Alcohol or Marijuana - Which Is More Dangerous? 

Truth be told, they are both banes of the socoety in which we live in, the socoety that now smokes and drinks everything away. A very good percentage of the layman would think these two are the same, ‘they are both taken into the body to create a sense of hysteria and boldness’ they say, permit me to say that this evaluation couldn’t be any wrong, these two are not birds of a feather. Or maybe in a way.

The dictionary defines Alcohol as a colourless volatile flammable liquid which is produced by the natural fermentation of sugars and is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks, and is also used as an industrial solvent and as fuel.

Meanwhile, Marijuana—also called weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja, Mary Jane, and a vast number of other slang terms—is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. So even from definition, the distinctions are quite clear.

Alcohol is classed as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions—resulting in slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and an inability to react quickly. And it is more common than its comparation counterpart. Taken in various forms as beer, wine, spirits and so on. Some people smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints; in pipes, water pipes (sometimes called bongs), or in blunts (marijuana rolled in cigar wraps).1 Marijuana can also be used to brew tea and, particularly when it is sold or consumed for medicinal purposes, is frequently mixed into foods (edibles) such as brownies, cookies, or candies.

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Vaporizers are also increasingly used to consume marijuana. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as Δ9-THC) is thought to be the principal psychoactive ingredient present in cannabis that is responsible for the acute and adverse effects of cannabis on various cognitive functions including memory and the induction of psychotic symptoms. Stronger forms of marijuana include sinsemilla (from specially tended female plants) and concentrated resins containing high doses of marijuana’s active ingredients, including honeylike hash oil, waxy budder, and hard amberlike shatter.

It is worth knowing, that at one point in time or the other, any of these two could easily pass for a drug, but the medical part of it is the least of our worries now, as men now use them for various other purposes. To properly determine the more dangerous amongst the two, it would be easier and more appropriate to compare them based on the effect they can have on the body.


As it is known, it is not the usuage of these you should fear but the excess of it. An excess of any of these two could cause considerable damage to heath, lives and property. Alcohol overdose causes more severe depressant effects (inability to feel pain, toxicity where the body vomits the poison, and finally unconsciousness or, worse, coma or death from severe toxic overdose). These reactions depend on how much is consumed and how quickly. While rare, marijuana overdose is still possible in some cases. Some of the signs and symptoms of an overdose includes : panic attacks and anxiety, paranoia, uncontrollable shaking or seizures, unresponsiveness, pale skin colour, decreased judgement, lack of perception and coordination that can lead to injuries or even intimately, death and a lot more of other gross reactions.

Knowing the reactions these two can cause when abused and taken in excess, I don’t think any sane person would even wanna try it, but people still do! While I might try to avoid sounding too judgemental, I just cannot seem to spare the victims of these, the oral lashing I think they truly deserve. Truth be told, we know people get pushed to the wall by life, which leads them to the floormat of any of these two. It could be frustration in marriages, problems at school, financial problems and so on. But I think these are just excuses! Taking these things doesn’t take away your problems, if anything, it merely suspends it to a later time. You are still bound to face these problems, so why not just get on with it?!

With the consumption of these now particularly on the rise, it is imperative that we know the effect they can both have on man’s CPU, the brain. A new study suggests that when it comes to brain health, alcohol is more damaging. Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a review of existing imaging data that looked at the effects of alcohol and marijuana, or cannabis, on the brain. Their findings linked alcohol consumption with long-term changes to the structure of white matter and gray matter in the brain. The use of marijuana, however, seemed to have no significant long-term effects on brain structure. Make no mistake of it, this is not to say that marijuana also doesn’t affect the brain, but in comparison with alcohol, it looks the safer bet.

My prediction would have been that if I have a glass of wine before I learn some new vocabulary words, I won’t learn those words as well as I would have fully sober. That prediction, it turns out, is correct. New learning that takes place post-alcohol just doesn’t consolidate very well. It seems that alcohol inhibits long-term potentiation. Besides, there is a very huge possibility that a large consumption of alcohol causes what is called ‘blackout’, a condition which happens after excessive drinking, which dampens the ability to create new memories or even remember what happened during the course of drinking.

