Obama may be the first US president to ever admit marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.
Yet his remarks shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the science.
Indeed, while US federal law classifies marijuana under the most dangerous category of substances, research provides many reasons why marijuana is the safer choice:
01. Marijuana can’t kill you
In all of history, there has never been a recorded death by marijuana overdose. In fact, research shows an average-sized person would need to smoke 48 pounds of weed – all at once – to come close to a lethal dose.
Alcohol, however, can be lethal at merely 10 times the average amount that users drink. Likewise, alcohol poisoning causes over a thousand deaths per year in the US.
02. Marijuana doesn’t cause liver disease
In total, alcohol claims approximately 88,000 lives a year in the US. And the number one cause of these deaths is liver disease.
On the other hand, research shows marijuana has no impact on the liver. A study suggests it might even protect the liver from alcohol-related damage.
03. Marijuana doesn’t cause brain damage
Long-term alcohol use has been shown to cause permanent brain damage, both in adults and in teens.
On the other hand, studies have confirmed marijuana does not cause brain damage. In fact, compounds in marijuana are considered neuroprotective, and some studies even suggest they can promote the growth of brain cells.
04. Driving high isn’t nearly as dangerous
While some studies suggest marijuana can impair driving abilities, every study that has compared it with alcohol has found alcohol to be far worse.
For example, a study found having marijuana in the blood nearly doubles the risk of a fatal crash, while alcohol increases the risk more than twenty-fold.
05. Marijuana is a medicine
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the marijuana vs. alcohol debate is marijuana’s potential as a medicine.
In an interview with USA Today, Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, explained how he often prescribes marijuana to treat nausea, appetite loss, pain, depression and sleep problems.
And he aptly points out:
I never recommend alcohol to patients as a treatment for anything.