The legal cannabis trend
More countries are legalizing the use of cannabis for recreational and medicinal applications. Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Australia but it’s allowed for medicinal purposes in all 6 states and territories in this country.
According to a Rabobank study, legalization of cannabis in the United States is “spreading like wildfire.” Nine states have already legalized recreational uses for marijuana and Michigan could be the tenth.
These legal changes mean, you cannow buy a variety of products that contain cannabidiol (CBD) includingsoap skincare products, CBD oil as well as cannabis edibles online. Cannabis edibles are cannabis-infused food for medicinal and recreational purposes that contain the cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is one of the active compounds in cannabis and has a calming effect on the body and mind.
The first question then, associated with the rapid growth of cannabis availability and consumption, then, is how safe is this ever growing array of products.
A Threat to Demand for Alcoholic Drinks
The Cannabiz Consumer Group sees cannabis-infused drinks as the next trending product after expected reforms in cannabis laws in the United States. Cannabis-infused drinksmay be a major threat to the producers of alcoholic beverages unless they can think of effective ways to counteract the challenge of legal cannabis-infused drinks
Rabobank say that the alcoholic beverages sector is likely to be threatened by the encroachment of legal cannabis-infused drinks in its market. In the same study they point out that, “women and older, wealthier individuals say they will use more marijuana after legalization.”
The second question associated with cannabis legalization is how does it’s use contrast to safety concerns associated with alternatives and the products for which it substitutes, particularly alcohol?
Why Cannabis Is Better For You than Alcohol
1. Less deadly than alcohol overdose:
- One study compared the comparative risk of deaths from the use of 10 intoxicating drugs including tobacco and alcoholbased on each substance’s margin of exposure (MOE). The result showed that alcoholgives users the highest riskand was placed in the ‘high risk” category together with nicotine, cocaine and heroin. THC from cannabis was considered as “low risk”in the same assessment. Other substances tested were placed under the “risk” category. The study showed that a person is about 114 times more likely to die from overdosing on alcohol than they are from cannabis. Too much alcohol intake is deadly because the body can’t metabolize it as fast as it is consumed. The resulting alcohol build up in the brain shuts down body functions necessary for survival like respiration and the user’s heartbeat.
- Alcohol overdose is said to occur at around 5 to 8g/kg. So, for a 60 kg person, 300 grams of alcohol (or 1 liter of 100% alcoholic drink) can be lethal.
- With Marijuana, on the other hand, for an overdose would result, the user would have toconsume fifteen hundred pounds of the substance in fifteen minutes, according to the author of “Weed: A User’s Guide”, David Schmader.
An average of 6 people dies of alcohol poisoning daily in the US according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Potentially, many of these lives could be saved if use of marijuana was substituted for alcohol by these users.
2. Cannabis Lowers Body Mass Index (BMI):
- A study of 13,000 participants, aged were 18 to 26 years old, showed that dailyusers of marijuana had on average, approximately 3 percent lower body mass index(BMI) than those who were not marijuana users. The result of the 6-year study was published in September issue of “The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics.”
- On the other hand, a single glass of alcoholic drink may have about 100 or more calories. Regular consumption of alcohol could add up to at least a thousand calories that are stored as fat if not used by the body.
- Although marijuana can increase the user’s appetite, users say that they don’t think about food Whenthey are “high.”
3. No Nasty Hangovers:
- A nasty hangover is a common consequence of an alcohol drinking spree. A severe headache and nausea are just two of the unpleasant symptoms of a hangover. Being stoned with marijuana may make you feel groggy the morning after but that’s not as brutal as how most feel when they have a hangover.
4. Fewer Car Accidents:
- Driving while “high” on marijuana is dangerous. It increases your chance of getting involved in a car accident by 83%. However, if the intoxication is caused by alcohol, the chance increases by over 2200%!
5. Reduced Risk Of Injury:
- Both cannabis and alcohol mess up your motor skills.Drunk users lose their coordination which causes accidents – bumps into hard objects or, in extreme cases, an individual falling down the stairs. The loss of coordination is much less when you’re high from cannabis than when you’re drunk with alcohol.
6. Less Addictive than Alcohol:
- According to a study of 8000 people by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the addiction rate for marijuana was 7%, alcohol 15%, cocaine 17% and nicotine 32%.
7. Not Associated With Violence:
- Several studies have linked excessive alcohol to violent behavior, in social occasions, on the road as well as at home. This has not been the case with cannabis. A number of studies link cannabis use to considerably lower rates of violence between domestic partners compared to those who had drinking problems.
8. Does Not Cause Brain Damage:
- Habitual, excessive drinking of alcohol can cause physical and psychological damage to the brain.
- On the other hand, the use of marijuana does not show significant changes to the brain structure.
- Scientists at the University of ColoradoBoulder reviewed imaging data of the brain to study the effects of alcohol and cannabis.
9. Not Related to Major Diseases:
- Unlike cannabis, excessive alcohol drinking has been identified to increase the risk for liver cancer and other diseases. In fact, cannabis is recommended by some doctors as an effective treatment to certain illnesses.
Bringing it all together
FACTStudies in various countries have been made to show that cannabis is much less harmful than alcohol, the major substitute people use to relax and socialize.
Legalizing its use would lead to even more discoveries of what this wonder drug can do.