Did you know that you can die from getting drunk, however, no one has ever died from getting stoned?
The criminalization of marijuana is absurd when you take a scientific look at the difference between getting drunk and getting stoned. Humanity has indulged in both alcohol and marijuana since time immemorial.
However, authorities will arrest you for the one that won’t kill you, and ironically likely indulge themselves in the other deadly one in their spare time.
Clearly, this is not to say that weed is entirely innocent. It is a psychoactive drug that can be extremely damaging to teenagers and dangerous to those with schizophrenia. However, alcohol is no saint, with alcoholism affecting 1 in 12 people in the US alone.
So what exactly do both do to your body when you use them?
Worse case scenarios
How much alcohol will kill you in one sitting?
Not as much as you imagine. Many reported deaths have occurred once people’s blood alcohol level reaches 0.3. What that means, is for the average person, having 15 standard drinks during a 2 hour period can be suicide.
To illustrate, John Bonham, the former drummer of Led Zepplin, infamously died after consuming 16 shots of vodka for breakfast and then following that with another 40 drinks throughout the rest of the day.
How much marijuana will kill you in one sitting?
It is categorically impossible to go on a weed binge and die. A person would need to consume 1500 pounds of marijuana within a 15 minute period for it to kill them.
Detrimental effects of irresponsible consumption of weed vs. alcohol
People who drink irresponsibly are playing a deadly game. Not just deadly to themselves, but deadly to others. Every year, alcohol claims the lives of around 88,000 people. Alcoholism is devastating and extremely hard to cure.
Alcoholism can be genetically inherited if your family has a history. People also use alcohol to numb emotional and mental torment and resultantly end up turning into alcoholics. Environmental factors also turn people to irresponsible drinking. If your culture or community encourage it, you can develop a drinking problem.
Weed, on the other hand, proves detrimental mostly when used by individuals who cannot tolerate it. If you are under the age of 21, you will destroy parts of your developing brain irreversibly. Your ability to remember things deteriorates.
Additionally, people with mental illness can have severe adverse reactions to marijuana. People with depression can become more depressed. Those with anxiety disorders can make their anxiety worse. Most frighteningly, is that people pre-disposed to schizophrenia can develop it after using weed.
Marijuana can cause psychosis and hallucinations, so in a person that is pre-disposed to mental illness, this can be devastating to their lives.
A combined problem connected to both weed and alcohol is how it impairs your judgment and coordination. Devastatingly, people who drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of both of these are at risk of killing others and themselves.
Another problem that can arise from an inexperienced weed user having too much THC in one go is the experience of extreme anxiety and paranoia. If too much THC arrives at the cannabinoid receptors within the amygdala, the person will experience a fight/flight response.
The amygdala is responsible for our survival instincts, and it is interpreting the experience as a survival threat.
All things in moderation
What occurs within your body and brain when you consume alcohol?
Ethanol is the active ingredient in alcohol. The stomach rapidly absorbs ethanol, and your body interprets it to be a poison. The liver attempts to combat the ethanol by releasing, and an enzyme called dehydrogenase. This enzyme converts alcohol into acetaldehyde which further breaks it down into acetic acid.
If you drink more alcohol than your liver can convert, you will start to feel drunk. And this drunk feeling can be deceptive. Alcohol is a depressant, but initially, it fills you with euphoria. Your brain releases dopamine which encourages you to drop your inhibitions.
However, the depressive effects start to overtake your body also. The alcohol has increased the effects of the inhibitory transmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These effects make you clumsier, and your vision starts to become impaired.
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