When it comes to relaxing at the end of a hard day, having a joint or kicking back with a drink are two of the most common choices. However, one of the longest debates that people have had is whether one is better than the other.
This is an age-old question that has rumbled on for decades, so we thought we would take a closer look at both alcohol and cannabis and how they can impact your body and mind. Both produce unique effects on the body that can help you to relax and unwind, but they also interact with your body in different ways, creating differing short-term and long-term impacts.
First things first
Before we jump in and start looking at how these two substances interact with your mind and body, there are a few things that we need to keep in mind. The first is that there are significant differences in the availability of research and studies on cannabis in comparison to alcohol.
There is a seemingly endless supply of data and research papers on the effects of alcohol in the long-term and short term. Much of the western world has been drinking beers, wine, and spirits for centuries, so scientists and researchers have had far longer to analyses its impact.
Cannabis, on the other hand, is still a relatively newer substance. Although it has been smoked for thousands of years, commercial use in the modern world is still very much in its early days. However, that said, there are an ever-increasing number of studies occurring, and there are many long-term studies currently being undertaken to understand its impact on the human body.
Another essential consideration to remember when comparing the differences between alcohol and marijuana is the variety of products. In terms of alcohol, there is a huge choice available to drinkers. From having a pint of beer or a glass of wine to sipping a whiskey or taking a shot, each option can impact the drinker in different ways. The amount someone drinks will also mean the impact of alcohol will be different.
Nowadays, cannabis has just as many varieties to choose from. Not only are there various different strains and THC content to choose from, but there are also a host of different consumption methods such as edibles and vapes. As with alcohol, each of these has a different impact on the body, as does the quantity that someone consumes.
Finally, it is also important to remember that we are all different, and our individual biology will have a major influence on the effects that alcohol and cannabis will have. Some people might have a very low tolerance for weed but can drink far more, while it might be the complete opposite for someone else.
What are the effects of alcohol on the body?
Alcohol can impact the body in a wide range of ways, and many people will find that certain drinks will affect them differently. For some people, one drink is enough to begin to notice the effects of alcohol, while others might need several before, they start to feel those same effects.
While those short-term effects can be very quick, regularly drinking alcohol can have a hidden long-term impact on the body.
What is the short term impact of alcohol?
No matter what the drink of choice is, the first thing that many people will notice is that there is a feeling of reduced tension and lower inhibitions. This is often why people will head to a bar after a stressful day, with the alcohol helping them to relax.
However, there is a range of other effects, including:
People who have had several drinks may find that their coordination is not quite as good, and they are more likely to bump into things or trip over.
- Impaired cognitive skills
Being drunk can also cause your cognitive skills to deteriorate slightly, which can make it harder to undertake normal tasks. It could also impact your memory and speech.
- Impaired judgment
That impairment in your cognitive skills can also lead to a lapse of judgment, and individuals are more likely to do things that they wouldn’t normally do – such as texting an ex!
Alcohol can help you to relax and unwind, but too much can cause drowsiness. However, using alcohol as a tool to help you to get to sleep is not a wise choice as it prevents you from entering deep sleep, resulting in you waking up feeling unrested and tired.
While some people might become drowsy, others can find themselves becoming restless.
Too much alcohol can also cause people to become nauseous and even throw up.
Of course, one of the worst short-term effects of drinking alcohol comes the next morning when the dreaded hangover begins. This can cause people to experience sharp headaches, muscle aches, and vomiting for several hours.
What are the long term effects of alcohol?
While these short term effects are often very visible, and it is clear to see when someone has had a few drinks, alcohol can also have many long term effects. Many of these can be incredibly harmful to the body and remain hidden until they have become a serious condition.
Some of the most common long term effects of alcohol include:
- Liver disease
Arguably the most common long term disorder that arises from regular and heavy alcohol drinking is liver disease. This is a very serious condition that impacts how the body processes the food and drink that we eat, and if left untreated, it can be life threatening.
Pancreatitis is another very common and serious condition that can arise from the misuse of alcohol. This condition is the inflammation of your pancreas and can cause severe pain, fever, and vomiting.
- Heart conditions
Heavy alcohol use can also have a major impact on the health of your heart. This can include blocked arteries, an irregular heartbeat, and in worst cases even stroke.
- Stomach issues
Large quantities of alcohol could irritate your stomach, which can cause bloating, discomfort, and even ulcers.
