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Canadian Study Says Cannabis Worse Than Alcohol

In a big debate, there will always be information out there to support both sides. This doesn’t mean the quality of information will be the same, but it does mean there will be a represented argument. When it comes to the age at which people should be allowed to use cannabis without risking health concerns later in life, a recent Canadian study was done assessing the different starting ages for using cannabis. In so doing, it raises the question, is cannabis worse than alcohol?

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When it comes to the use of controlled substances, one of the biggest regulatory issues is the minimum age at which a substance can be used, and this is not a globally agreed on number for any substance. Take alcohol, for example. Of all the controlled substances, there is probably no other through history that has caused as much overall damage, both to personal lives and finances, as well as destruction to others through violence and accidents.

Pretty much every country of the world has a drinking age to separate those allowed to partake, from those who cannot. In the US it’s 21 years of age, a number thought way too high by those who don’t see a reason why a person deemed capable of voting for elected representatives, and killing people in war, can’t also choose to take a drink. In most other parts of the world the age is closer to 18. So how does this compare to cannabis, and is cannabis worse than alcohol?

recreational cannabis

Is cannabis at 19 too young?

As it happens, a recent study was done to assess the risk component of starting cannabis use at different ages. The reason for the study was the lack of information to back up claims and concerns by different groups. In Canada, after legalization, the government wanted to institute a legal use age of 18 for non-medical users. This would go in line with several Canadian provinces’ age for drinking as well, though some are set at 19. This was argued by the medical community (or, parts of it) which wanted an older age of 21-25, citing possible issues with cognitive development. Public consultations to find an agreement led to most provinces tacking on an extra year to make the legal age 19, while a couple retained the age of 18.

To make it perfectly clear, this decision means that Canada is essentially making the statement that alcohol is not more dangerous than cannabis. Which is rather backwards when considering the overall toll that alcohol takes, especially when compared to a medicinal herb that has never caused a death on its own.

In order to find a way to assess how beginning marijuana use at different ages effects people later in life, a study was conducted through BMC Public Health, which looked at surveys already taken, and self-reporting questionnaires to establish education, cigarette smoking, and health (both physical and mental) later in life, for different ages of cannabis implementation. The four different age groups being focused on for implementation of cannabis use were: less than 18, 18, 19-20, 21-24.

alcohol consumption

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