What Is More Harmful – Weed Or Alcohol?

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

The past few years have seen marijuana usage getting more and more legal approval. From recreational to medicinal, one debate keeps popping up – which is more harmful, weed or alcohol? Both have recreational and medicinal usage, and both have a reputation for having negative impacts on society. But how much of that is true?

For now, marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Alcohol, on the other hand, can be legally consumed by anyone who is at least 21. But President Obama had once said in an interview with The New Yorker that he did not think that marijuana causes more harm than alcohol.

So which one is more harmful?

Weed Or Alcohol: Which Has More Cases Of Fatal Overdose?

In the majority of cases, drinking alcohol does not pose a threat to one’s life. However, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can result in death. As per the US CDC, about 95,000 people lose their lives annually due to incidents directly or indirectly related to alcohol consumption. Binge drinking accounted for 50% of them.

Read: Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol, Says Police And Crime Commissioner 

Now, overdosing on marijuana has caused 0 deaths, as per any official records, so far.  However, there are still traffic accidents that have resulted in fatalities because of marijuana intoxication. Nevertheless, according to WHO, somewhere between 15 and 70 grams of marijuana would be fatal. But a typical joint has about 0.5gm of marijuana. This implies that one has to smoke at least 238 joints within 24 hours to pose any fatal threat.

Effect On Crime Rates

Both weed and alcohol are believed to cause intoxication and influence people into becoming violent. However, studies have found that alcohol causes a lot more harm in this regard.

A study researching violence between partners and marijuana use found that pairs that used marijuana showed lower violence during the marriage’s first nine years. Interestingly, marijuana-using men had the lowest possibility of being violent towards their spouses.

Which Is Worse For The Road: Weed Or Alcohol?

Whether you are stoned or drunk, you do not want to be driving a vehicle. The two most common drugs found in drivers who were in traffic accidents are alcohol and marijuana, with alcohol being in the top spot. A study concluded that marijuana intoxication makes traffic accidents 83% more likely to happen. However, in the case of alcohol, that number was over 2,200%.

The conclusion here is that one should never drive under any kind of influence, be it weed or alcohol.

Mental Proficiency

It is common to forget recent memories after a heavy bout of drinking. Drinking heavily can massively impair the ability to make new memories. More than 50% of frequent drinkers claimed to blackout at least once in the year and forget everything about their situation. It was during this period that they were involved in dangerous activities like driving drunk.  

Read: Multiple Studies Show That Alcohol Is The Real “Gateway Drug” Not Cannabis 

On the other hand, recent studies indicate that smoking marijuana as adolescents have a greater chance of developing learning and memory issues as they grow older. However, the amount of marijuana that can have this effect is not yet conclusively known.


Drinking alcohol during even the first weeks of pregnancy can result in life-long effects on the baby. Drinking during pregnancy can increase the risk of the child having intellectual, physical, and behavioral disabilities – known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

However, this does not mean marijuana is safe. Studies have indicated that marijuana usage at the time of pregnancy can cause the birth of underweight babies. It is also the illegal drug that is most often used during pregnancy.

Although there is no clear verdict between which is worse between weed and alcohol, one thing is certain: both have their risks. However, more and more studies are revealing that marijuana might be safer than alcohol, at least, in a lot of respects.

Image credit: 123RF

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