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Marijuana Vs. Alcohol Vs. Tobacco

Marijuana facts

According to a study, alcohol consumption presents the highest risk of death, followed by nicotine, cocaine, and heroin. The implication of this study suggests that the risks of alcohol consumption have likely been underestimated in the past.

On the other hand, Marijuana was found to be significantly less deadly and sat at the other end of the scale. This is in agreement with previous research which has consistently ranked it as the safest recreational substance.

While this may not go down well with the government, it highlights the need to use scientific evidence whilst creating policies regarding the use of legit and illicit drugs/substances.

Using a novel method to measure the risk of mortality associated with the use of various legal and illegal drugs, scientific researchers were able to confirm what earlier studies have indicated. Between marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco, alcohol is the deadliest, while marijuana is the least risky.

Claims on marijuana’s medicinal values have been widely debated despite support from medical research and study, but federal legislation that governs marijuana use aim to restrict rather than regulate. This has posed a problem for people seeking the medicinal and recreational effects of the herb.

Marijuana (Cannabis)

Marijuana (in this context) is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried, crumbled parts from the marijuana plant that can be rolled up and smoked like a cigarette or smoked in a pipe. Occasionally, people mix it in food or inhale it using a vaporizer.

Marijuana can cause problems with memory, learning, and behavior, and smoking it can cause some of the same coughing and breathing problems as smoking cigarettes.

It is also possible for some people to get addicted to marijuana after using it for a while.

Some states in the United State have approved “medical marijuana” to ease symptoms of various health problems, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the marijuana plant as a medicine.

There have been scientific studies of cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana that has led to two FDA-approved medicines. They contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are used to treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and increase appetite in patients who have severe weight loss from HIV/AIDS.

More pieces of research are being done with marijuana and its ingredients to treat many diseases and conditions.

What Is Medical Marijuana, And How Is It Prescribed?

MedicalpotMedical marijuana (Marinol: Dronabinol), is a synthetic form of marijuana that comes in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg capsules. It is used for the treatment of poor appetite and food intake (anorexia) with weight loss in people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and for nausea and vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy in individuals who have not responded adequately to usual treatments for those symptoms.


  • When used for appetite stimulation, medical marijuana (Marinol) is usually dosed at 2.5 mg once or twice per day before lunch, dinner, and/or bedtime.
  • When it is being prescribed to quell nausea, it is usually prescribed at 5 mg, one to three hours before a chemotherapy treatment and every two to four hours after chemotherapy. It can be taken up to six doses per day.

The most common side effects of medical marijuana include lack of energy, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, racing heart rate, facial flushing, and dizziness.

The most common mental side effects of Marinol include anxiety, sleepiness,  confusion,  hallucinations, and paranoia. It should, therefore, be used with caution in persons who have a mental health diagnosis, like depression, mood swings, schizophrenia, or substance abuse.

Marijuana Facts

Marijuana’s (Cannabis sativa) leaves, seeds, stems and/or roots are consumed by marijuana users for the purpose of feeling high.

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is one of the hundreds of compounds found in marijuana that has the major intoxicating effect on the body.
  • Marijuana that is consumed for medical purposes is legal in a few states of the United States. It is usually prescribed for patients with nausea or poor appetite associated with AIDS or cancer treatment.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal substance worldwide, and Possession of marijuana is illegal in most jurisdictions.
  • Medical marijuana (Dronabinol) is a synthetic form of marijuana.
  • The use of medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, where people for whom medical marijuana has been specifically recommended by a physician must carry a (medical) marijuana card that indicates their use of the substance for a clear medical purpose.
  • Attempts to completely legalize the use of marijuana, whether for medicinal purposes or not, remain strongly contested.
  • There are a variety of marijuana types or strains.
  • Numerous research studies show that marijuana is indeed an addictive substance, and the symptoms of addiction to marijuana are similar to those of any other addictive substance.
  • The symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include irritability, anger, depression, insomnia, drug craving, and decreased appetite.

The negative physical, psychological, and social effects of marijuana are numerous, and while most individuals with marijuana abuse or dependence are treated on an outpatient basis, admission to both outpatient and inpatient treatment programs for marijuana addiction has increased over the years.

There is no medication yet, that has been shown to be a clearly effective treatment of marijuana-use disorders.

