Drug Law

Majority of U.S. Says Alcohol More Dangerous Than Marijuana

| by NORML

More than half of Americans agree that marijuana is safer than alcohol. Rassmussen Reports has the details here:

Fifty-one percent (51%) of American adults say alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 19% disagree and say pot is worse.

But 25% say both are equally dangerous. Just two percent (2%) say neither is dangerous.

Younger adults are more likely than their elders to view alcohol as the more dangerous of the two.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of women say alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, compared to 48% of men. Men by a two-to-one margin over women say pot is riskier, but women are more inclined to say both are dangerous.

Unmarried adults are more critical of alcohol than those who are married. Those with children at home think alcohol is more dangerous than those without kids living with them.

Given the multitude of ways that our culture celebrates booze while simultaneously stigmatizing cannabis, these survey results are rather remarkable. Despite more than seven decades of federally sponsored pot propaganda, a slight majority of adults — including many Americans who drink booze and don’t smoke pot — recognize that alcohol poses far greater harms to the consumer and to society than does weed.

Here are just a few of the ways:

Quite literally, alcohol is an intoxicant; cannabis is not.

The word intoxicant is derived from the Latin noun, toxicum, meaning: “a poison.” It’s an appropriate description for booze. Alcohol is toxic to healthy cells and organs, a side-effect that results in some 35,000 deaths per year. Ethanol, the psychoactive ingredient in booze, is carcinogenic following its initial metabolization, which is why even moderate drinking is positively associated with increased incidences of various types of cancer. Heavy alcohol consumption can depress the central nervous system — inducing unconsciousness, coma, and death — and is strongly associated with increased risks of injury (Booze plays a role in about 41,000 fatal accidents per year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.) and acts of violence. In fact, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Crime Statistics, alcohol consumption plays a role in approximately one million violent crimes annually.

By contrast, the active compounds in marijuana, known as cannabinoids, are remarkably non-toxic and actually mimic chemicals naturally produced by the body, so-called endocannabinoids, that are vital for maintaining one’s proper health. Unlike alcohol, marijuana is incapable of causing fatal overdose — cannabinoids do not act upon the brain stem — and its use is inversely associated with aggression and injury. Finally, lifetime use of cannabis is not associated with increased risk of mortality or various types of cancer — including lung cancer — and may even reduce such risk.

Given our government’s demonization of the cannabis plant and its users it’s a wonder that anyone — much less over half of America — is finally recognizing these facts. That said, this awareness does not yet translate into majority support for legalizing cannabis, which Rasmussen reports remains below 50 percent — meaning that we still have our work cut out for us.

Read more on OpposingViews.com: Why is Marijuana Still Illegal?