Is weed or alcohol more addictive?

what is worse alcohol or weed

Plus, they’re unique substances that produce different effects, which makes side-by-side comparisons difficult. Research shows that nearly 90% of Americans have used alcohol at some point or another. Less than 50% of Americans have even tried marijuana, and a much smaller percentage are using it on a regular basis. So the sheer numbers of people showing up in the ER after smoking pot are going to be a lot less than for alcohol. However, having worked in ERs since pot was legalized, I can tell you that people who smoke weed are showing up a lot more now than in the past, and those numbers are climbing. Similar to cannabis, a number of variables means some individuals may be more likely to become addicted to alcohol than others.

This makes the task of building scientific drug policies very challenging. Alcohol’s effects on behavior can also lead to more crime, while marijuana use appears to have little-to-no effect. Alcohol is a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. But various studies found marijuana doesn’t make users more aggressive or lead to crime. Jon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, gave the example of an alien race visiting Earth and asking which land animal is the biggest. If the question is about weight, the African elephant is the biggest land animal.

  1. Even if two drugs score similarly in Nutt’s analysis, the underlying variables behind the scores can be completely different.
  2. One study linked the use of potent marijuana to psychotic disorders, but other studies suggest people with psychotic disorders may be predisposed to pot use.
  3. The individual scores account for a host of variables, including mortality, dependence, drug-related family adversities, environmental damage, and effect on crime.
  4. It’s vital to be aware of the risk factors that can inflate the likelihood of addiction or harm occurring for you, and take precautions to prevent unwanted outcomes.
  5. Several other studies have compared cannabis and alcohol, providing us with useful insights into how they stack up against each other in terms of safety and other measures.
  6. Factors such as genetics, a family history of alcoholism, mental health disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, and traumatic experiences elevate the likelihood of developing an addiction.

Marijuana, weed, pot, dope, and grass are all terms used to describe marijuana. It’s the same medicine that comes from the cannabis plant, just with a different name for it. It can be consumed in a variety of ways, including smoking, vaping, drinking, and eating.

What’s Worse: Weed Or Alcohol?

People were marginally more likely to drive under the influence of marijuana if six out of ten respondents said they would be prepared to do so. Marijuana usage issues have been linked to dependence and withdrawal symptoms, which can make people irritated, weary, restless, and physically uncomfortable after they stop using it. Alcohol, on the other hand, was seen as more addictive by both the men and women polled. But cigarette smoking plays a complicated role in studying the impact of marijuana smoke, Baler said. Marijuana smokers tend to smoke much less than cigarette smokers, as some may smoke one joint a few times a week. Drinking can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which can progress to fibrosis of the liver, which in turn can potentially lead to liver cancer, Murray said.

Weed may appear to be safer than alcohol simply because we aren’t yet aware of certain risks. Sure, research on the topic is ramping up a bit, but there’s still a lack of large, long-term studies. The reward circuitry in the brain can become impaired, and it’s more difficult to derive pleasure from things you would normally enjoy, such as delicious food, a sense of achievement, or physical touch.

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The analysis doesn’t fully account for a drug’s legality, accessibility, or how widely a drug is used. If heroin and crack were legal and more accessible, they would very likely rank higher than alcohol. The harm score for marijuana would also likely rise after legalization, but probably not too much since pot use is already widespread. Both weed and alcohol can carry a potential for misuse and addiction, but this appears to be more common with alcohol.

Although drug policy experts generally don’t dispute the assertion that alcohol is more dangerous than pot, the study, led by British researcher David Nutt, is quite controversial. Experts see the rankings as deeply flawed, largely because they present the harms that come from drugs in a rather crude, one-dimensional manner. As with the short-term effects of alcohol and weed, the long-term effects differ from person to person. Diverse factors, such as age, mental health, and personal circumstances, also interlock together to influence the relationship we develop with these two substances. It’s vital to be aware of the risk factors that can inflate the likelihood of addiction or harm occurring for you, and take precautions to prevent unwanted outcomes.

