If alcohol were under the same scrutiny for its health impact that marijuana continues to be, bars would not be allowed to exist. After all, marijuana has been shown to be more than 100 times safer than alcohol. Is it any wonder that many Americans are reassessing their relationship with alcohol and are now choosing to smoke some dank buds instead of opening a Bud Light?
It’s hard to second guess the logic. What we know about alcohol from impact studies shows it to be a public health crisis that continues year after year. Excessive alcohol use has been tied to heart disease, fatty liver, cirrhosis, depression, dementia and other life altering conditions.
As we know, it is far from the benign party enhancer that commercials sell:
- Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive drug in the United States.
- 33 million Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder.
- The Centers for Disease Control estimate that approximately 88,000 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use each year
- 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving accidents In 2015 alone. That is 1/3 of all traffic deaths that year.
There are approximately 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths each year in the U.S. That is an average of six a day. Marijuana enthusiasts in the know will be quick to remind you that cannabis is not considered lethal at any humanly reasonable dose.
In addition to impact to individuals, binge drinking has real economic impact as well. In 2010 alone alcohol use was estimated to cost the US nearly $250 billion.
In both American and Canadian studies, about 40 percent of patients have shown to replace alcohol with marijuana use when given the option. The studies seem to have been foreshadowing of public choices in the marketplace.
The Cannabiz Consumer Group has shown that legal marijuana has stripped nearly 7 percent from beer sales in markets where both legal options are available. They predicted that the beer industry alone would stand to lose $2 billion in annual sales if legal marijuana were available in all 50 states.
Related Story: The Key To Treating Alcoholism With Medical Marijuana
Although millennials were the segment of the public expected to make the switch to cannabis, seniors have also been shown to be a quickly growing population. Considering the therapeutic qualities of the herb for ailments often associated with aging, it should be no surprise that many older consumers appreciate the value in this healthier intoxicant.
Consumers of all ages may appreciate and benefit medicinal qualities of cannabis as a remedy for inflammation, chronic and neuropathic pain, GI issues as well as insomnia and a host of others.
Large numbers of patients are ahead of the curve and have substituted their pharma meds for marijuana. Medicaid records have shown a substantial decrease in pharmaceutical reimbursements in states that have medical marijuana available.
The question seems to be not whether people will substitute alcohol use with marijuana but how much they will do it. Though marijuana is not without risk, it’s tough to argue against an intoxicant that is exponentially safer than alcohol and not known to produce hangovers. That is simple math for some. In time we’ll see just how many.