As cannabis and cannabis products become more accessible thanks to a wave of drug reform that has swept through several territories, people are increasingly using marijuana as an alternative to other products. Due to recent advances in cannabis technology, specifically nano-emulsification, the market has seen an uptick in the supply of smooth, high-quality, cannabis-infused drinks.
Plenty of people are now using cannabis-infused beverages as an alternative to alcohol, with many of them preferring a calm relaxing drink that won’t leave them feeling hangover the next day. Dubbed “California sober,” exchanging alcoholic beverages for cannabis drinks is gaining popularity. Melissa Egan, 45, says alcohol used to exacerbate her perimenopause symptoms, heightening her nausea, dizziness, insomnia, night sweats, and hot flashes. Now that she drinks cannabis beverages instead, her perimenopause symptoms have become less severe, especially nausea and insomnia, and she doesn’t have to recover for a day or so after drinking.
But is cannabis actually a better alternative to alcohol? Is it better for a person’s health to indulge in cannabis rather than alcohol? According to industry experts, cannabis is indeed safer than alcohol, but that doesn’t mean that it is 100% risk free. Rebecca Jesseman, director of policy at the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), says that it is difficult to conclusively state that cannabis is safer than alcohol because there isn’t a lot of research on cannabis. On the other hand, we have decades of research on alcohol use and how it affects the human body.
Additionally, she says, the two products are so different that comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. Both substances present health risks and can lead to dependence if used in an unhealthy manner. Individually, the degree of safety will depend on how often you consume cannabis as well as the strains consumed and the consumption method. Fortunately, drinking is inherently safer than smoking. At the end of the day, however, alcohol is far more dangerous than cannabis, says Tim Stockwell, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research.
Alcohol’s harms are much more prevalent and costly, with the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms Project, co-led by Stockwell, finding that alcohol causes 15 times as many deaths and hospitalizations compared to cannabis among women. Both cannabis and alcohol will leave a user physically and mentally impaired, with consuming too much cannabis in one sitting leaving you anxious and paranoid while overindulging in alcohol makes you irritable or aggressive. However, while too much alcohol can cause death via alcohol poisoning, you cannot overdose on cannabis. Stockwell concedes that more research on the effects of cannabis is needed, although several longitudinal studies of regular users haven’t revealed a major problem yet.
With the entry of companies such as BevCanna Enterprises Inc. (CSE: BEV) (OTCQB: BVNNF) (FSE: 7BC) into the cannabis drinks space, consumers now have plenty of options to choose from.
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