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Marijuana Vs. Alcohol: The Stoned Cold Facts

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March 5, 2013 in Health


Marijuana Vs. Alcohol: The Stoned Cold Facts by James Gambino

The following article I have written up is an intuitive compare and contrast article of Cannabis and Alcohol. Big-Pharma denies the facts. Our health system doesn’t make sense! This article is unbiased and does not harp on government corruption or Marijuana Lobby groups.

Alcohol has played an important roll throughout human history. It brings people together, lightens moods, helped civilizations throughout ancient history, and most importantly is made naturally. From 1920 to 1933, the United States went through a painful and futile alcohol prohibition. Brewing, selling, and consuming alcoholic beverages were all federal offenses. Today, this is inconceivable, although marijuana prohibition began in the early 1920’s and was made illegal in every state by 1937. It has been illegal ever since. Seventeen states have legalized marijuana for the treatment of ailments like glaucoma, the effects of chemotherapy, and chronic pain still defying federal law that deems marijuana as more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine.

Glancing at the health aspect of either essence, alcohol is, without a doubt, dangerous; especially in high quantities. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 deaths occur each year due to alcohol abuse. The CDC does not have a category for marijuana related deaths because there has never been a single death caused by the consumption of marijuana. When someone is intoxicated by alcohol, or drunk, they have ethyl alcohol molecules surging through the bloodstream. Ethyl alcohol can move through lipids or fats and can pass through cell membranes permitting it to a limitless journey through your body. It will wander through your muscles and even into your heart and brain where the secret of its powers lay. Alcohol is a depressant. This means that it will hinder your neurological system, effectively blocking glutamate receptors, slowing down brain response and with enough can be fatal, ultimately ending subconscious controls like breathing and heartbeat. It takes just ten times the amount of alcohol that gives you the desired effect to lead to death. The “high” associated with cannabis is focused on cannabinoid receptors. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 found in various places in the brain and the CB2   receptor found in our immune systems, with the highest concentration in our spleen. These receptors are absent in the medulla oblongata, or the part of the brain stem responsible for respiratory and cardiovascular functions, so tasks like breathing and heartbeat will not be affected by marijuana. One of the only psychoactive chemicals, or chemicals that produces the “high” with marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This produces a euphoric effect. It would take a theoretical tens of thousands of the amount of marijuana that gives you the desired effect to cause death. This estimation is theoretical because it is impossible to do so. Alcohol use leads to the increased risk of cancers in the mouth, throat, larynx, liver, colon, and breasts.  Since tobacco smoke is positively linked to cancer many people are led to believe that the smoking of marijuana would be the same, however twenty years of research from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco indicates that Cannabidiol (CBD), one of many non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, effectively stops the growth and spread of cancerous cells neutralizing and returning the cells to normal health essentially curing cancer. CBD is also known to relieve ailments like nausea, convulsion, inflammation, and anxiety, all without the “high.”

At a recreational standpoint, cannabis is used worldwide just like alcohol is. Alcohol is used in some cooking, consumed in a variety of beverages, even put into candy and gelatin. Marijuana is consumed through an assortment of smoking accessories, eatable goods from cookies to soft drinks, vaporizers, pill form, and beyond. Just as someone would claim they come home after a hard day of work and relax with a nice cold alcoholic beverage, they may sit down and unwind with some of mother nature’s marijuana bud.

The main issue involving both substances is law. In 1920 when alcohol was prohibited by the government, commendable people turned to organized crime and “rum running” which was a slang name for conducting illegal underground alcohol sale operations much like the surreptitious sales of marijuana today. Alcohol prohibition wasn’t prolonged being repealed in 1933 shattering the issue of making innocent people into criminals. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Schedule 1 substances are classified under the criteria of having a high potential for abuse, having no accepted medical uses disregarding state law, and having a lack of accepted safety for the use under medical supervision. If you were to look at alcohol under this same criteria, we could say that it is very similar. The Office for National Drug Control Policy does not have this policy for alcohol abuse because alcohol is legal federally. November 6th 2012 Colorado and Washington state voted and passed a bill that completely legalizes the possession, consumption, and regulation of marijuana like alcohol. This bill will also allow more intensive studies of cannabis. Our federal government refuses to recognize marijuana as having medicinal benefits and continues to treat it as if it were more dangerous than cocaine or methamphetamine.

Comparing and contrasting alcohol and cannabis for recreational use sheds a new light on the marijuana plant. Is marijuana as ghastly as we are led to believe it is? Should it be regulated like alcohol is in our nation or similarly? With much resemblance and much deviation between alcohol and marijuana we are left with debate that we can only conclude with knowledge, truth, and certainty.

Article by
James Gambino

I look forward to reading the comments and having a good discussion about the topic.

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