or decrease effectiveness or levels of medicine that you’re taking. Some compounds that are found in marijuana are using the same pathways to be metabolized as other common heart medications.” This includes blood thinners, anti-cholesterol medications and some blood pressure medicines. Get professional help from an addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp via phone, video, or live-chat.

This “thousands of times” is actually theoretical, since there has never been a case of an individual dying from a marijuana overdose. Meanwhile,the CDC attributes more than 1,600 U.S. deaths per year to alcohol poisoning. Besides alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly detected drug in drivers involved in car accidents. One study found that marijuana increased the odds of being in car accident by 83%.

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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 the drug. 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. For the study, which was published in January, 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.

  • The validity of case-control studies rests entirely on careful matching of cases with controls, which is hard to do.
  • Over 85% of American adults say they’ve consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, and nearly 70% say they’ve had a drink in the past year, as reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  • James Nicholls, a director at Alcohol Research UK, told The Guardian that those findings should be taken with a grain of salt since “any protective effects tend to be canceled out by even occasional bouts of heavier drinking.”
  • In fact, studies suggest that regular smokers have a slightly reduced risk of obesity.
  • In fact, some studies have argued that marijuana can be worse for the teen brain than alcohol, contributing to a long-term decline in cognitive ability .

Still, she encourages women with a family history of such disorders to be cautious about using cannabis. “Whether it’s a chicken or an egg, certainly avoiding a psychotic disorder should be a priority,” she says. Statistics Canada has said that the increase in cannabis consumption is likely because the drug has become more socially acceptable, and the number of retail outlets and products has been growing.

Together, the effects on impairment are additive and may even be synergistic. Chronic marijuana smokers are less impaired by both alcohol and marijuana than would be expected, however. The validity of case-control studies rests entirely on careful matching of cases with controls, which is hard to do.

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Marijuana has also proven to have an impact on the developing teen brain. In fact, some studies have argued that marijuana can be worse for the teen brain than alcohol, contributing to a long-term decline in cognitive ability . Brasch adds that both alcohol and cannabis should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol use is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, including 37 percent of rapes and 27 percent of aggravated assaults. But these are all associations, not known causal pathways. It may be, for instance, that people predisposed to psychosis are more likely to use pot. Moreover, all of these potential dangers seem scary only when viewed in isolation. Put them next to alcohol, and everything looks different. Stopping or reducing doses of prescription medicine, also called deprescribing, is something many older adults would like to do, and some have already done without medical guidance.


However, as marijuana becomes legalized in many different states, research studies looking at the frequency of mixing these two drugs as well as the potential long-term effects of combining them will evolve. There are several important generalizations that can be made concerning combining these two drugs based on what is known about the effects of them individually from some research studies. Often referred to as “greening out,” alcohol and Marijuana users can have an undesirable reaction when combining the 2 substances. Physical symptoms like nausea and vomiting are common, as well as sweating and dizziness. Psychological symptoms may occur such as anxiety and distress.

Meanwhile, no deaths from marijuana overdoses have been reported,according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency . If you’re thinking of trying cannabis to treat a health condition, Jesseman urges you to consult a health care practitioner and not eco sober house review the internet. Too much booze can lead to a hangover, whereas too much cannabis can make you feel burnt-out. Research shows that alcohol at any dose can help you fall asleep faster, but it can also disturb your sleep later in the night.

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