Weed vs. Alcohol: What’s The Difference?

Comparing weed and alcohol isn’t entirely fair – scientists have been paying close attention to the impact and effects of alcohol for centuries, while the same level of research simply doesn’t exist when it comes to pot. 

Here is what we do know. 

Alcohol is More Addictive than Weed

In 2012, just under 22% of Canadians met the criteria for a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime with alcohol taking the top spot by a long shot. In contrast, 96% of people who had tried marijuana more than once in their lifetime reported never having felt the need to seek professional help for an addiction. 

In addition, a large scale 1994 study found that 9% of people who had tried marijuana at least once eventually fit a diagnosis for addiction. When it comes to alcohol, that number jumped to 15%. 

Alcohol Increases Violence, Weed Does Not

In the 2019 Netflix documentary, Grass is Greener, Snoop Dogg says that, “You could put a thousand [expletives] in one room that don’t like each other and put some weed in the air, they’ll be taking selfies and some cool [expletive]. You put four people in a room that don’t like each other and one glass of [expletive] alcohol, somebody gonna be [expletive] dead.” 

He’s not wrong.

Stats from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics alcohol increases the likelihood of youth violence, child maltreatment and abuse, intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault and sexual violence.

As mentioned, there are strong links between alcohol and intimate partner violence (IPV) in Canada and throughout the world. The evidence shows that alcohol increases the frequency and intensity of IPV. 

The same cannot be said for marijuana. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that marijuana can actually decrease the likelihood of violence in the home

Alcohol, Weed, and Cancer

Alcohol increases your risk of developing a ton of different cancers including breast, stomach, brain and neck, pancreatic, liver and colorectal. In fact, a study found that 741,300 of all new cases of cancer throughout the world in 2020 were caused by alcohol. 

While there are some studies showing that smoking a bunch of weed for a long time may increase the risk of lung and other cancers, other studies did not have the same findings. We do know, though, that cannabis can actually help relieve many symptoms and side effects of cancer including nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and pain. 

Links to Obesity

Because the munchies are a very real thing, you may be tempted to assume that weed is more closely linked to obesity than alcohol. You would be wrong

A 2017 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that heavy episodic drinking was linked to a 41% higher risk of going from a normal weight to overweight, and a 36% higher risk of going from overweight to obese compared with not drinking heavily. There are a variety of reasons for this, but unlike weed, alcohol has a lot of calories in it. A night of drinking 8 beers increases your daily caloric intake by about 1200 calories. Now, imagine doing that multiple times per week. 

Maybe it was some kind of fluke, because munchies, but a 2011 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology actually found that people who consume cannabis products are less likely to be obese than non-users. Light me up, Scotty. 


There isn’t a real solid definition of overdose when it comes to marijuana. This is because, while it’s possible to consume too much and feel crappy, it’s really rare to need medical attention because of weed. There have been a few instances where weed has been implicated in a death but a clear causal relationship between weed and overdose causing death has never been established.

When we’re talking about alcohol, though, overdose is a very real and terrifying risk. An alcohol overdose can lead to permanent brain damage and, in extreme cases, death. Knowing the dangers of overdose and acting quickly can save lives. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some of the critical signs and symptoms of an alcohol overdose include:

  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulty remaining conscious, or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which can prevent choking)
  • Extremely low body temperature, bluish skin color, or paleness

Conclusion: Final Ruling

If you threw weed and alcohol into the ring, we would argue that weed comes out on top every single time. Weed is associated with less addiction, less violence, less cancer, less death, and less weight. Honestly, it feels like a no-brainer. 

Weed is king. 

Contact Acreage Pharms today to explore our wide range of cannabis products. 

Sirona Pharma

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