When it comes to letting loose on the weekends, throwing back way too many shots in one night is almost always less socially judged than smoking a few joints. In fact, getting so drunk that you puke on your friend’s couch and don’t even remember it the next day is a typical weekend occurrence at any college campus. But for some reason, many people shy away at the mention of marijuana.
The stigma that’s associated with using cannabis — the scientific name for weed — is based on the unappealing properties of the drug (it stinks), the stereotypes of the user, and the long history of it being inherently “bad.” When it comes down to it, there is no true, scientific justification as to why marijuana is the terrible substance that society makes it out to be.
THC, the chemical component of marijuana, affects certain parts of the brain that control memory, thinking, and consciousness. This is why baked people are like hungry little marshmallows. As one of my professors put it, a stoned person will apologize to a couch for just thinking that they bumped into it, all the while slowly backing away toward the kitchen. I have a friend who regularly gets high and attempts to make chocolate chip cookies, and he forgets that they’re in the oven every single time. Literally every time.
#SpoonTip: If you’re pro-marijuana and you happen to be in Colorado, be sure to stop by Sweet Grass Kitchen for their delicious-looking edibles.
That same professor also confessed that in college, he and a friend were high and they decided to drive home. *old white man gasps in the distance* They drove five miles per hour the whole way because they were so worried. Cannabis is proven to cause more cautious behavior while driving in several ways. It’s so much more dangerous than alcohol though, right?
Alcohol has been scientifically proven to be much more dangerous than marijuana in a handful of ways. Not a single person has ever died of a marijuana overdose, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75,000 people die of alcohol overdose every year.
In the United States alone, drunk driving is responsible for the deaths of nearly 10,000 people each year. This is 31 percent of all driving fatalities, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. When you’re drunk, your concentration is hindered, and you’re no longer responsibly aware of your surroundings — this is why drunk driving without hurting someone is nearly impossible and extremely dangerous.
Alcohol nearly always induces risk-taking behavior as well. After drinking ten-too-many cups of jungle juice at the frat down the street, filming you and your friends jumping off of the roof into the above ground pool may sound like an awesome idea. When you sober up, is the broken leg (or worse) going to be worth it?
Weed, on the other hand, causes users to become much more relaxed. So relaxed that they often just plop down somewhere and veg out for awhile. Usually with a bag of Doritos, but that’s totally optional. Have you ever tried talking to someone who’s stoned? It’s comparable to talking to a sleep deprived person with ADHD. They’ll be talking about the existential meaning of life one minute, and the next, they’re staring off into the next room where beer pong is going down. And, of course, they’re giggling.
Although smoking anything isn’t good for you, smoking weed has not been proven to cause cancer. You know what does cause cancer, and many different kinds of it? Alcohol. Cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast can all be caused by alcohol consumption. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 20,000 annual deaths are alcohol-related. Conversely, pot is commonly used as a medical treatment to relieve cancer patients’ symptoms.
Getting sick and waking up the following day with a hangover are two more minor symptoms of drinking too much. No matter how much you think you like that Natty Lite that you’re chugging like a champion, no one likes puking it back up. After hugging the toilet all night, you’re not going to enjoy the throbbing headache that you just can’t seem to shake the next day either.
Guess what doesn’t have any negative lingering symptoms? Marijuana. In fact, pot is known for ridding the symptoms of hangovers. Much like it works with cancer patients, marijuana can combat the nausea that often comes with your fading drunk escapades.
Despite all of the extremely negative results of drinking, booze is practically worshiped in many countries — especially America. How often do you see advertisements for alcohol, whether it be on TV, on billboards, or in magazines? Over two billion dollars is spent annually on alcohol advertisements.
How common is it to eat at a restaurant that has a happy hour? How socially acceptable is it to come home from work and drink a few beers before bed? How normal is hearing about someone blacking out at a college tailgate? How common is it to be encouraged to drink so much that you vomit?
Yet how often do you see an ad for the Don’t Drink and Drive campaign? How often do you hear about someone dying in a car accident caused by drunk driving? How often do you hear stories around campus of two people getting into a drunken brawl? How often do you see someone being loaded into an ambulance from alcohol poisoning on your campus?
At the end of the day, neither substance is entirely healthy or unhealthy. In moderation, the use of both alcohol and marijuana are completely fine. What we as a society need to realize is that weed is not this evil substance as it is all too often portrayed.
With effects less harmful than those of alcohol, marijuana is just another way for some people to take a load off at the end of the day. Plus, if Scooby and Shaggy were our childhood stoner advocates and friends, how much stock can we actually put in its so-called detrimental effects?