There are no two opinions about the repercussions of alcohol and marijuana on an individual’s brain health. While many believe that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, there has been a keen interest among researchers to compare it with other substances due to the legalization of marijuana in several states. A research, conducted by the researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, found that the consumption of alcohol causes more deleterious effects than marijuana. The study results were recently published in the journal Addiction.
The aim of the study was to identify difference in the volume of grey and white matter in an individual’s brain due to alcohol and marijuana, respectively. While grey matter is responsible for the healthy brain functioning, white matter manages the communication between different nerves in the brain. Therefore, both play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy brain.
To determine the above-stated difference, researchers examined the brain images of 853 adults aged 18 to 55 years and 439 teenagers aged 14 to 18 years with a range of alcohol and cannabis use. On analyzing the data, researchers found that alcohol decreased the volume of white and grey brain tissues comparatively more than marijuana. Biologically, any reduction in the volume impairs the overall functioning of the brain. Such a change was not witnessed in those consuming only drugs.
Alcohol addiction can turn lethal
Besides affecting physical and mental health, alcohol addiction causes life-threatening conditions and diseases. Though individuals abusing alcohol may not necessarily be addicted to it, they are definitely at a higher risk of becoming addicted soon. Therefore, people suffering from alcohol addiction need to be treated at the right time to curb the exacerbation of the problem. This also helps in avoiding negative effects on an individual’s health, relationships and quality of life.
One of the best ways to keep harmful conditions like alcohol addiction at bay is adequate awareness about the symptoms. Many a time, people fail to recognize the warning signals of alcohol abuse due to the lack of awareness. One can identify the problem of alcohol abuse when he or she exhibits any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of interest in work
- Feeling depressed
- Ruined relationships
- Preoccupation with drinking
- Feeling restless
- Uncontrollable drinking
- Erratic behavior
- Violent behavior
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Impaired judgment
Consequences of marijuana abuse
Even though the current study has concluded that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, it is nowhere mentioned that marijuana is safe for individuals. Marijuana abuse is a matter of concern as more and more number of individuals are falling in the trap of addiction. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 24 million Americans aged 12 or older in were current users of marijuana in 2016.
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that alters and individual’s perception. However, the level of repercussion of marijuana on a person depends on a number of factors, such as duration of abuse, quantity, etc. Since the consumption of marijuana surges the feeling of happiness and increased appetite by reducing stress and anxiety, it has become popular among people. However, such feelings are temporal in nature.
While all these effects might seem to be positive, these can actually turn out to be dangerous if an individual continues using marijuana over a long term. Some of the common long-term detrimental effects of marijuana abuse on an individual are as follows:
- Social withdrawal
- Poor performance at work/school
- Mental dullness
- Respiratory issues
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Altered sense of time
- Impaired memory and other cognitive skills
Treatment can help
Be it addiction to alcohol, marijuana or any other substance, it is important to seek help from a medical professional to treat the condition correctly and timely. It is necessary to undergo the right treatment plan to alleviate the problem. Generally, a treatment plan designed as per each patient’s requirements. Moreover, it is generally a mix of medications, therapies and self-help groups.
If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol and looking to connect with one of the best alcohol treatment centers in California, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California for help. Call at our 24/7 alcohol treatment helpline 855-980-1715 or chat online with one of our representatives to know about some of the comprehensive alcohol rehab centers in California and other parts of the U.S.