Marijuana vs Alcohol Essay

1664 Words Dec 17th, 2013 7 Pages
Drink Up? Or Toke Up? That is the Question
They were both icons of unforgettable eras: one, the glamorous nineteen twenties; the other, the revolutionary seventies. In the twenties, alcohol was sipped cautiously behind the walls of speakeasies; glasses clinking under the flashing lights of entertainment signs. The hippies of the sixties and seventies passed pipes of burning marijuana, promoting peace while protesting for the rights of millions of Americans. No doubt, both drugs have had a major influence on the country, both have had their “glory” days. After a time of prohibition, the once thought sinful substance of alcohol was re-legalized. Marijuana, on the other hand, remains illegal in the country of the United States. But
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So while it is very possible to die from having a few too many drinks, smoking marijuana seems to be far less toxic of a substance (Foland).
Not only are the toxic levels of alcohol much greater than those of marijuana, but the consequences of drinking long-term are far more damaging as well. Next to smoking tobacco and being overweight, drinking alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Not including all the accidents and homicides that are attributed to the use of alcohol, the number of people that suffered alcohol induced deaths was 20,687 in 2003 alone (Foland). Those who choose to drink face the risk of many different health conditions, including some cancers, liver cirrhosis, liver disease, and heart disease---not to mention the risk of physical dependency (“Alcohol vs. Marijuana”). The effects on the brain are just as detrimental. In contrast to the old myth that drinking alcohol kills brain cells, recent studies have shown that instead it prevents new cells from being made. This process of making new cells, called neurogenesis, was found to be decreased by over fifty percent in abusers of alcohol. Marijuana seems to have the opposite effect. The same study showed that the use of marijuana actually increased neurogenesis, thus increasing the making of new brain cells (Wenk). Recent studies
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