alcohol

Alcohol vs Marijuana

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What is More Dangerous, Marijuana or Alcohol?

In recent times, marijuana has slowly become less and less of a taboo subject, however, there is the debate about alcohol vs marijuana? The gradual legalization has made marijuana a hot topic, both for its recreational uses and medicinal properties. The biggest questions that remain are, is it dangerous and is it more dangerous than alcohol? Given the length of time that alcohol has been legal most people would assume that it is the safer option, but is that true?

Risk from Alcohol

While alcohol may be readily available to anyone over the age of 21, it still comes with risk both to your judgment and health. According to the CDC, excessive alcohol consumption leads to around 88,000 deaths annually. Alcohol consumption comes with both long-term and short-term effects on a person, such as:

  • Impairment of judgment leading to injuries from motor vehicle accidents, drowning, falls and physical instability.
  • People under the influence of alcohol could become violent, which has led to murder, assault, and sexual assault.
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders among women who are pregnant and consuming alcohol may lead to miscarriage, death, and birth defects.
  • Excessive alcohol use can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, heart disease, and digestive problems.
  • Mental health problems
  • Alcoholism
  • Learning and memory problems that can affect the ability to learn or remember things later in life.

Risk of Marijuana

Many people see the risks of marijuana use to be far less than that of alcohol consumption. There are still risks to using marijuana despite the fact that it is natural. Which would be the reason for its long-term legal issues. Marijuana was made illegal in 1937 for reasons that aren’t quite clear. According to the CDC, the risk of marijuana use includes:

  • Impaired immune response
  • Possible negative effect on heart function
  • Short-term memory impairment and learning abilities
  • Long-term effects on the lungs, similar to those of smoking cigarettes
  • Decreased sperm count
  • Interference with ovulation and pre-natal development

Alcohol and Marijuana; In comparison

Comparing alcohol and marijuana side by side may leave you feeling a little stunned. Alcohol has been legal since 1933, even though the only benefit of consuming alcohol in excess, as most people do, is a few possible hours of euphoria. Marijuana has been illegal since 1937 and has been proven to have medicinal purposes far beyond its recreational reputation. When comparing them side by side, it is best to keep in mind that both can be vices and both can be beneficial. They, also, will both have a different effect from person to person. According to a study conducted by, Pew Research,  69% of Americans believe that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. The truth is there isn’t a scientific answer to whether or not one is more dangerous than the other. Both marijuana and alcohol have a risk and until further research is done, consumer opinion will reign the topic of whether or not one is more dangerous than the other.

Why Alcohol Is Paleo?

Why is alcohol Paleo? The basic premise of leading a Paleo lifestyle is to remove all processed foods and eliminate toxins from your body. This being said, alcohol is technically not paleo; it is both heavily processed and a toxin. A lot of people who have made the switch to a paleo lifestyle, do so more in a new aged way. The first thing that they alter the original paleo diet is the allowance of alcohol consumption. But under what premise do they convince themselves that alcohol should be considered Paleo or at least a part of their paleo lifestyle despite the toxins in it?

Socialization

Typically speaking, the hardest part of eliminating alcohol from your life completely, is your social life. Going out to have a drink with friends or having a bottle of wine when you are gathering with family for the holidays, is about so much more than consuming alcohol. It has become a part of our natural bonding process. Many people find that when they switch to a paleo lifestyle, it can have an adverse effect on their social life. Going out to eat or to dinners with friends becomes a challenge. Choosing to leave the alcohol in their diet gives them their means of socialization and relaxation with the ones they cherish most.

Choosing the most “Paleo” Alcohol

While choosing to continue to consume alcohol, even after making the switch to a paleo lifestyle, may seem like you are throwing caution to the wind and ignoring the toxins going into your body; people still tend to search for the lesser of the evils.  Beer is easily at the very bottom of the list of items that could ever be considered paleo. It is made from barley, hops, and wheat; a big paleo don’t.  While wine makes a more compelling argument for its paleo qualities. After all, it is made from fruit. Wine is considered to be the closest thing to paleo alcohol but similar to beer, it is fermented with sugar and starch, typically found in fruits. Spirits like vodka and whiskey, are also put through a fermentation process involving grains and are then distilled. The biggest issue with spirits is the amount of gluten found in them. While the distilling process removes a great deal of the gluten, this would still be a major issue for someone who switched to a paleo lifestyle for the purpose of being gluten-free.

