Alcohol or Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

In this article, we will explore the effects of alcohol and marijuana, how they are consumers, and the differences between both substances. One is federally legal and the other is not, but should that change? We think so.

How Alcohol and Marijuana Work:

  1. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is typically received orally as it’s eaten, burned, or vaporized. The smoke travels to your lungs and finds the alveoli sacks. It takes just seconds for the THC to hit your bloodstream and travel through your body to your brain. THC that is consumed via a food source takes longer to hit the bloodstream, but the principal is the same. THC is a psychoactive that makes you feel “high” (Bonsor, K. & Gerbis, 2001).
  2. To intake alcohol, it’s typically in a drinkable form. It travels through your stomach and into your small intestine, which eventually enters your bloodstream and brain leading to what most refer to as intoxicated or “drunk” (UC Santa Cruz, 2020). 
Image Courtesy of Urbfinder: https://imgur.com/a/vH9wgRs

Never Succumb to Peer Pressure

These topics can be tough to tackle simply due to the subjective nature of the conversation. Everybody is going to react differently to different forms of alcohol or marijuana. So before I even begin to delve into this topic, I will plainly state from my opinion that it is okay to like or dislike either substance. You should never succumb to peer pressure. I have my opinions on both, how they affect me, and I decide when and how to consume what I want. 

We all have friends who prefer drinking or smoking, but you should decide what is for you. Don’t let your friends make you do anything you do not want to do. 

For a frame of reference, drinking is usually related to celebrations, fine dining, and social outings. It boosts the ego and can add a little swagger, or it can cause a slow motion drowsiness, motion sickness effect, and increased sensitivity, which leads to fights or emotional breakdowns. Smoking to get high has some marijuana-strain complexities, but most casual smokers will describe it as relaxing and happy. 

My biggest quarrel comes with the abuse of substances.

When is it Substance Abuse?

Abuse is another subjective term, but let’s break it down to its basic definition. Abuse is commonly associated with misuse, overconsumption, or reliance to function “normally.” Drinking and smoking are designed to alleviate stress and have a good time, but this is not always the case. 

When these activities occur from a place of a negative mindset (I.e. depression, rage, escape, etc.) they often lead to poor experiences for you or those around you. Smoking out of rage may be fine as it usually helps ease stress and anxiety, which is a calming agent. Drinking with rage leads to violence as you lose inhibition and any sense of decision-making capabilities. 

Marijuana becomes abuse in the sense of laziness, gluttony, or habit — the need to use it. This is called a dependency, which is substance abuse. It is unhealthy to consistently rid yourself of sobriety. You have to be comfortable with yourself to truly find your own happiness. 

Abuse is dangerous with anything. Weed may be considered medicinal, but to be clear, it is still a drug and can have major, psychosis effects on the brain. High-potency strains have the potential to cause psychotic breaks. As cited by Thompson (2019), NORML Deputy Director, Paul Armentano, noted that rates of psychosis and mental illness have remained largely static over the decades, even though marijuana use has waxed and waned in popularity. “This fact undermines the theory that cannabis exposure is a direct cause of psychosis in otherwise non-predisposed subjects, and instead indicates that those most likely to express psychotic symptoms probably possess a predisposition to both cannabis use and psychosis,” Armentano said. (Thompson, 2019).

Please consume THC and alcohol responsibly, safely, and legally. We are here to have a good time for a long time.

My Personal Experiences 

I grew up with an alcoholic parent. My mom and dad were never married, so it was me and her for most of the time. Mom had a Southern upbringing and rarely ever showed emotions. However, that pent-up emotion flared violently when she drank alcohol, which often led to arguments and even physical fights. Her anger only showed when she drank and I have mental scars that I will never heal. 

Alcoholism is worse, in my opinion, than frequent marijuana consumption. Alcohol debilitates the body at such a rapid pace and affects your mind and health quicker than one might think. The violence aspect scares because the “drunk” is totally unaware of their actions once they enter the “blackout” threshold. The “blackout” threshold is when there is too much alcohol in the bloodstream. This causes the brain’s frontal cortex, your cognition engine, to stop functioning, which leads to uncontrollable actions. 

Smoking usually relaxes and halts anxiety from certain strains, but it doesn’t lead to violent tendencies. 

That said, at the end of the day, abuse is abuse. With safe practices to maximize personal enjoyment, it is up to the discretion of the consumer as to what they prefer but please practice safe limits. This is the most important point.  

Personal and Social Responsibility

If you support the legalization of marijuana, the narrative and stigma has to change. It needs to be equated to a nice cold glass of beer after work. It’s ok to relax and enjoy yourself with a “toke of a bowl” or a drink of your choice. The same laws should apply though. 

Do not drive while consuming any substance. This may ruin your life and it endangers the lives of those around you. It’s dangerous and you don’t want blood on your hands because of a quick good time. Hopefully we help you mentally explore the effects of alcohol and marijuana. So you don’t have to physically explore the effects of alcohol and marijuana.

Keep your kids away from THC, alcohol, and products related to both substances. We as a society of consumers have to change the view and the narrative. Contact your local, state, and federal officials to show your support and educate yourself along the way. 

Stay safe, and consume responsibly!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article! We at SoulSpeak appreciate your time and energy. By means of proper education and social responsibility, we hope we can change the culture together.

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Spark a conversation with us on your favorite social channel by using #SoulSpeakTV – we would love to hear your thoughts! 

References

Bonsor, K. & Gerbis, N. (2001, July). How Marijuana Works. Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/marijuana2.htm

Thompson, D. (2019, March 19). Can High-Potency Pot Make You Psychotic? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20190320/can-high-potency-pot-make-you-psychotic#1

US Santa Cruz. (2020). Alcohol and Your Body. Retrieved from https://shop.ucsc.edu/alcohol-other-drugs/alcohol/your-body.html#:~:text=Once%20swallowed%2C%20a%20drink%20enters,absorbed%20through%20the%20small%20intestine.

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