- Nervous system
Another major long-term condition that can arise from drinking alcohol is damage to your nervous system, resulting in you feeling a tingling sensation or even numbness in your limbs.
- Sexual health
Long-term alcohol use can also lead to erectile dysfunction, as well as having an impact on male and female fertility.
What are the effects of cannabis on the body?
Cannabis can also have an array of effects on the human body. While smoking is the most common form of consumption, edibles and vapes are also popular solutions, and just like alcohol, these can all have a different impact on the body.
What are the short term effects of cannabis?
We are all different, which means the immediate impact of cannabis can differ between individuals, but feeling a sense of calmness and reduced stress are often the first things that people experience. Some other short-term effects include:
- Altered perception of time
Smoking cannabis can result in a slightly altered perception of time. As you relax, it can be very easy to lose track of time.
- Coordination issues
As with alcohol, smoking lots of cannabis can result in short term coordination impairment. This can make carrying out normal tasks more challenging.
Some people find that they become incredibly lethargic after smoking marijuana, preferring to sit back and relax on the sofa.
While some people find themselves feeling lethargic, others can feel very inspired and creative after smoking cannabis.
- Pain relief
Another positive short-term benefit from smoking cannabis is that it can help to relieve pain. This makes it particularly useful for those living with conditions such as arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis.
- Increased hunger
The famous munchies is a very short-term effect on the body, and you might find that you are craving certain snacks and food after you’ve smoked a few joints.
- Dry mouth
Some people also experience a feeling of dry mouth after smoking a joint, while others might find that their eyes also feel dryer.
What are the long term effects of smoking cannabis?
Many of these side effects will only last for a short period of time and will soon disappear. While studies are still looking into the long term effects of smoking marijuana, the plant has been safely used for thousands of years by people across the globe.
However, there are some suggestions that heavy daily consumption could lead to a range of potential issues, including:
- Memory issues
Some studies have found that teenagers who regularly smoked cannabis during their formative years developed minor issues remembering things. Although this often only impacts the short-term memory recall rather than the long-term.
- Lower dopamine
Heavy and frequent marijuana use has also been shown to cause a reduction in the amount of dopamine that the body produces.
- Lung disease
For those smokers who regularly fill their joints with tobacco, there is the same level of risk of developing lung disease as those who regularly smoke cigarettes. However, this risk is far lower for those who do not include tobacco in their joints.
While smoking cannabis can help to alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress, consuming large quantities has been shown to lead to an increase in paranoia. Although easing the amount you smoke can reduce this impact.
So which is best for you?
In regular quantities and knowing your limits, both alcohol and cannabis can be a great way to help you relax and unwind. In terms of short-term effects, being intoxicated with either substance can feel very similar, particularly in terms of your reflexes, coordination, and cognitive abilities.
However, while you might get the munchies when you are stoned, the effects tend to wear off without any negative impact. Unlike alcohol, which can leave you feeling particularly worse for wear when you wake up the next day.
The biggest difference comes in terms of long term effects. Regularly drinking alcohol in quantities that exceed your recommended allowance can be very harmful to your overall health. Cannabis, on the other hand, has a much lower impact on your mind and body over time.
Another major concern with alcohol is the prevalence of addiction, and millions of people around the world are battling with substance misuse due to the amount they are drinking. That is not to say that marijuana is not addictive, but the risk of misuse is far lower in comparison.
Trying to answer the debate of alcohol vs. cannabis is tough, but research does suggest that the latter is a safer option. However, it is always important to only consume these in safe quantities and never go beyond what your body can handle.
Looking to enjoy your next smoke?
If you are looking to take your next smoke to the next level, then Eurocones is here to help you. We are a young and innovative brand that is dedicated to helping put smiles on our customers faces and bringing friends together.
We pride ourselves on offering the highest quality of pre-rolled cones and accessories for 420 enthusiasts, ensuring they can enjoy their smoke with the very best products. All of our cones are beautifully handmade and 100% vegan, helping you to elevate your smoking experience.
Of course, smoking with friends is always better. That is why we offer a huge array of sizes and styles of cones for you to choose from. We even have some unique extra-large party sizes to guarantee you can have the best smoking session possible. Alongside all of that, we also have a range of products for businesses, such as our Knockbox 100, which can quickly fill one hundred cones in a matter of minutes.
Want to find out more about Eurocones and our wide range of products? Get in touch today, and our friendly team will be happy to help!