7 surprising reasons why people are switching from alcohol to weed

alcohol vs weed

As America grapples with evolving recreational habits, a significant shift is taking place:

For the first time ever, daily use of cannabis now surpasses that of alcohol.

A recent study’s analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that nearly 18 million people, aged 12 and older, reported using marijuana daily or nearly daily in 2022.

This surpasses the approximately 15 million who reported daily use of alcohol.

This recent trend is fueled by a collection of compelling reasons, each reflecting the changing attitudes towards alcohol and cannabis use in society.

While this trend is obvious, the question remains:

Is replacing alcohol with weed really a healthier option?

In this article, we’ll explore 7 surprising reasons why people are making the switch from alcohol to weed.

Exploring the rise of weed over wine in the US

Carol Boyd, founding director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health at the University of Michigan believes it’s a complex issue.

“Questioning one’s relationship with alcohol is a very healthy trend,” she stated.

However, she also notes that while moderate alcohol consumption carries health risks, the potential harms of cannabis are not entirely understood.

Drinking just one alcoholic beverage a day can raise blood pressure, trigger irregular heartbeats, and even shrink your brain, according to various studies.

Also troubling is the rise in binge drinking during the pandemic, particularly among women who visited emergency rooms at twice the rate than before.

When it comes to marijuana use, concerns are equally valid.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that using cannabis before age 25 can cause permanent brain damage. A 2024 study also found daily marijuana use raises the risk of stroke by 42% and heart attack by 25%.

However, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, points out that most cardiovascular studies involve participants smoking or vaping marijuana.

He urges against smoking cannabis due to the creation of harmful toxic compounds.

But in general, here are some of the reasons why people started to choose weed over alcohol:

1) Health concerns tied to alcohol

One of the most compelling reasons behind this shift from alcohol to weed is the growing awareness of health issues associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is known to pose significant health risks, including liver disease, heart problems, and an increased risk of various cancers.

On the other hand, cannabis, when used responsibly, does not carry the same level of health risks.

In fact, recent scientific research suggests that cannabis may have several health benefits. These include potential pain relief, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even offering neuroprotective properties.

While it’s crucial to note that cannabis is not without its potential downsides and we should use it responsibly, its perceived lower health risk compared to alcohol is certainly driving people to make the switch.

2) The emerging acceptance of cannabis

Another intriguing factor in this shift is the evolving societal perception of cannabis use.

While cannabis has been stigmatized for decades, recent years have seen a dramatic shift in attitudes.

Legalization efforts across several states and countries, increased scientific research, and broader public dialogue have all contributed to a more accepting view of cannabis.

Does this mean everyone’s view has changed?

Certainly not.

But there’s no denying that the tide is turning.

This growing acceptance has undoubtedly made it easier for individuals to consider switching from alcohol to weed, as they no longer face the same level of social stigma or legal repercussions.

Interestingly, this changing societal landscape has also opened up new avenues for exploring potential health benefits and applications of cannabis in various fields, including wellness and medicine.

3) The desire for a different kind of buzz

Bridging from the societal acceptance, it’s worth noting a more personal aspect that’s encouraging the switch from alcohol to weed – the attraction to a different kind of ‘buzz’.

You see, the psychoactive effects of alcohol and cannabis are distinct in their nature.

Alcohol is known for its depressant qualities, often leading to bouts of excessive euphoria, lowered inhibitions, and in some cases, less desirable outcomes like aggression or severe depression.

On the contrary, cannabis offers a different experience. Many users report feelings of relaxation, enhanced creativity, heightened sensory perception, and even introspection.

Now, this isn’t to say that one is definitively better than the other – it’s largely subjective and dependent on individual preferences.

However, for those seeking a change or perhaps a more introspective and relaxed state, switching from alcohol to weed is an enticing option.

4) Seeking a healthier lifestyle

Believe it or not, this pursuit could be a significant factor in the switch from alcohol to weed.

With the wellness industry booming, many individuals are becoming more conscious of their habits and are making changes in line with healthier living.

Alcohol, with its high-calorie content and associated health risks, is often one of the first things to go when embarking on a wellness journey.

While cannabis isn’t exactly a healthy food, it doesn’t pack the same caloric punch as alcoholic drinks. Plus, as we’ve already discussed, its potential health benefits can be appealing.

So for those making conscious efforts to improve their health and wellness, swapping alcohol for weed could be a step in the right direction.

5) Control over consumption

Another factor that’s prompting people to switch from alcohol to weed is the increased control over consumption.

With cannabis, especially when vaped or ingested, it’s easier to moderate the amount you consume and control the intensity of the effects.

This can be particularly appealing for those who’ve struggled with overconsumption of alcohol.

Here are a few reasons why people might prefer this level of control:

  • Ability to microdose
  • Options for slow onset with edibles
  • Potential for less physical hangover symptoms

These factors together can make cannabis an appealing alternative for those seeking greater control and moderation in their recreational habits.

6) Variety and versatility of cannabis products

We can’t overlook the sheer variety and versatility of cannabis products as a reason for this switch.

I’ve noticed that the cannabis market has blossomed into a diverse landscape of products, offering everything from smokable flower and vape pens to edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

There are even cannabis-infused drinks for those who still want the familiar ritual of sipping a beverage.

This diversity allows individuals to find a product that fits their preferences and lifestyles.

Whether you’re seeking the slow release of an edible or the immediate effects of a vape pen, there’s likely a cannabis product that suits your needs.

7) The potential for self-discovery and personal growth

Finally, the switch from alcohol to weed is related to a desire for self-discovery and personal growth.

Cannabis, particularly strains high in CBD, is known for promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

It can create a space for introspection, allowing users to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

For many, this opportunity to connect with themselves on a deeper level is a powerful motivator to switch from alcohol to weed.

It’s not just about changing a habit, but embarking on a journey towards greater self-understanding and personal development.

Responsible exploration is key

The growing trend towards marijuana over alcohol underscores a critical point:

The importance of personal health management.

Whether choosing a glass of wine or a cannabis gummy, individuals must remain cognizant of potential risks and make informed decisions about their recreational habits.

As we navigate this evolving landscape, education and regulation will remain key to ensuring safety and health for all.

Whether you’re considering this shift or are curious about the changing landscape of substance use, remember to prioritize your health and wellness.

Stay informed, stay safe, and continue to grow on your personal path towards wellness.

Aria Sun

Aria Sun

I'm Aria, living in San Francisco, and I'm your go-to person for all things spirituality. With a love for meditation and a curiosity for life's mysteries, I write about finding balance in the chaos. My goal? To help you find peace in the everyday and connect with your inner self. When I'm not writing, you can find me hiking the trails of Northern California or deep in a yoga session, always seeking new ways to connect with the world around me.

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