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Breaking the Cannabis Taboo – Cannabis vs. Alcohol


When you bring up cannabis nowadays its hard to say what reaction you might get.  Especially if you are a woman.

Women are projected to be the largest consumers of legal cannabis products in North America, however 77% list social stigma as a leading deterrent for trying cannabis-based products. Social stigma. Not negative health effects, imprisonment or other, societal reasons.

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail Online/Splitpics.uk

Compare this with the socially acceptable alcohol. A recent, global study on the effects of alcohol on health is damning indeed. Evidence now shows that alcohol kills 2.8 million people every year globally, causing cancer, heart disease, road accidents and more, researchers from The Lancet Study reported last Thursday. Researchers found no evidence that light drinking might help keep people healthy and said there’s no evidence that drinking any alcohol at all improves health.

In fact, according to the Lancet study, alcohol use comes in seventh as an overall cause of death around the globe and experts are now saying that no amount of alcohol is now safe.

It is important to be cautious as cannabis research is scant and therefore we don’t know yet what the long-term health consequences of cannabis consumption. While social stigma is clearly a hugely motivating factor in not divulging cannabis personal use for recreational – or even medical – uses, if one stacks up the data, perhaps more women should think about pushing aside that glass of wine, even if it is socially acceptable.

Further facts:
  1. Nearly 80,000 Canadians were admitted to hospital for direct, alcohol-linked conditions from 2016 to 2017, compared to 77,000 hospital stays for heart attacks during that same period.
  2. The most recent comprehensive cost study, conducted in 2002, estimated the total cost of alcohol- related harm to Canadians to be $14.6 billion per year.
  3. An estimated 37 percent of sexual assaults and rapes in the U.S. are committed by offenders who were under the influence of alcohol.
  4. There exists no record of anyone ever dying of a cannabis overdose.
  5. In fact, studies coming out from the U.S. are now finding that when marijuana is legalized, even just for medical use, crime rates lower, most likely because people substitute cannabis for alcohol.
  6. However, a 2014 study found alcohol use in Canada resulted directly in 14,827 deaths, tobacco use caused 47,562 deaths, cannabis use caused 851 deaths and opioids 2,396 deaths.
  7. Cannabis certainly affects the brain and body; long-term effects potentially on memory, intelligence, concentration and decision-making, along with chronic lung issues.

Drawbacks of Cannabis Useage

As with any other substance that alters our body chemistry, we must be careful when consuming cannabis products. Studies have found that THC can exacerbate certain preexisting mental health conditions in some people, particularly younger users. Cannabis use has also been cited, albeit controversially, as a contributing factor in a handful of deaths of people with underlying cardiovascular conditions.

Due to the endocannabinoid system that is found in all mammals, the cannabis plant also possesses documented health benefits. Since ancient times, cannabis has been used to alleviate pain, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and more serious illnesses such as Epilepsy, Parkinsons Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological conditions.

With more research will come more clarity into the adverse effects of cannabis. We are only at the very tip of discovering what the plant can do – exciting discoveries lie ahead. In the meantime perhaps there are other, less destructive, cannabis-based recreational alternatives to alcohol that people can start to explore without fear of imprisonment or social stigma come October 17th.

Leslie Andrachuk

As a bilingual pioneer in global digital publishing and marketing, Leslie is happiest when creating new things and inspiring her teams. She is passionate about changing biases that hold women back from realizing their true power and is grateful that at this point in her career she has the skills to make real change.

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