The Disparity Between the Dangers of Drinking Alcohol and of Consuming Cannabis

A recent study published in Scientific Reports might help dispel some myths about cannabis. The report shows the disparity between the dangers of drinking alcohol and of consuming cannabis.

In the report, entitled, Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach,” alcohol has the distinction of being at the very top of the list of dangerous drugs, while cannabis falls dead last!

US culture and media extol the virtues of drinking alcohol in movies and on TV, at sporting events, concerts, festivals, corporate events, weddings, parties, and on and on. Meanwhile, cannabis advocates are fighting to de-felonize possession of marijuana on the grounds that it is a valuable medicine, that Americans should not be incarcerated for possession any more so than drinkers should, and that money currently going to criminals on the Black Market instead should instead flow back into the US economy.

Despite an ever-growing body of evidence supporting the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the United States’ list of Controlled Substances places cannabis in their Schedule 1 category alongside deadly drugs such as ecstasy and heroin. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have no therapeutic value and a high risk of abuse. Schedule II drugs with a potential for abuse but having medicinal value include cocaine, meth, and opiates. Although it is more dangerous and more addictive, alcohol is not included in either of these categories.

Alcohol kills approximately 100,000 people each year and ruins the lives of many more. Of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2005, 2.5 million of them were treated for alcohol use.

To determine the rankings for the report, researchers used a measurement called “margin of exposure” which compares each drug’s ratio of toxicological threshold to its estimated human intake. Using this measure, cannabis is rated as 114 times less dangerous than alcohol. (Even drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, and nicotine were found to be less dangerous than alcohol.)

With results like these, you would think that alcohol should be considered a schedule 1 illicit drug as marijuana is now, while cannabis should be legal and regulated like alcohol.

Thankfully, except for a few holdouts (most notably, US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions), American consumers and policymakers alike seem to be opening up to the idea that cannabis is, indeed, medicine, and far less of a menace to society than Reefer Madness and advocates of prohibition would have us believe.

12 Atrocious Alcohol Facts

Alcohol Facts Source: National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

  1. An estimated 88,0008 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  2. In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).
  3. In 2015, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
  4. In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, most notably, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries.
  5. More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study.
  6. According to the 2015 NSDUH, approximately 5.1 million people ages 12–20 reported binge drinking in the past month, while, approximately 1.3 million people ages 12–20 reported heavy alcohol use in the past month.
  7. Each year, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.
  8. 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  9. 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  10. In 2015, of the 78,529 liver disease deaths among individuals ages 12 and older, 47.0 percent involved alcohol.
  11. Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2013, 47.9 percent were alcohol-related.
  12. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast.

This post was written by Rick Schettino, Author at CanabizNews