How Alcohol Affects Your Health

Alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle if you drink in moderation and also exercise and have a good diet, and many of us consume alcohol to relax and socialize. However, drinking too much can affect your physical and mental health, and no level of alcohol consumption can be considered safe for everyone.

To curtail your risk of accident, disease or death, some guidelines recommend healthy adults should drink no more than 2 standard drinks on any day or occasion (A standard drink is a can of mid-strength beer, 100ml of wine, or a 30ml shot of spirits).

You are at greater risk of harm from alcohol if you are engaging in a risky activity such as driving or operating machinery. You are also at a greater risk if you are under 18, if you are older than 65, or if you are taking other medicines or drugs.

Drinking heavily can put you at risk of short-term injury or illness, and during pregnancy, no level of drinking is considered safe for the baby. The effects can also accumulate, harming your health over your lifetime.

Health Risks of Alcohol

The high number of calories in alcoholic beverages can contribute to weight gain. Being that alcohol is bad for your heart, too many extra pounds gained from drinking can lead to health issues like heart disease and type-two diabetes.

Alcohol consumption has been linked to at least several types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon.

Excessive alcohol consumption could also increase the risk of early-onset dementia. In adults with dementia, alcohol abuse disorders were found to be more than twice as common as in the rest of the population, a French study found.

Tobacco Smoking

Every year, more than 480,000 people die in the United States alone, due to tobacco-related diseases. It is estimated that 1 in 2 smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.

Two poisons in tobacco that affect peoples’ health are Carbon monoxide, which is found in car exhaust fumes and is fatal in large doses. It replaces oxygen in the blood and starves organs of oxygen and stops them from being able to function properly.

The other poison is Tar, which is a sticky, brown substance that coats the lungs and affects breathing. Smoking contributes to heart disease, osteoporosis, emphysema, stroke and other chronic lung problems.

Health Effects of Smoking


Smoking is responsible for a heap of other awful diseases.

Here are some health consequences of smoking:

  • Type 2 Diabetes: Smoking contributes to type-2 diabetes and increases the risk of complications for the people already suffering from the disease, including poor blood flow to legs and feet. This poor blood flow can lead to infection and may result in the need to amputate a limb.
  • Gum Disease: You can also risk losing your teeth from smoking since smoking contributes to periodontitis, a gum infection that destroys the bone that supports the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay and loss in adults.
  • Going Blind: Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 65.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Male sexual function is affected when you smoke, since tobacco causes narrowing of blood vessels all over your body, including those that supply blood to the penis. Fortunately, quitting will make a big difference.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening reproductive complication in women. It is more likely in female smokers and occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, resulting in the death of the egg. This can also put mom’s life at serious risk.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer forms in your intestines (colon or rectum), and cigarette smoking is one of the reasons for this cancer.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints in your hands and feet. It causes painful swelling that can eventually result in bone loss and joint deformity, and smoking is one of the causes. Smoking is also associated with developing the disease at an earlier age.
  • Bones: Smoking can make bones weak and brittle. This is particularly dangerous for women, who are more prone to osteoporosis and broken bones.
  • Cardiovascular System: Smoking causes plaque to build up in the blood. These plaques stick to the walls of arteries, making them narrower. The result will be a reduction in blood flow, which increases the risk of clotting. This narrowing of the arteries makes it harder for blood to flow, as well as increasing blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Lungs: The lungs are the most obvious part of the body that is affected by smoking. Smoking can primarily damage the airways and air sacs (known as alveoli) in the lungs and often, the lung disease caused by smoking can take years to manifest. Three of the most common lung diseases of smoking are the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. It is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Unfortunately, there is no cure.

Risk Assessment of Marijuana and Other Substances

The intoxicating effects of marijuana, although different, are not thought more severe than that of moderate alcohol intake. Amazingly, alcohol is not illegal anywhere in the United States, or most countries all over the world.

A study published in January 2015 assessed the comparative risk between different “mind-altering” substances, specifically alcohol, tobacco, cannabis (marijuana), and other illicit drugs like heroin.

Surprisingly, the study revealed that marijuana was the least risky substance. The results of the study were conclusive, and the highest spot for health risk belonged to alcohol, while the succeeding spots were filled by heroin, cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine, methadone, amphetamine, diazepam, and marijuana.

Marijuana was found to be over 100 times less toxic than alcohol, and it can be surmised that its effects on health and society have been largely overestimated.

If there was a plant that couldn’t be more misunderstood or was intentionally maligned, it got to be marijuana.


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