Alcohol vs Cannabis: Which is Better for You?

Cannabis beverages are all the rage. Many people say they prefer them because they are a healthier alternative to alcohol. But are they better for health?

Confused young blond man shrugging shoulders and raise hands up, dont know, being clueless, have nothing to say, standing over white background
Confused young blond man shrugging shoulders and raise hands up, dont know, being clueless, have nothing to say, standing over white background

This article will look at the alcohol vs cannabis dilemma so you can determine which recreational activity you should indulge in.

Alcohol vs Cannabis Health Risks

Death Statistics

Alcohol causes thousands of deaths in America each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports over 140,000 annual alcohol-related deaths in the United States annually. The organization does not even have a category for marijuana-related deaths.

Health Costs

When considering alcohol vs cannabis health costs, alcohol far exceeds marijuana’s medical expenses. A review published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal shows that alcohol users spend $165 per year for alcohol-related incidents as compared to $20 per marijuana user.

Fatal Overdoses

Alcohol results in hundreds of fatal overdoses in America each year. There has never been a case of a person dying from a marijuana overdose.

Alcohol Causes Brain Damage

Despite the belief that marijuana has negative cognitive effects, recent research shows it has neuroprotective properties. Alcohol, on the other hand, permanently damages brain cells.

Alcohol vs Cannabis Addiction

Both alcohol and cannabis use can lead to addiction. However, alcohol produces physical withdrawal symptoms that make it hard to quit.

Marijuana does not cause physical withdrawal. Users are also less likely to develop a tolerance and dependence that makes it difficult to quit.

Injury Risk

Research published in the Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research journal found that 36% of hospitalized assaults and 21% of injuries are alcohol-related. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported marijuana users will have fewer emergency room visits throughout their lifetimes.

Violent Crimes

Alcohol is often associated with violent crimes. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 25-30% of violent crimes (approximately 50,000 annually) in the United States are related to alcohol. Meanwhile, the government does not even track violent crimes linked to marijuana because they rarely occur.

Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault

Alcohol contributes to the prevalence of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Alcohol may not contribute to these types of violent behavior, but it makes it more likely that a person will act on aggressive tendencies.

A Research Institute on Addictions study found that people who abused their partners were more likely to do so when under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana was not found to produce similar effects.

Alcohol vs Cannabis Obesity

The alcohol vs cannabis debate also comes into play in dieting needs. Alcohol contains calories that can lead to obesity and related conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Cannabis does not contain calories. It can even be mixed into calorie-free drinks.

Munchies are a concern for weight-conscious people. But snacking healthy can keep weight gain under control.

What are the Short-Term Effects of Alcohol vs Cannabis?

Alcohol vs Cannabis 3
Alcohol vs Cannabis 3

The short-term effects of alcohol vs cannabis can be a factor for people who are trying to decide on their drug of choice. Here are the effects to consider:

Alcohol’s Short-Term Effects

  • Issues with coordination and reflex
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Short attention span
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired cognitive skills
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hangover which can lead to headache and diarrhea

Cannabis Short-Term Effects

  • Reflex and coordination issues
  • Relaxation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired cognitive skills
  • Drowsiness
  • Pain relief
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Increased hunger
  • Lingering effects that can lead to headaches, drowsiness, and brain fog

Alcohol vs Cannabis: Which is Better?

Vector set of bottles with alcohol and stemware
Vector set of bottles with alcohol and stemware

The top of the article presented strong evidence that may have established cannabis as the winner in the alcohol vs cannabis debate. However, some factors can change alcohol and cannabis effects. These include:

Type of Product

The type of product you consume will vary the health effects. For example, if you smoke weed, it may irritate the throat and lungs. Alcohol will not have the same results.

Furthermore, while some alcohol is bad for health, some varieties benefit wellbeing. For instance, wine contains polyphenols that reduce disease risk. Gin is rich in antioxidants that have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.


A person’s biology will change how weed and alcohol affect them. Some people may have a high tolerance to one or both drugs. Others may become dependent on alcohol or cannabis more easily.

Biology will also factor into how a person acts when they are under the influence. For example, some people get anxious on weed while others feel relaxed. Similarly, some individuals get happy when they drink, while others are depressed and violent.

Lack of Research

Although there are statistics that show alcohol can result in more deaths, overdoses, and violent crimes, there is no solid research that establishes marijuana is better for health. Various factors have been considered, but more studies are needed to determine which you should use. In the meantime, you should choose the product that’s right for you and use it in moderation to avoid serious health issues.

420 Central Has Your Back

420 Central can’t tell you which product you should indulge in, but if cannabis is your bag, we have your back. Our products are high-quality, lab-tested, and proven to help you reach your wellness goals. Contact us for all your cannabis needs.  

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