Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that marijuana has been legalized in two states, Colorado and Washington. People have been jumping out of the woodwork to either praise or condemn the decision.
A common argument against the legalization of marijuana is the perceived danger of the plant. Many suggest its use is more dangerous than alcohol consumption. President Obama turned heads this week we he announced he disagreed with that view.
“As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” he told New Yorker magazine. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Is marijuana safer than alcohol? Signs point to yes. Though alcohol consumptions is legal in the United States (for anyone 21 and over), and in some cases encouraged, studies have found that it is more dangerous than hard drugs. A study from 2023 found that when comparing overall dangers, alcohol is worse for your health and society than heroin and crack cocaine.
Alcohol not only has a negative impact on your health, but also your waistline. Alcoholic beverages are sneakily packed with calories, and consuming one too many can cause you to reach for fatty foods after a night out.
We like to think of marijuana users as constantly eating junk food due to the “munchies,” but studies show that may not be the case. It can’t be said conclusively that smoking pot keeps you thin, but a correlation has been found between marijuana use and a smaller waist circumference.
Though the president didn’t compare marijuana use and soda consumption, it has been found that drinking pop regularly is potentially worse for you than smoking pot. There are more known health risks associated with drinking pop, and the addiction levels are comparable.
During his interview President Obama went on to say he doesn’t necessarily support the legalization of marijuana. “If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, ‘Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka,’ are we open to that? If somebody says, ‘We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth,’ are we OK with that?”
He makes a good point. Somewhere on this issue a line has to be drawn. The debate about the legalization could also start conversations about other substances that are perfectly legal and accepted by society, even if they cause just as much or more harm to your health.