Comparison Essay Sample: Marijuana and Alcohol

Published: 2022-02-25
Comparison Essay Sample: Marijuana and Alcohol
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Substance abuse Drug abuse
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 820 words
7 min read

While the use of marijuana remains illegal in most parts of the United States of America, approximately twenty million American citizens use the drug on a monthly basis. Putting that into consideration, marijuana is the number one street drug in the United States. Some states in America have made the use of recreational marijuana legal and more states are on the quest of making the drug legal. On the other hand, the use of alcohol has remained legal in almost all parts of the world with each one of them having different age limits for the use of alcohol. In America, the legal age limit for drinking alcohol is 16 years; at this age one is considered an adult. Is it possible for some people to stay away from taking alcohol and marijuana? Do people understand the health, financial, physical and psychological impacts alcohol and marijuana expose the consumers to? This essay aims at comparing and contrasting marijuana and alcohol as well as looking at the physical and psychological and health effects the two drugs pose to human beings.

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Most Americans want the use of recreational Marijuana legalized, and the number is increasingly rising. It is clear that most of these people who want the use of the drug legalized do not think marijuana is as harmful as alcohol. Just like alcohol the use of marijuana also has its risks; whether smoked or taken in foods like cookies.

The use of marijuana can affect an individual's coordination, judgment, memory, reaction time, and the ability to think and solve a problem. In the long term, the use of marijuana can lead to changes in the brain structure in adolescents, causes trouble learning and thinking and may also lead to problems either at work or in school. The extensive use of marijuana causes lung problems often characterized by a chronic cough and trouble breathing. It can also lead to a faster heart rate hence heightening an individual's exposure to a heart attack.

Same is the case with the use of alcohol. Alcohol exposes the user to so many risks. First is the risk of causing an accident, whether driving or operating machinery at the workplace or even walking. A drunken person is at the risk of getting into trouble with the law.

"While the dangers of heavy drinking (a heightened risk of accidents, cancer, heart disease, and liver problems) are undisputable, the health effects of light to moderate drinking remain controversial." (Harvard Heart Letter).Most people who use marijuana do not think that the drug is addictive. On the contrary, just like alcohol, marijuana is addictive both physically and psychologically.

"The risk of dependence among those who use marijuana is nine percent (it's 16 percent for alcohol), and for those who start in adolescence, the risk rises to 16 percent. "The more people who try it, the more people will become dependent," says Anthony Levitt, chief of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. "It's unavoidable." (Castaldo)

Marijuana and alcohol are different just as they are similar. Alcohol seems to cause more harm overall than marijuana. An average of 1,800 students in college succumbs to accidents caused while under the influence of alcohol yearly. A further 600,000 suffer alcohol-related injuries every year. This is according to a report by the National Institutes of Health. These kind of accidents are not common among individuals who use marijuana. Alcohol drinking is much more linked to reckless driving, damages relationships and individuals always end up regretting actions they did while drunk. Most crimes are always associated with alcohol. This is not the case with marijuana, with marijuana; the criminal activity related to the drug is illegal distribution but not violence like the case of alcohol.

When marijuana and/or alcohol become part of someone's life, it becomes obvious that the impacts of the two drugs will be evident in the person's life. Both marijuana and alcohol when used in excessive amounts have their risks, but when used in moderation the two most of the risks mentioned above are avoidable. It is becoming increasingly popular especially in the United States of America where some states have gone an extra mile to legalize marijuana. Such States include Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska. There is also an age limit of sixteen years where one is considered an adult and can engage in alcohol consumption. But of great importance to note are the many health, physical, and psychological effects on marijuana and alcohol users.

Works Cited

Under Investigation: A Daily Drink Vs. An Occasional One." Harvard Heart Letter, vol. 28, no. 6, Feb. 2018, p. 7. EBSCOhost,

Castaldo, Joe. "The Teenage Brain on Weed." Maclean's, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 34-37. EBSCOhost,

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