Many questions have been raised as to whether alcohol or marijuana addiction is more harmful to your health. This question made headline news when President Barack Obama opened up about smoking marijuana as a young man. He stated that he acknowledges that it is a bad habit and that it is not that much different from smoking. However, he did state that he does not think that it is more dangerous than alcohol. These comments sparked a huge debate as to whether or not marijuana addiction is more harmful to your health than alcohol.

While both of these intoxicants are used recreationally, their legal status, how often both are used, and the effects on the body make very tough to compare. We all know that both marijuana and alcohol can cause harm to the body, both long-term and short-term harm. While research into the harmful effects of marijuana is still in its infancy, alcohol’s dangers are already known. Over 88,000 individuals die from alcohol per year. In order to determine whether or not marijuana or alcohol is worse for an individual’s health, we should look at the short-term and long-term effects of both intoxicants.

Research shows that drinking too much alcohol can kill a person fairly quickly. Ruben Baler, a scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stated that individuals can die from binge drinking within five minutes of consuming alcohol. What happens is that when an individual drinks alcohol faster than it can be metabolized, alcohol can accumulate in areas of the brain that are responsible for heartbeat and breathing. Also, alcohol can put an individual at an increased risk for high-risk behavior.

Long-term risks of heavy drinking alcohol are already well-known. Chronic and excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to life-threatening health issues. Individuals who drink heavily put themselves at risk for liver disease, fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver, and potentially liver cancer.

While not much is known about the health consequences of marijuana addiction, what is known is that it affects the cardiovascular system. It can increase an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure. Researchers believe that marijuana addiction impacts an individual’s reproductive system and increases psychiatric issues in individuals who experience, or are predisposed to, mental illness.

Since the drug is mainly smoked, smoking marijuana can cause an individual to come down with bronchitis. Coughing and chronic inflammation of the airway passages are also issues. Early studies have shown evidence that marijuana may cause lung cancer. However, recent studies have debunked that theory. It is unknown why marijuana does not impact the lungs the way tobacco does.

As of right now, there is no medical use for alcohol consumption. However, there are benefits to drinking moderate amounts of alcohol.

The health benefits of marijuana have been a hot topic ever since two states legalized marijuana for use recreationally in 2014. Research has shown that marijuana has had positive effects on those who suffer from glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses. However, one must stop marijuana addiction before it becomes a dependence upon multiple substances and prior to your life spiraling out of control due to marijuana addiction.

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