I remember when I was at secondary school, one of my teachers randomly said to us, “If on one side of the road was a group of drunk people and the other side had a group of stoned people; which side of the road would you walk on?”


I remember when I was at secondary school, one of my teachers randomly said to us, “If on one side of the road was a group of drunk people and the other side had a group of stoned people; which side of the road would you walk on?”

Being about thirteen years old at the time, most of us shouted “Alcohol!”. I know I did it to try and sound cool.

“No, you should definitely walk past the stoned people.” My teacher replied as quick as a flash. “Drunk people will want to start a fight, whereas stoned people will most likely want to eat a packet of crisps…”

I don’t know why, but that interaction always stuck with me. From then onwards I wondered if Cannabis was as bad as people made it out to me when I was a kid. Of course nowadays I am fully aware that there are positives and negatives for pretty much anything in life; and this post is to highlight those factors for both alcohol and Cannabis, and compare the two if applicable.

cannabis vs alcohol


  1. Reduces Stress

The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol, which is commonly known as THC. According to researchers at both the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Chicago, THC reduces stress.

They also found however that this was only true when consumed in small doses. Higher doses tended to have an adverse effect. So like with alcohol, it is important to use Cannabis products responsibly to get the full benefits when using it.

2. Has Relaxation And Recovery Properties

When I have smoked in the past, one of the most short term effects is that I feel completely relaxed. This can differ from person to person of course; but for me it created a sense of calm, which actually ties in with point number 1 as well!

This works even better from a medical standpoint; Cannabis helps the mind not to focus on stress, and more on the recovery side of things, especially for long term injuries or medical conditions. Essentially, it helps your body go into ‘rest mode’, so if your body needs that, then regular (but not excessive) usage can be just what the doctor ordered so to speak…

Cannabis vs Alcohol

3. Treats After-effects Of Chemotherapy

When you feel nauseous, the last thing you would want to do is drink because alcohol – in particular drinking a lot – irritates the stomach lining and can induce vomiting.

This isn’t the case with Cannabis however, as there have been ample studies to show that cannabinoids such as THC provide effective relief from these side effects after having chemotherapy treatment.

Based on results published in Annals of Oncology, one in four people experienced no vomiting or nausea while taking Cannabis, whereas only 14% of people who were trying alternative methods had the same results.

“These encouraging results indicate medical Cannabis can help improve quality of life for chemotherapy patients.” Peter Grimison, Associate Professor at The University of Sydney.

4. An Effective Pain management Tool

Some studies have shown that for chronic pain, using THC can be as effective as taking opioids (which are considered the best course of action for chronic pain). Considering the mild side effects of Cannabis usage compared to the myriad of side effects with opioids such as morphine, THC may be the widely accepted drug of choice in the near future to combat long-standing physical pain issues.

5. Does Wonders For Mental Health Management

I, like many people, struggle with anxiety. It isn’t ideal but I learned to live with it and have my own ways to manage it whenever I get flare ups or feel like I’m losing control of a situation. One of the methods that always worked for me was having a joint. I never understood the technical reason, but I knew that I felt nice and tranquil afterwards.

I always wanted to stay away from serious drugs to combat my own mental health issues, so I found marijuana to be a perfect substitute for that. It turns out that there is an actual reason for this; MIND conducted a study on people who were using Cannabis for medical reasons, updating their findings 2-4 times a year for up to two years. They found that regular usage:

  • Improved cognitive performance
  • Reduced clinical treatment for anxiety, depression and PTSD
  • Reduced usage of conventional medications such as benzodiazepines

Additionally, one of the biggest drawbacks for alcohol is the dreaded ‘hangover’ the next day. It is a strong, guilt ridden reminder to not go as hard on something, and a subtle voice in your head to say “Maybe that isn’t as good for me as I thought it was…”

In comparison, there are no ‘hangover effects from taking marijuana’. So eat those cookies, drink that tea, and enjoy it without the fear of having a massive headache the following day…

cannabis vs alcohol


  1. Surprising Health Benefits In Beer

Believe it or not, beer is filled with things that are very good for you such as riboflavin, magnesium, calcium and a wide range of B vitamins.

In fact, there are even more nutrients in darker beers thanks to their iron content. That doesn’t mean you should go out and get hammered; but a few beers now and then can give you an unexpected vitamin boost.

What you wouldn’t expect though, is for Cannabis to also be a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Fresh raw marijuana for example contains similar nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and riboflavin. It also has a healthy supply of vitamins A, D, E and B12.

2. An Elevated level Of Confidence

Although a different style of confidence; the short term effects of both Ganja and alcohol can lead to a new found confidence. The former usually gives you that sense of zen, while the latter makes you feel like you can take on the world.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article though; alcohol can also flip a switch and make you far more aggressive. I know people who say “I can’t drink so and so; that makes me wanna fight!” while at the same time, Cannabis users tend to want to chill out, possibly listen to music and take in what the world has to offer them.

This is typically why, although it can be used recreationally, Cannabis is used for medical purposes such as psychological disorders (see above) and alcohol is used far more in social occasions.

man drinking wine vs cannabis

3. Various Alcoholic Beverages Keep Your Heart Healthy

Drinking red wine promotes the forming of new blood vessels, as well as blocking substances that can cause swelling or pain within the body.

Interestingly; vodka is also good for your heart! Vodka helps improve blood circulation, as well as help blood vessels develop.

4. A Welcome Stress Reliever

Many of us have had a tough day at work and thought to ourselves that we can’t wait to have a drink. Alcohol is a sedative, so it isn’t your typical weapon of choice to alleviate stress, but for many people it works. Of course, drinking too much may feel like you are forgetting your troubles, but it only tends to make them worse when you sober up again. Drinking in moderation however can help with a short term build up of stress.

Ganja is difficult to categorise as the effects can be very different depending on the person. But even though it can be technically classified (based on variety type) as a depressant, stimulant or a hallucinogen; one thing is certain – it can, and is used to combat stress.

5. Promotes Feelings Of Happiness And Euphoria

Alcohol does get a bad wrap at times, mainly because people can abuse it and not use it correctly. However when you have a few drinks with your friends, this can give you an elevated level of confidence (see above), and the snowball effect of having a great time in social situations ends up creating a natural energy high. This is arguably why so many people don’t even think twice when ordering a drink or two on a night out.

In spite of that, the saying is ‘what goes up, must come down’, and there have been many times after a big night out I wake up feeling drained and depressed. With Ganja though, it can be used to actually fight depression. So there are no ‘after the night before’ feelings of regret while taking it.

Cannabis gives you that euphoric state, but for different reasons. Cannabis heightens your perception of things around you, giving you a greater appreciation for them and essentially creating that ‘high’ people talk about.

effect of alcohol on the body

To summarise, I don’t feel one is better than the other as they both have their positives in different ways. Like anything, if you want to see the negatives in anything, you’ll find it if you look long enough. 

At the same time, there are factual points that you cannot ignore. For example, according to a Columbia University (New York) study, you are 13 times more likely to have a fatal driving accident when impaired by alcohol, while you are only twice as likely to do so while stoned. In addition, The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention in the US states that an estimated 25,000 people die from direct alcohol overdoses. Cannabis…? Zero, literally zero.