By Max Sargent

Remember that time you went to a party where everyone was smoking cannabis and a huge fight broke out? Yeah, me neither. You'd be hard pressed to find situations where cannabis use resulted in violence opposed to bringing people together. For once a stereotype is true. Yes, that's right, cannabis is more likely to make you want to bust out your guitar and sing a song than to pick a fight.

Alcohol, on the other hand, has a notorious reputation for being a catalyst of conflict. Unlike cannabis which elevates thought and triggers conscious engagement, alcohol compromises the senses and the mind's ability to process data accurately. Alcohol returns us to a primal self that is prone to aggressive tendencies. So if you're thinking about having a drink, maybe you should light up instead.


If you've ever had a drink and didn't fly off into a rage, that's pretty normal. Alcohol effects everyone differently and most can consume it without becoming aggressive. For others, one drink and they become the barroom bully. Alcohol in and of itself can be a fun substance to consume, however it can turn a situation bad in a heartbeat. When you first consume alcohol, it has the effect of taking the edge off. It is relaxing, and that is why it is so popular. The problem is that alcohol affects perception and can cause a crossing of signals in the brain.

Alcohol can cause the consumer to misinterpret the behaviors of others or misread cues in social situations, that we would otherwise take for granted. Consuming alcohol has the tendency to trigger people's innate self-defence mechanisms, which can cause misinterpretations of other's intentions. It is this misinterpretation of intentions that causes self-defence mechanisms to take over, and aggressive tendencies to come forth. Cannabis, on the other hand, does the opposite.


One study[1] examined the CB1 cannabinoid receptor and how it affected aggression. They found that when a “compound meant to mimic THC” was introduced to mice, it drastically reduced their levels of aggression. When they bred mice that didn't possess CB1 receptors, they found that those mice were naturally more aggressive. So the CB1 receptor, which is what latches on to THC once it enters the bloodstream, plays some role in aggressive behavior across the board.

While studies on the effects of cannabis on aggression are sparse, there have been a plethora of studies conducted on alcohol. There is so much data, that the link between aggression and alcohol have been clearly established. Again, this doesn't mean that everyone who consumes a beer will become a raving lunatic, however, for those prone to aggressive behavior, alcohol has been determined to be a catalyst. One cannot discuss alcohol and aggression without looking at alcohol-related violent crime statistics.

It has been found that as many as 40% of violent offenders[2] were under the effects of alcohol at the time of their crime. When it comes to motivations, alcohol, which acts as a depressant, can increase one's feelings of depression. This can lead to acting out violent crimes, as an act of desperation. When it comes to more personal crimes, like sexual assault or battery, alcohol can have a more immediate and violent effect. The inability to correctly process data and properly interpret interpersonal signals, results in a large number of arrests attributable to alcohol.



While it is often said that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart health, the benefits of consuming cannabis far outweigh the benefits of drinking alcohol. Cannabis has been shown to have more medical benefits than we could list. Right off the bat, alcohol is primarily sugar based, which can have an adverse effect on your blood sugar levels. Excess alcohol consumption has also been linked to cancer, while THC and CBD, the primary cannabinoids in marijuana are known to fight cancer.

Alcohol, besides being unhealthy and a factor in aggressive behavior, can be addictive. Alcoholism not only destroys the body, it destroys families. Those addicted to alcohol know that dependence strains relationships and can undo all the work one put into building a happy and healthy life. Despite the anti-cannabis propaganda that's out there, the truth is that cannabis is not addictive. Besides the need to smoke a joint after a hard days work, cannabis does not result in physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms.

The biggest reason to choose cannabis over alcohol is that alcohol can kill you. That's right, alcohol is responsible for more than 88,000 deaths per year caused by long-term exposure[3] to alcohol. Alcohol causes heart and liver disease as well as a number of secondary conditions that a failing heart and liver can cause. To this day, cannabis remains the safest recreational substance, having resulted in no known deaths.


So if you're heading out for a night on the town and you're looking for fun times in a social environment, you could always have a drink. Odds are it won't kill you and you're gonna have a fun time. The problem is that alcohol is directly linked to aggression, and while you may not autumn into this category, you never know who around you does. Turning to cannabis instead is a safe, healthy and socially acceptable way to have a good time, without the attitude.

External Resources:
  1. CB1 cannabinoid receptor-mediated aggressive behavior - ScienceDirect
  2. Alcohol-Related Crimes: Statistics and Facts - Alcohol Rehab Guide
  3. Alcohol Use and Your Health
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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