With the growing acceptance of marijuana in certain parts of the United States, there’s also been some shifts in how cannabis is viewed socially. Meaning, many are starting to consider choosing cannabis over alcohol.
For decades, the drink of choice at social events has been alcohol. After Prohibition ended in 1933, alcohol quickly became acceptable by consumers. By the 1950s, even Mom and Dad out in the suburbs were seen as acceptable if they had a cocktail on the patio.
Now, the same is happening with cannabis.
Choosing Cannabis Over Alcohol
There are more than 20 states that have legalized medicinal marijuana. Four states – and the District of Columbia – have legalized it for recreational purposes. That had led to more widespread use.
For example, according to a recent study quoted in Marie Claire, an estimated 8 million women smoked marijuana in the past year. Those women come from a wide range of the socio-economic spectrum – one in five say they are in a household with an income of $75,000-plus per year, according to Marie Claire, which added:
“They cut a wide swath across the professional spectrum, including lawyers, editors, insurance agents, TV producers, and financial biggies.”
Why the switch from drinking a glass of wine to cannabis? There are many advantages, according to those who have tried it. Here are a few.
No hangover. One of the worst – and best known – side effects of drinking alcohol is that you pay for a few hours of fun the next day with headaches and nausea that can last far longer than the fun did. Cannabis, on the other hand, does not carry over into the next day.
Counting calories. Drinking sugary alcoholic drinks can lead to weight gain, while cannabis does not. Although marijuana can lead to an increase in appetite, that’s not a problem if you snack on healthy foods.
Social acceptance. The days of demonizing marijuana use are rapidly fading across much of the country. Even in states and cities that have not decriminalized marijuana, fines have been lowered, according to Marie Claire.
Less risk-taking behavior. A decade ago, the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs reported what many already know: cannabis leads to less risky behavior than alcohol. “Cannabis differs from alcohol in one major respect: it seems not to increase risk-taking behavior,” the council reported. Cannabis produces relaxation rather than the aggressive and disinhibited behavior often associated with drinking alcohol.
Less lethal. Alcohol is involved in staggering number of deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2012, for example, the WHO reports that 3.3 million deaths – which is 5.9% of all deaths around the world – were alcohol-related.
Better atmosphere. Alcohol can affect people in different ways, and one of the negative ways is it can lead to violent behavior, according the advisory council in Britain. Typically cannabis does not lead to this kind of behavior, making a gathering much more relaxing. With cannabis, a women told Reset Me, “The only thing that is going to get attacked is a bag of Doritos.”
Although, if you’re worried about weight gain, you might want to make that a bag of carrots.
These are some of the reasons both men and women are finding it advantageous to switch from alcohol to cannabis. How widespread this phenomenon becomes may depend on how many states join in the movement to decriminalize cannabis, but it’s a trend that is showing a lot of strength.
For a detailed examination of the debate between marijuana and alcohol, read “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert.