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It’s almost time to make those New Year’s Resolutions … and this year, before the stroke of midnight turns us all out into a brand new year, it might be time to resolve to use alcohol less, and cannabis more.
In a trend led by millenials, alcohol is losing favor as a recreational substance of choice, while cannabis is gaining favor.
As it turns out, those millennials may be on to something!
While alcohol has been more widely studied, cannabis has actually been around far longer … yet it’s reputation as a safe recreational alternative is tainted by it’s long-standing “illegal” status, still in effect at the national level here in the US.
Even so, millennials and many others (including moms and senior citizens, the two fastest-growing groups of cannabis users) are turning more and more away from alcohol and toward cannabis in states where it’s legal.
While we admit to having our own biases between the two, we think cannabis is a smarter choice. Recent studies agree! Read on to find out why …
Which is healthier?
While excessive, long-term use of either cannabis or alcohol can be detrimental to individual health, Business Insider Magazine reports that cannabis comes out the clear winner for a number of reasons, including:
- A large review published in August in the medical journal The Lancet found that among people aged 15–49, alcohol use was the leading health risk factor across the globe in 2016, with 3.8% of all female deaths and 12.2% of all male deaths attributable to alcohol use.
- Meanwhile, no deaths from marijuana overdoses have been reported, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- The US Department of Health lists alcohol as a known human carcinogen. Research highlighted by the National Cancer Institute suggests that the more alcohol you drink — particularly the more you drink regularly — the higher your risk of developing cancer.
- In a 16-year study of more than 65,000 Americans, published in the American Journal of Public Health, healthy marijuana users were not found to be more likely to die earlier than healthy people who did not use cannabis.
- For marijuana, some research initially suggested a link between smoking and lung cancer, but that has been debunked. The January report found that cannabis was not connected to any increased risk of the lung cancers or head and neck cancers tied to smoking cigarettes.
- And while alcohol addiction is a known potential risk for people who regularly consume alcohol, the potential for addiction to cannabis is relatively low – 15% vs less than 9% respectively, according to an 8,000 person study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. What’s more, with cannabis, the effects are likely to be more psychological than physical reports Mel Magazine, which also reports withdrawal from even regular cannabis use tends to take a few days of discomfort and irritability, not the weeks or months of treatment typically associated with recovering from alcohol addiction.
Remember, everything in moderation – and whatever you enjoy, please enjoy it responsibly!
Speaking of enjoyment …
It turns out that cannabis may have some significant enjoyment advantages over alcohol as well.
According to 27-year-old Jena as quoted in Market Watch Magazine, “I definitely get more enjoyment out of weed. I realized I got zero enjoyment out of drinking, and it costs me more money than weed does.”
Jena cites greater relaxation, less social anxiety, being able to remember what she did the night before, and no hangovers as part of her overall preference of cannabis over alcohol.
There could be significant cost savings, too! In an article looking at the benefits of replacing alcohol with cannabis, Mel Magazine estimates that the average amount Americans spend on alcohol each year is somewhere between $454 on the low end, and upwards of $5,000 on the high (and more realistic!) end.
On the flip side, the average legal marijuana user spends $647 a year on cannabis, according to Bloomberg.
While your potential cost savings depend on your individual use and whether or not you have a medical marijuana card (see this blog for more info), another benefit cannabis users enjoy is not needing to stay within shouting distance of a commode if they’ve consumed too much at once.
And, while some cannabis users report feeling a little lethargic the following day and perhaps a little brain fog, it seems everyone agrees that these effects are not nearly as crushing as waking up with a screaming hangover, nauseous and anxious from drinking too much the night before!
Another pleasant surprise? In spite of cannabis’s reputation for causing the munchies and therefore potential weight gain, inhaled cannabis products actually contain zero calories, unlike alcohol (even a lite beer or single glass of wine contains 90 to 120 calories).
So for weight-conscious people, cannabis may well be a healthier choice (just watch what you snack on!). In fact, Business Insider reports that marijuana users generally don’t have higher body-mass indexes, and studies suggest that regular cannabis smokers actually have a slightly reduced risk of obesity – not true with alcohol.
Is 2021 going to be your year?
Why not start your year off without a hangover by giving cannabis a try as you celebrate the end of 2020?
We have some great specials here, and a wide variety of enjoyable cannabis alternatives for people who prefer not to light up!
Stop in before we close at 8 pm on the 31st with any questions you may have!
Who knows? You might find your own benefits to using cannabis instead of alcohol to celebrate all your special occasions over the upcoming New Year!
A very Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at Compassionate Care By Design!