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We took a scientific look at whether weed or alcohol is worse for you — and there appears to be a winner

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Which is worse for you: weed or whiskey?

It’s a tough call, but based on the science, there appears to be a clear answer.

Keep in mind that there are dozens of factors to account for, including how the substances affect your heart, brain, and behavior, and how likely you are to get hooked.

Time is important, too — while some effects are noticeable immediately, others only begin to crop up after months or years of use.

The comparison is slightly unfair for another reason: While scientists have been researching the effects of alcohol for decades, the science of cannabis is a lot murkier because of its mostly illegal status.

More than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2014. There have been zero documented deaths from marijuana use alone

In 2014, 30,722 people died from alcohol-induced causes in the US — and that does not count drinking-related accidents or homicides. If those deaths were included, the number would be closer to 90,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, no deaths from marijuana overdoses have been reported, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. A 16-year study of more than 65,000 Americans, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that healthy marijuana users were not more likely to die earlier than healthy people who did not use cannabis.

Marijuana appears to be significantly less addictive than alcohol

Close to half of all adults have tried marijuana at least once, making it one of the most widely used illegal drugs — yet research suggests that a relatively small percentage of people become addicted.

For a 1994 survey, epidemiologists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse asked more than 8,000 people from ages 15 to 64 about their drug use. Of those who had tried marijuana at least once, roughly 9% eventually fit a diagnosis of addiction. For alcohol, the figure was about 15%. To put that in perspective, the addiction rate for cocaine was 17%, while heroin was 23% and nicotine was 32%.

Marijuana may be harder on your heart, while moderate drinking could be beneficial

Unlike alcohol, which slows your heart rate, marijuana speeds it up, which could negatively affect the heart in the short term. Still, the largest-ever report on cannabis from the National Academies of Sciences, released in January, found insufficient evidence to support or refute the idea that cannabis may increase the overall risk of a heart attack.

On the other hand, low to moderate drinking — about one drink a day — has been linked with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared with abstention. James Nicholls, a director at Alcohol Research UK, told The Guardian that those findings should be taken with a grain of salt since “any protective effects tend to be canceled out by even occasional bouts of heavier drinking.”

Alcohol is strongly linked with several types of cancer; marijuana is not

In November, a group of the nation’s top cancer doctors issued a statement asking people to drink less. They cited strong evidence that drinking alcohol — as little as a glass of wine or beer a day — increases the risk of developing both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer.

The US Department of Health lists alcohol as a known human carcinogen. Research highlighted by the National Cancer Institute suggests that the more alcohol you drink — particularly the more you drink regularly — the higher your risk of developing cancer.

For marijuana, some research initially suggested a link between smoking and lung cancer, but that has been debunked. The January report found that cannabis was not connected to any increased risk of the lung cancers or head and neck cancers tied to smoking cigarettes.

Both drugs may be linked with risks while driving, but alcohol is worse

A research note published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF) found that, when adjusting for other factors, having a detectable amount of THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) in your blood did not increase the risk of being involved in a car crash. Having a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.05%, on the other hand, increased that risk by 575%.

Still, combining the two appears to have the worst results.

“The risk from driving under the influence of both alcohol and cannabis is greater than the risk of driving under the influence of either alone,” the authors of a 2009 review wrote in the American Journal of Addiction.

Several studies link alcohol with violence, particularly at home. That has not been found for cannabis

It’s impossible to say whether drinking alcohol or using marijuana causes violence, but several studies suggest a link between alcohol and violent behavior.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes, and a study of college students found that the rates of mental and physical abuse were higher on days when couples drank.

On the other hand, no such relationship appears to exist for cannabis. A recent study looking at cannabis use and intimate partner violence in the first decade of marriage found that marijuana users were significantly less likely to commit violence against a partner than those who did not use the drug.

Both drugs negatively affect your memory — but in different ways. These effects are the most common in heavy, frequent, or binge users

Both weed and alcohol temporarily impair memory, and alcohol can cause blackouts by rendering the brain incapable of forming memories. The most severe long-term effects are seen in heavy, chronic, or binge users who begin using in their teens.

