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adminfu May 26, 2020

The Effects of Marijuana in Comparison to Alcohol and Tobacco?

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With the legalization of cannabis in various parts of the country, a lot of people are applying for a medical marijuana evaluation nowadays. But as marijuana is becoming a mainstream trend now, it is often compared with alcohol and tobacco too. A quite common question in the minds of people nowadays is- Which of these three is a better choice for me? Marijuana, alcohol, or tobacco?

Some studies show that marijuana, as compared to the other two, is a lot less detrimental to your health. However, there are various factors that play a role here. You must not forget that cannabis reacts differently with different people. Furthermore, the frequency of your consumption and for how long you have been consuming are also very important in determining the effects of the substance.

In this article, we will be understanding how these three substances affect you differently. Because only after understanding this, you will be able to make a fair decision if you should apply for a medical cannabis card or not.

Cannabis Vs. Tobacco

Due to the stigma associated with the plant until now, the research on cannabis, unlike tobacco, isn’t very extensive. However, the researchers have found that, just like tobacco, it also carries various harmful compounds, such as CO and tar, which are very damaging to your cells. In fact, marijuana joints have three to four times more tar than usual tobacco cigarettes. Plus, weed users often have a habit of inhaling more deeply in order to use the maximum volume of the lungs. And this means the tar has a much greater impact on the lungs.

However, people who consume marijuana do not consume more than one or two joints a day. But on the other hand, cigarette users usually consume 10 to 40 cigarettes. And this means weed users consume a lot less tar overall, as compared to cigarette users.

Furthermore, tobacco is often linked with various chronic diseases, such as lung cancer, emphysema, and obstructive pulmonary disease. Plus, it carries nicotine, which adds up more to its harmful effects. On the other hand, cannabis has zero nicotine. The studies suggest that tobacco is also responsible for reducing a person’s lung capacity. While marijuana can actually increase it.

Now, we all know that smoking is particularly the most common way of consuming cannabis. And as we see, it has its drawbacks too, even if not as drastic as of tobacco. However, instead of smoking, if we ingest the THC directly, we can eliminate even these negative effects associated with the smoke.

But what about its comparison with alcohol? Is it better than alcohol or worse? Let’s find out.

Cannabis Vs. Alcohol

You must have heard of people dying due to drinking. In fact, in the US alone, more than 88 thousand people die annually as a result of overdosing on alcohol. However, in the entire history of the marijuana plant, not even a single case has resulted in death due to overconsumption.

As per the experts, it is probably impossible to consume an amount of THC that may be considered lethal. And maybe that’s why we haven’t seen even a single case of fatality due to consuming cannabis in any form

The studies that compare the effects of cannabis and alcohol on the human brain suggest that while cannabis may have some negative effects, they are nowhere near the adverse effects of alcohol. Researchers have studied the long term effects of alcohol. And they associate it with various conditions, like heart problems, pancreatitis, nervous system degeneration, and many other issues.

But it doesn’t mean marijuana is totally risk-free. Though the research on its long term effects in still not very extensive, experts link it with a predisposition to psychosis in certain cases. However, we still need to do some deeper research to fully understand the effects of cannabis abuse.

A Combined Comparison

As per a report published in 2015, people certainly overestimated the negative effects of marijuana in the past. On the other hand, the dangers of alcohol have been underestimated. The particular study compared the use of ten drugs namely Cocaine, Heroin, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Diazepam, Methadone, Ecstacy, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Cannabis. And the scientists associated with the study found that cannabis was actually the safest substance among all these drugs.

As per the data, tobacco usage is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States. While alcohol is associated with various chronic diseases, such as heart ailments and cancer. All in all, most experts now believe that cannabis is much less dangerous as compared to both tobacco and alcohol.

Can You Get Addicted?

When we talk about how dangerous the drug is, we usually decide it on the basis of how addictive they are. And in this case too, a lot of research has been done. The studies suggest that, if we see the percentage of people who became dependent on the substance within a period of ten years of its first usage, marijuana is a lot less addictive as compared to alcohol or tobacco.

Benefits of Tobacco, Alcohol and Cannabis

While these substances do carry certain health risks, we cannot simply ignore the potential benefits of them. Let’s see how these substances can help a person become healthier.


Though chronic alcohol consumption may affect your health negatively, if you consume it moderately, it can actually provide you with various benefits. Moderate alcohol consumption can significantly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and diabetes. Plus, it also increases your libido and immunity against the common cold.


Tobacco, which is extremely infamous for its links with several chronic diseases, also has some health benefits to offer you. It may reduce your chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. Plus, it lowers the risk of knee-replacement surgery.

Smoking tobacco is sometimes also associated with countering the development of endometrial cancer.


The cannabis plant is actually very famous for its long list of health benefits to offer us. In fact, it is the main reason behind the legalization of weed in various parts of the country.

The plant is known to have a number of therapeutic benefits, which help the users manage various health conditions, including stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsies, etc. And this is why so many people all around the country are applying for medical marijuana evaluation.

Final Words

As we saw above, marijuana, as compared to tobacco or alcohol, has much more to offer with respect to your health. Plus, it also is far less harmful and is not directly associated with any fatalities.

However, you should keep this in mind that studies in regard to cannabis are still at their initial stage. Especially, if you compare it with studies on tobacco and alcohol. And therefore, if you are thinking of applying for a medical cannabis card, you should consult a qualified doctor.