Drinking too much alcohol can quickly kill. The inability to metabolize alcohol as quickly as it’s consumed can lead to a buildup of alcohol in the brain that shuts down areas necessary for survival, such as those involved with heartbeat and respiration.

“One can die binge-drinking five minutes after they’ve drank alcohol. That isn’t going to happen with marijuana,” said Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “The impact of marijuana use is much subtler.”

No substantial evidence links marijuana to domestic violence or cancer, yet pot is illegal and listed as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Meanwhile, alcohol remains legal despite the fact that it’s been proven to contribute to many societal ills, including domestic violence and auto accidents. The study found that marijuana does increase the odds of being in car accident by 83%.but when alcohol’s involved, the odds of being in a car accident increase more than 2,200%! It also shows that alcohol is more likely than marijuana to interact with other drugs. The way that alcohol is metabolized, or broken down, in the body, is common to many drugs that are taken for a variety of conditions. When people take drugs or medications while drinking, the alcohol can increase or decrease levels of the active drug in the body.

Another study by the University of Colorado Boulder found that alcohol is much more damaging to your brain than marijuana. In fact, the study which was published in the journal Addiction suggests that marijuana use doesn’t alter the structure of a person’s brain. Marijuana itself usually doesn’t cause liver damage, but alcohol does. One cannot overdose on marijuana.

Most of the criminal activity tied to marijuana has to do with illegal distribution, not violence committed by people who smoke it. The criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people of color and criminalization doesn’t curb access. Decriminalizing marijuana use and possession would ease police work and state and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales.

Ron Hurst

Nacogdoches

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