Studies have found that these effects can persist for several weeks after stopping marijuana use. There may also be a link between daily weed use and poorer verbal memory in adults who start smoking at a young age.

Chronic drinkers display reductions in memory, attention, and planning, as well as impaired emotional processes and social cognition — and these can persist even after years of abstinence.

Both drugs are linked with an increased risk of psychiatric disease. For weed users, psychosis and schizophrenia are the main concern; with booze, it’s depression and anxiety

The largest review of marijuana studies found substantial evidence of an increased risk among frequent marijuana users of developing schizophrenia — something that studies have shown is a particular concern for people already at risk.

Weed can also trigger temporary feelings of paranoia and hostility, but it’s not yet clear whether those symptoms are linked with an increased risk of long-term psychosis.

On the other hand, self-harm and suicide are much more common among people who binge drink or drink frequently. But scientists have had a hard time deciphering whether excessive alcohol use causes depression and anxiety or whether people with depression and anxiety drink in an attempt to relieve those symptoms.

Alcohol appears to be linked more closely with weight gain, despite weed’s tendency to trigger the munchies

Weed gives you the munchies. It makes you hungry, reduces the natural signals of fullness, and may even temporarily make food taste better.

But despite eating over 600 extra calories when smoking, marijuana users generally don’t have higher body-mass indexes. In fact, studies suggest that regular smokers have a slightly reduced risk of obesity.

Alcohol, on the other hand, appears to be linked with weight gain. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who drank heavily had a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Plus, alcohol itself is caloric: A can of beer has roughly 150 calories, and a glass of wine has about 120.

All things considered, alcohol’s effects seem markedly more extreme — and riskier — than marijuana’s

When it comes to addiction profiles and risk of death or overdose combined with ties to cancer, car crashes, violence, and obesity, the research suggests that marijuana may be less of a health risk than alcohol.

Still, because of marijuana’s largely illegal status, long-term studies on all its health effects have been limited — meaning more research is needed.

Read more:

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

1 /3 Which is worse for you: weed or alcohol?

Which is worse for you: weed or alcohol?

Which is worse for you: weed or alcohol?

Which is worse for you: weed or alcohol?

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Which is worse for you: weed or whiskey?

12 Funny Weed Memes That Are Sure To Get Your Sense Of Humor High

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 480,000 people die annually in the United States because of cigarette smoking. Second-hand smoke is responsible for 40,000 deaths, and that means smoking is directly responsible for more than half a million dead in the United States alone. Smoking kills more than 6 million people worldwide, and CDC estimates that the death toll will rise to 8 million a year by 2030. On the other hand, an individual is highly unlikely to die of a THC (marijuana) overdose. Several kinds of research found out that pot is not as dangerous as tobacco when it comes to being carcinogenic. And yes, weed is a lot safer than tobacco and alcohol!

Post marijuana food cravings are a thing, and it is quite common that a lot of people feel like eating the munchies after smoking weed. The scientists believe that some chemicals in pot alter brain functions that eventually make a pot smoker feel like eating spicy and yummy foods. To be precise, THC increases the sense of smell, taste, hearing, and even vision. Cravings are caused by the heightened sense of smell and taste, and they automatically go off when the effects of weed ward off. Just as this meme describes, it feels great when you have something good to eat after smoking pot!

That’s a pretty accurate depiction, and every pothead, occasionally, has to deal with strong hits. The struggle is real for seasoned stoners who use a bong to smoke weed and get high. Bong is a good way to smoke pot, but then again, there’s always that chance of hitting it too hard. Unsurprisingly, hard hits ruin a good time, and they instantly cause a headache, nausea, severe cough, etc. One may still hit a joint or blunt extremely hard, but only when smokers put a gallant effort doing that. In the case of the bong, one can accidentally inhale too much smoke.

