With recreational cannabis legalization happening in states like Nevada–where alcohol is a huge part of the economy–beer and liquor companies seem to be watching with raised eyebrows. This became heavily apparent after measures were taken by the state’s alcohol industry in 2017 to stunt the cannabis industry’s launch and distribution processes. Many have even surmised that nationwide marijuana legalization has not been a priority to the federal government, because of the financial impact it will have on the alcohol, pharmaceutical, tobacco, and private prison industries.
Amazingly, legal marijuana sales in Aspen, Colorado overtook alcohol sales for the first time in 2017. If this is any indication of what the future holds, we may eventually see cannabis become the nation’s drug of choice. (Considering the black market sales that aren’t accounted for, that may already be the case.) But why is America slowly moving towards cannabis as an alternative? Here are a few theories.
1) Weed only requires minimal intake to feel great: The problem with drinking, is that it leads to more drinking. One might set out to just have one or two drinks, but because alcohol lowers your inhibitions, two can become three, three can become seven, and so on. Additionally, the type of high (or low, rather) that hard drinking gives you feels great, but only temporarily. Once you are drunk, the minute that perfect, euphoric feeling wears off, you are constantly trying to replenish it by drinking more, either not realizing or caring that you are slowly destroying yourself in real time.
For many, the average cannabis user doesn’t need to consume a lot to achieve that similar euphoric effect and one isn’t compelled to constantly replenish it like they are with alcohol. The cannabis come down is more like landing with a parachute, while alcohol’s descent can be like crash landing without one.
2) There’s no hangover with cannabis: A night of drinking is a blast while you’re doing it, but not when you have to face the morning after. Ever wake up wondering how you got home? Or worse, opening your eyes in a strange or unfamiliar place? That’s par for the course with alcohol binging. Unless you over-consuming edibles or take a ridiculous amount of dab hits, it’s highly unlikely that you will find your body trying to eject the contents of your stomach after ingesting cannabis like you would if you drank too much. You might feel a little tired the morning after using cannabis, but you surely won’t be fighting a massive hangover headache all day.
3) Weed is more likely to make you happy and relaxed, not violent or belligerent: Ever know someone that alcohol brings out the worst in? At best, they might be stumbling around, trying to keep their balance. At worst, they might become hostile or violent.
However with cannabis, an Indica strain will relax you and bring out your humorous side, while a Sativa will make you feel uplifted, energetic and creative. Research has shown that markets with legal cannabis programs have actually seen a decrease in violent crimes. It’s unlikely that you’ll be blacking out or coming to blows with anyone after you take a hit from that vape pen.
4) Unlike alcohol, weed by itself has no extra calories: Sure, certain strains of cannabis might send you on a beeline towards the refrigerator, but unless you are eating it, the use of cannabis alone won’t add any extra, unnecessary calories to your diet. In fact, a recent study showed that pot smokers have typically slimmer waistlines than non-users. Alcohol, however, well… there’s a reason why they call it a “beer belly.”
5) Studies have shown that cannabis heals, alcohol harms: While research into the benefits of cannabis is still underway, there have been plenty of studies have shown cannabis has been used as an effective treatment for chronic pain, seizures, muscle spasms, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PTSD. It has even been used a treatment for multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Alcohol, however, is linked to depression, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, alcohol poisoning, fetal alcohol syndrome, infertility, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon. Let’s not forget good old fashioned alcoholism.
6) People are actually using cannabis as a treatment for alcoholism, nicotine and other drug addictions: Cannabis use can create a similarly euphoric or relaxing effect of other substances like liquor, cigarettes, and even opioids, without the long list of harmful side effects mentioned above. While we’ve seen plenty of anecdotal evidence already to suggest so, recent studies have shown that cannabis may be used to curb uncontrollable cravings of alcohol and cocaine use for people addicted to these drugs. Additionally, medically-legal states like Arizona are even using it to treat opioid abuse. In fact, it’s been proven that states with legal marijuana
This might be the biggest reason that we haven’t seen cannabis legalized federally in the United States, as doing so would take a huge bite out of several other heavily-lobbied industries. But because of the above reasons, along with legalization in several states, the negative stigma surrounding cannabis is slowly disappearing. And that may be another reason why more people are starting to choose cannabis over alcohol.
But hey, we like to have a drink as much as the next person. And sometimes combining your favorite strain with your favorite alcoholic beverage balances things out and provides a great feeling with minimal intake. So bottoms up and celebrate responsibly. But in the overall interest of the health and happiness of our country, let’s work together to see cannabis legalized nationwide.