Possibly the most popular alcohol option for paleo lifestyle is hard cider. It is fermented and typically made from pears and apples; it is also available gluten-free. Hard cider is the one alcohol that is considered to be paleo, though some hard ciders are not. You should always read the label and check for added sugar of the brand on hard cider before purchasing it. Hard cider is also available in organic options and sugar-free option. While hard cider is made from paleo-friendly ingredients, it is still a toxin. Alcohol is not only bad for your liver, it is addictive, can cause your body to prioritize detoxification over nutrients, can affect your blood sugar, and it is dehydrating.

Is Alcohol Really Paleo Friendly?

The bottom line is that; alcohol is not paleo in any form. Though some forms are far better for you than others, it is still toxic to your body. Choosing to consume alcohol even though it doesn’t meet paleo guidelines is completely a personal choice. But if you are focused on healing your body from the inside out and only putting what’s good for you into it, it’s a toxin and toxic for your body and health just like processed snack foods that you have probably been dreaming about for some time. The question is, Is it worth it to you for the sake of socialization?

Is Wine Paleo?

Wine photoYou can drink all the wine that you want…

But if you’re going to drink wine (and I occasionally do), then lets at least be clear about why we’re doing it.

This is a drink about which there has been a lot of debate in the health world. But I think much of that debate stems from the fact that wine and alcohol are such a big part of our social lives, even many “health experts” don’t want to risk angering people.

For better or worse, I don’t have that qualm…

What is Wine?

You probably already know what wine is.

Wine is a drink that’s made by squeezing the juice from grapes and then fermenting that juice. The process is actually slightly more complicated than that, but in general, it’s grape juice where the sugar has been changed to alcohol.

For the purposes of this article, I won’t differentiate between red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, port, or any other type of wine. They all differ a lot in terms of taste, but the health differences are really quite small in general.

Is Wine Healthy?

Countless “Health Experts” claim that a glass or two of red wine every day is great for your health. And there are lots of studies they point to in order to make this point.

However, not one of those claims is supported at all. Moderate wine consumption is sometimes correlated with decreased heart disease, but there’s no proof of causation, and the more likely explanation is that heart disease is decreased by a more active social life and other factors.

In addition, wine is still an alcoholic. It still leads to bad decision-making, it increases the likelihood of leaky gut, it increases inflammation, it disrupts sleep, and it inhibits the growth and re-growth of brain cells.

In other words, wine, like any alcohol, is quite toxic for your body in very small doses. So a glass of wine certainly won’t kill you, but it’s definitely making you at least fractionally less healthy.

If you want a refresher, be sure to check out this article for seven huge reasons alcohol is bad for you.

The point is, wine is not good for your body (particularly your gut and your brain). It’s fun, tastes great, and leads to a lot of awesome social experiences, but those are separate considerations.

What Do Other Paleo Experts Say?

Melissa and Dallas Hartwig: “It’s difficult for us to make a case that any alcohol – even red wine, gluten-free beer, or 100% agave tequila – makes you more healthy. But while we exclude alcohol in all forms for your Whole30 program, we aren’t saying you should never have a drink ever again. All we are saying is that if you do choose to drink, don’t try to justify it with ‘heart health’ or ‘gluten-free.’ (The fact that it’s just plain delicious and you really enjoy it is reason enough!) Just understand that the less you drink, and the less often you choose to imbibe, the healthier you’ll be.”

Mark Sisson: “I’d never recommended that people take up drinking or continue drinking, but I also don’t see it as a great evil in and of itself. The dose and frequency make the poison; it’s just that depending on a number of factors, the dose that makes alcohol a poison might be lower or higher for you than for me. If your sleep is affected or you are the least bit ‘off’ the next day, you probably surpassed your ability to effectively process it and you should factor that into your choice and approach to drinking again.”

Is Wine Paleo?

No.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can never drink wine. Obviously, that’s a choice for you to make. For instance, I sometimes eat corn, processed sugar, and vegetable oils when I’m eating out. I make case-by-case decisions and decide that although they’re not healthy for me, it’s alright to do sometimes.

You can make the same choice with wine. But please don’t fall for believing that it’s a healthy thing to do. Acknowledge that wine is delicious and fun, and enjoy it even more for those reasons.

Issue No. 43