Alcohol vs. Cannabis

Alcohol vs. Cannabis

Alcohol vs. Cannabis: Why Many are Ditching the Bottle for the Blunt

Picture this: it’s 7 p.m. on a Friday night. You’ve just gotten home from work. It’s been one of those weeks. You’re exhausted and feeling the burn out; a feeling many of us know all too well. You want to maybe call up some friends or enjoy some much needed solitude, but need something to take the edge off. And the great debate begins: Alcohol or cannabis?

Many adults are making the choice to replace alcohol with cannabis. Amid the recent pandemic, Harris Poll surveyed 2,000 adults aged 21 and up. Almost half of cannabis consumers reduced or completely replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis. The poll also discovered that a third of those who recreationally use cannabis prefer it over alcohol. Parents in particular are gravitating towards cannabis at higher rates than those without children.

The survey showed that more than half of parents (52%) with children under the age of 18 started or increased their consumption of cannabis since the pandemic. Similarly, parents who regularly consume cannabis (57%) reported they replaced or reduced their alcohol consumption with cannabis. While abstinence from both alcohol and cannabis (unfortunately) remains the healthier choice, we have broken down some solid reasons why many adults are choosing to go “California Sober” – aka, ditching the bottle for the blunt.

Safety First!

It is important to call out that while alcohol has been extensively researched for decades, cannabis has not. There is a lot more data available to us on alcohol than cannabis and there are many individual factors that can contribute to the effects of either substance. Some of these include genetics, intensity, and frequency of use. However, based on the research that is available to us, we know that alcohol can be dangerous at both individual and public levels. In most cases, alcohol is not life-threatening.

We have all indulged in a bottle or two (or three) with friends and have experienced a hangover from hell, but nothing fatal. However, that is not always the case. Alcohol is considered to be one of the most harmful substances. According to the CDC, nearly 88,000 alcohol-related overdose deaths occur each year. Binge drinking accounts for about half of those tragic deaths.

Not to mention, excessive alcohol use has been linked to some pretty serious illnesses, such as pancreatic cancer and liver failure. Yet, alcohol remains to be the more socially acceptable choice. It’s often more appropriate to have a glass of champagne during celebrations whereas cannabis can still be taboo across many cultures.

Now onto what you came here for: Cannabis. In comparison, the number of deaths caused by cannabis consumption is almost zero! That’s right, zero! A fatal dose of THC would be anywhere between 15 and 70 grams. Just to give you a ballpark of just how much weed that is, a typical pre-roll contains about half a gram of THC. That means you would have to smoke anywhere between 250 to 1000 joints a day to overdose. Needless to say, that’s a lot of joints for the average cannabis consumer to inhale.

No Hangover

! This is a big one. Probably one of the top reasons many of us are choosing cannabis over alcohol. Hangovers can be treacherous, and last longer than we would like them to. Even a night of a few glasses of wine can have us feeling unbalanced the next day. Ethanol, which is in every one of our favourite drinks, is a toxin. It’s found in lovely things like gasoline and nail polish remover, and is responsible for those even lovelier effects such as your head spinning round and round the next day and a full-on blackout. Good times…

As adults, feeling offbeat and not being as productive as we normally can be feels heavy on our conscience, and we feel guilty. The good times become questioned and the battle in our minds starts to form. With cannabis, however, you’ll never have to trade a day for a night ever again. Your body doesn’t treat cannabis as a toxin like it does with alcohol. Cannabis works with your body through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). When cannabis is consumed in any form it activates receptors (CB1 and CB2) that respond both to the compounds in a cannabis plant and the natural cannabinoids produced by your body.

Our bodies do not have any natural ethanol receptors. So, when we swallow down that stiff martini, the tissues and cells respond to it as something toxic. Our bodies do not treat cannabis in the same manner as it does with alcohol, therefore, hangover-free

! Cost and Calories!

Weekly runs to the LCBO to stock your bar cart can become quite pricey, especially if you have good taste. And with inflation these days, cutting costs where we can is the right move. It was reported in 2017 that the average Canadian household spent $1098 per year on alcohol, and it has increased since then.

Choosing to purchase a pre-roll, edibles, or vapes from a cannabis retail store can be way less expensive than buying decent booze. Not to mention, alcohol is full of empty calories and a ton of sugar. A night of binge drinking with your friends could easily lead up to 2000 calories or more. And all you’re left with are hazy memories and dehydration. It’s assumed that people who consume cannabis frequently get the munchies and overindulge late at night in front of the fridge. And that definitely can happen. However, a study showcased that people who consume cannabis regularly tend to be slimmer. The results revealed that not only are cannabis users slimmer, but their body has a healthier response to sugar.

The Choice is Yours.

Alcohol and cannabis are both prevalent in social circumstances and moments of relaxation, and each has a time and place. The research shows that cannabis can be a safer choice, less harmful to the body, and cost-effective both financially and calorically. Ultimately the choice to consume cannabis or alcohol is yours to make. And if you are truly concerned about your health, neither is recommended. Neither alcohol nor cannabis are completely risk-free. But then again, most things in life aren’t. The universal precaution is to use restraint of both and adopt a balanced and disciplined approach. Use less, use safely!

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