Nah, you are not high yet because even we can see the weed version of Hulk there! You are high only when you see the Hulk inside roaring as if he is all set to destroy everyone and everything around him! By the way, the bud looks very weird. It looks nothing like standard weed or skunk, and we are afraid there is some significant mold buildup around it. The pot looks like a weird hybrid mix of HULK, Robocop, and Groot, isn’t it? By the way, Did you know you could get high without weed or drugs?

How often do you hear rich people say that money doesn’t buy happiness? Every poor and ordinary person living on the planet knows how money can change their life drastically. Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it can surely buy stuff like muscle cars, expensive watches and jewelry, expensive wine, and even premium marijuana strains like Top Shelf, Isla O.G., and The Oracle! Come on, why do people say wealth can’t buy happiness?! If you still think it can’t, check out this research that proves you wrong.

Several months ago, the internet was stormed with the news that claimed NASA had found a new planet that was entirely covered with weed. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but NASA never found such things in the space. However, it is true that the traces of the active psychotic chemical compound of Cannabis, THC, may exist in space. It is understandable because everything that is on Earth including human, animal, and plant life is made up of stardust that is present everywhere in the observable universe. Nonetheless, Snoop Dogg looks incredibly hilarious in this meme!

Weed is certainly bad for you. In fact, any recreational drug isn’t safe. However, it is less dangerous when compared to things like narcotics, alcohol, and even tobacco. Experts often label pot as an evil thing because it has that reputation of being a gateway drug. A commoner may find drugs such as cocaine, LSD, heroin, etc. extremely dangerous, whereas a pothead may find them reasonable. Those who smoke weed often have friends who are drug addicts, and at times, they may end up trying a new thing for an enhanced and better experience.

Stoners can relate! It isn’t quite often one gets to smoke dank weed because of its exorbitant prices. Call it luck or a blessing from God, a pot lover sometimes gets top-notch bud, and when they smoke it, they pretty much look like Yoda in this meme. Experts say that marijuana is considered extremely useful when it stenches up the surroundings despite being packed tightly inside a plastic bag! If it doesn’t smell, it perhaps isn’t weed at all. Don’t forget that fake weed is a thing and it exists in the market!

Except in Spain, South Africa, and a few South American countries, marijuana is illegal for recreational purpose in every other country. Many Asian and African countries don’t care or don’t mind its people smoking pot, so laws that ban weed are hardly enforced there. Even though marijuana is illegal in the United States as a recreational drug, people living in most states can still get it easily without too many complications. However, if you are a stoner living in states like Texas, Florida, and Louisiana, you are going to have a horrible time if you are caught with weed. This meme depicts all those struggles people need to go through to get some good weed to have fun on the weekend!

The government doesn’t mind if you destroy your lungs with cigarettes. It doesn’t care if you wreck your liver with alcohol. It only has a problem when you get high with a natural and non-synthetic drug like cannabis. If government legalizes weed for recreational purpose, it will hit the revenue of the top cigarette companies severely. Legal marijuana will also affect the revenues of alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. Those who strive to get marijuana legalized often complain that the big buck corporations put tremendous pressure on the government to not to decriminalize the weed.

Weed isn’t as dangerous as tobacco or alcohol, and very few people die every year overdosing pot. It is scientifically proven that cannabis works great in treating several brain disorders like Parkinson’s, seizures, multiple sclerosis, etc. Why isn’t government legalizing pot then? It is true that numerous tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical industries are pumping a lot of money to pressurize the administration to continue the ban on cannabis. But, that isn’t the only reason. Weed is illegal in most countries based on social reasons. People accepted cigarettes and liquor as a part of human culture. Weed is never seen in that way. In addition to government, a big section of the population is against the legalization of marijuana.

Weed is one of the most famous recreational drugs. Weed Smokers often say that it is the safest drug in the world, and they even assert that cannabis is a lot safer than tobacco and alcohol. They even provide stats to prove that weed isn’t as dangerous as cigarettes or liquor when it comes to damaging health. Marijuana crusaders even argue that pot scores a lot less than even coffee in terms of addiction. As you all know, the world is clearly divided into two groups when it comes to supporting or rejecting legal status to weed. Let them fight, and meanwhile, take a look at these 12 hilarious weed memes!