Close to half of all adults have tried marijuana at least once, making it one of the most widely used illegal drugs — yet research suggests that a relatively small percentage of people become addicted. As for marijuana, whose legalization for medical uses has been a matter of strong public policy debate for years, there is ample evidence that beneficial compounds can be found in the alcoholism: disease or a choice? considered a brain disease plant. But cigarette smoking plays a complicated role in studying the impact of marijuana smoke, Baler said. Marijuana smokers tend to smoke much less than cigarette smokers, as some may smoke one joint a few times a week. Drinking can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which can progress to fibrosis of the liver, which in turn can potentially lead to liver cancer, Murray said.

Additionally, alcohol is more socially acceptable in public use or work situations while using cannabis at a work function could be looked down upon. Some people may consider both substances similar because of how they make you feel. People attribute it to be a social lubricant that allows people to stave off social anxiety and be more outgoing and talkative. Alcohol detox can take a significant amount of time and have heavy withdrawal symptoms, while cannabis withdrawal can last anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. It can also be completely out of your system in 1-3 months with you returned to normal levels and function. Speaking of, let’s examine the addictive tendencies of these substances.

  1. “Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss,” the researchers wrote in their paper, “and the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero.”
  2. As anyone who’s consumed alcohol knows, ethanol can directly influence brain function.
  3. Some drugs are very harmful to individuals, but they're so rarely used that they may not be a major public health threat.

Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal. So why is it so hard to know whether alcohol is good or bad for us—especially for our brains? In this post, we’ll explore the current science and some practical ideas on how to approach the topic.

Most Addictive Social Media Features

The prevalence of binge drinking has risen steadily in the United States, despite the fact that social media and even real-life social gatherings have done a good job of taming it. More and more young people are turning away from alcohol, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Drowsiness delayed reflexes, and alterations in judgment and time perception are all impacts of both substances on the body and mind. When marijuana and alcohol are combined, both substances’ effects are increased, and severe reactions are possible. As a result of the combination, people may take unexpected or unsafe actions.

What are the Main Differences Between the Effects, Risks & Safety of Alcohol vs Weed?

Carroll thinks that's an accident of history — because it's been around and legal for a longer period of time. “It's hard to argue from data or from actual science that that's the way it should be,” he said. In contrast, Carroll says research shows rates of interpersonal or domestic violence are actually “lower in people who smoke marijuana than people that don't.” Carroll wrote a provocative piece for the New York Times exploring what's known about the risks of these two popular but easily abused substances.

Weed can also trigger temporary feelings of paranoia and hostility, but it's not yet clear whether those symptoms are linked with an increased risk of long-term psychosis. Having a blood-alcohol alcohol abuse articles level of at least 0.05%, on the other hand, increased that risk by 575%. For marijuana, some research initially suggested a link between smoking and lung cancer, but that has been debunked.

I Just Want a Normal Drink

Conversely, other recent data suggest a lower risk for dementia in people consuming a few alcoholic beverages a day. This includes a 2022 study showing that in around 27,000 people, consuming up to 40 grams of alcohol (around 2.5 drinks) a day was linked to a lower risk for dementia versus abstinence in adults over age 60. A much larger study of almost 4 million people in Korea noted that mild to moderate alcohol consumption was linked to a lower risk for dementia compared to non-drinking. The truth is, both alcohol and weed may cause negative health effects, including addiction. If you find that smoking weed starts to affect your life in unhealthy ways and leads to unwanted consequences, those are signs you might be developing an addiction and should seek medical care.

Alcohol and Your Brain: The Latest Scientific Insights

Driving stoned is safer than driving intoxicated, yet it is still a risky practice. “You're cumulatively impairing your cognitive function. What's going to be the ultimate result, nobody can say.” Alcohol can cause cognitive impairment which can lead to poor judgment, decreased coordination, and memory loss and in some cases blackouts.