Drinking alcohol, like a weed, has severe short-and long-term consequences. In the short term, THC, one of marijuana’s chemical constituents, can cause changed moods, impaired physical movement, and hallucinations. alcohol-related crimes: statistics and facts Even more troubling, marijuana usage has the potential to cause brain damage in the long run. Unlike alcohol, Baler said, the effects of chronic marijuana use are not as well established.

what is worse alcohol or weed

THC increases dopamine release, and when dopamine is released, the resulting feelings of pleasure can reinforce the potentially addictive effects of the cannabinoid. Long-term heavy cannabis use, however, can blunt the body’s dopamine system. If your dopamine dextromethorphan abuse levels stay elevated for too long—due to constant cannabis use, for example—the dopamine system becomes dysfunctional. Research tells us that THC appears to be responsible for cannabis’ addictive potential due to its effects on the brain’s dopamine system.

The Truth About ADD/ADHD And Substance Abuse

The other factor that makes it hard to answer this question is the relative lack of studies on the negative health effects of weed. It’s a commonly held belief that smoking weed has fewer negative health effects than drinking alcohol, especially now that marijuana is legal in New York and many other states across the country. Recent studies similarly point to alcohol abuse articles the different ways in which individuals can develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. For example, about 29.7% of men and 22.2% percent of women aged 18 and over engaged in binge drinking in 2019. While binge drinking isn’t the same as alcohol addiction, it represents a form of misuse that contributes to the risk of developing alcohol use disorder.

In reality, respondents ranked alcohol as somewhat to very addictive, whereas marijuana was rated as not very or somewhat addictive. While people who did not drink alcohol had a higher impression of addiction than those who did, even those who used both alcohol and marijuana reported that alcohol was more addictive than marijuana. While marijuana isn’t a dangerous chemical, it does have some characteristics in common with other illegal narcotics. Despite its expanding popularity and increasing legality, people who use marijuana for therapeutic or recreational purposes should be aware of dependency risks. But while early studies showed some evidence linking marijuana to lung cancer, subsequent studies have debunked that association. A lot of research has also linked adolescent marijuana use with a range of negative consequences, including cognitive deficiencies and worse educational outcomes.

Combining Marijuana and Alcohol

“I believe we have provided the best currently available analysis of an extremely complex multifaceted data set.” The way you consume weed can have a big impact on its short- and long-term effects. For example, smoking is rough on your lungs, but this risk doesn’t apply to edibles.

How scientists rank drugs from most to least dangerous — and why the rankings are flawed

It’s also important to remember that there aren’t many high-quality, long-term studies on weed and its effects. Both can also leave you feeling a bit worse for wear the next day, though this is more likely to happen with alcohol. While being intoxicated with weed feels different than being intoxicated with alcohol, the two have roughly the same effect on your cognitive abilities, reflexes, and judgment. If you do get hungover, you might experience other effects, including headaches and diarrhea. Getting drunk or high can feel similar to some people, while others describe the sensations as very different. Of course, the way you feel when you’re intoxicated also depends on how much of the substance you consume.

People who have substance abuse or addiction are all different, and so are their journeys to recovery, but they all follow the same path. The topic of discussion seems to keep on resurfacing, with fresh research being published and more laws being passed to legalize the recreational and therapeutic use of marijuana. Although for palliative care, he said, “that would be a different realm of medicine,” in which the goal is to drug a person so they do not feel pain. All of this helps prove that marijuana isn’t totally harmless — and some of its risks are likely unknown. People’s responses to each substance can vary greatly, so what seems safer for one person might not work for someone else.

This lack of enjoyment can lead to even more chronic use to seek the high that once came so easily. A deadly car collision is far more likely when both alcohol and drugs are present in the driver’s system. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a smart idea, especially when both are involved. Driving stoned is safer than driving intoxicated, yet it is still a risky practice. As a matter of fact, guys who smoked marijuana were the least likely to engage in intimate partner violence against their spouses.

One argument I often hear is that many more people end up in the emergency room after drinking alcohol than smoking pot—and that’s true. But the reason for that is because many more people in this country drink alcohol than smoke pot. Some have speculated that alcohol may be more addictive than cannabis because, quite simply, it’s more widely legal and readily available. Recent research suggests that increasing cannabis legalization has been linked to rising rates of dependence.

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