I also would have predicted that if I have a glass of wine just after I learn some new vocabulary words, that wine would muddle my memory of those new words as well. That prediction, however, is just wrong. My little experiment on myself taught me otherwise. I learnt a few new words just before I had a glass of wine, to my utter surprise, it actually did improve my recollection of those words the next morning. The standard hypothesis to explain such a result goes like this: when we drink alcohol, the brain forms fewer new memories. The hippocampus(the elongated ridges on the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain, thought to be the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system) takes advantage of this pause to consolidate previous memories. In other words: since the brain has some alcohol-induced down time, it uses that time to firm up what it already knows.

So alcohol before or during learning is an utter failure in trying to recall what was learnt, but alcohol after learning helps the memory? Wow! Needless to say, I’m not encouraging you to drink heavily to promote learning.

Marijuana meanwhile, doesn’t have such advantages embedded in disadvantages like it’s other counterpart. People who use marijuana, especially those who have used it over a long period of time often find that their cognitive abilities are less effective than normal. They find that their ability to learn new things, focus, multitask or retain information is impaired. This has consequences on many areas of their lives such as work, education etc. If you use marijuana on a regular basis then you may find that you are unable to concentrate on your work, make more errors than before or have difficulty in remembering things. This is particularly noticeable with your recall system or short term memory.

Your short term memory or ‘working memory’ is the one which you use constantly. Whatever task you are engaged in, you use this to store or recall certain information in order to complete that task. There are times when you need to make a snap decision or recall a piece of information which is vital for the task, e.g. revision for an exam. Marijuana affects your ability to do so. It is harder to recall certain information or takes longer to do so. It is harder to learn new information and to retain this. It is harder to focus upon a single task or switch attention between several tasks.

The reason for this is tetrahydrocannabinols (THC’s). They are the main chemical in marijuana which binds itself to nerve cells in the areas of the brain which are responsible for memory. They disrupt short term memory by making it harder to learn new information or a task, especially those which involve several stages. Long term use may affect your chances of achieving your potential at school or work.

Basically speaking, if we’re going to use crime rates as a case study, the one out of these two consumables that people tend to act under it’s control is alcohol because it’s a very influential commodity especially when taken in overdose quantity. In fact, multiple reports have had their say on this issue and of everyone released officially, there have been fingers pointed towards the direction of alcohol consumption as the very reason for the display of violence, urge to hurt others, amongst others – when it is compared to marijuana though. For instance, even without having to read on these reports that have surfaced, even on the streets, the average person high on alcohol would absolutely be the one to cause just more damage or inflict more disaster to their own targets than people who choose to switch their allegiance to puffing marijuana.

In order to put all these words in a single sentence, alcohol is more of an influencer of crime than marijuana has ever been.

Now people who drive are strictly advice d not to get ‘high’ while driving because of course, their untimely death or a fatal injury could be the result of such act. The intake of substances when driving have taken lots of lives and if we’re going to not allow it take more, at least we should keep them aside when driving. Now going back to the alcohol versus marijuana, marijuana intake has a lesser impact when it comes to causing accidents compared to what alcohol does. Which is why drink-driving is an act that has been totally rebuked by thousands and how can you blame them? They’ve seen and heard situations where their loved ones have been snatched by the cold hands of death simply because they could not postpone their urge to drink until a later time than when driving.

Pregnant women and those trying to become pregnant should avoid alcohol completely until after the baby has been born. Even drinking one glass of wine on a regular basis can put the unborn fetus at risk of several developmental, mental, and emotional disorders. After a pregnant woman ingests any kind of alcoholic drink, the alcohol swiftly passes through the umbilical cord, reaching the fetus. There, it affects the brain, central nervous system (CNS), heart, eyes, ears, legs, arms, teeth, external genitalia, and palate of the fetus. If the mother continues to drink throughout her pregnancy, this constant exposure to alcohol’s effects will cause cumulative effects.

As we know, marijuana’s active compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound can cross a mother’s placenta to get to her baby during pregnancy. But marijuana’s effects during pregnancy can be difficult to determine. This is because many women who smoke or eat marijuana also use substances like alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. As a result, it’s tough to say which is causing a problem. But then, the potential effect of marijuana on pregnancy could be: low birth weight, premature birth, small head circumference, stillbirth, amongst others.

Conclusively, that one of these is more dangerous than the other doesn’t make the other completely safe, they are both dangerous in their own right. But from all we have seen, alcohol seems to be the deadlier of the two, based solely on its effect on the brain. But then, that is what I think. So for which is more deadly between alcohol and marijuana, I leave you with this article and your personal discretion.

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Alcohol or Marijuana - Which Is More Dangerous? . (2021, Feb 08). Retrieved from

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