It would be nice to imagine your children won’t abuse any substances, but also unrealistic. The question is what to warn them against most strongly.

Aaron Carroll asks Alcohol or Marijuana? A Pediatrician Faces the Question.

11 thoughts on “Alcohol or Marijuana?

  1. Matt,
    In my experience it is all about chemistry. My dad never drank alcohol it didn’t agree with him. He was smarter than me. Alcohol has put my life at risk more than anything else I have ever experienced.

    Because it is illegal in the UK, young people have to mix with criminals to buy marijuana. Similar to the USA’s experience of prohibition, it drives it underground. Brewers didn’t have to worry about making something that passed safety laws. Similarly health is not the biggest concern amongst many drug dealers today. It is sold by weight, so some will spray the leaves with anything that will stick to it to make their crop more profitable. So who knows what people are smoking?

    The other issue with marijuana I have is that it can lead to people getting addicted to smoking tobacco products, which we all know is not a good idea.

    In the UK, it is perfectly acceptable, and encouraged in some groups to drink. People are seen as odd or weird, if they don’t join the ‘club’. The expression as ‘Drunk as a lord’ really sums it up for me.

    There is no question about how alcohol can make people violent. I have seen really mild mannered people turn into monsters when drinking. I have never seen anyone get violent while stoned, the opposite in my experience.

    Marijuana use is very common in the UK, especially with young people. I do know people that attribute mental problems to marijuana use. I do know a lot more that are alcoholic.

    So, in my mind. Legalise marijuana. Make it possible to buy high quality marijuana e-cigarettes, to stop them smoking it with tobacco. This would obviously reduce people getting hooked on smoking and nicotine. It would help stop them getting involved with the criminal element and being offered ‘stronger’ drugs too.

    I don’t want my kids to take any drug. But that is their choice. If I had to choose, then a cannabis vapour ecigarette would be mine. But this is not legal. So, whatever they decide to do, I hope they do it with moderation.


  2. Most of the harm done to people using marihuana has been done by people who said that they wanted to ‘protect’ them. Criminalising the users and putting them in jail. Slowly the world realises what is happening. And as Aaron Carrol says it is better to use neither, we realise that is not realistic and never will be.

  3. Drugs such as LSD, cannabis, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote and opium, can produce hallucinations. This is sometimes because they allow the dream process to break through into consciousness with less intervention. If this occurs without warning it can be very disturbing. The very real dangers are that unconscious content, which in ordinary dreaming breaks through a threshold in a regulated way, emerges with less regulation, and without the safety factor of calling it a dream. Fears, paranoid feelings, past traumas, can emerge into the consciousness of an individual who has no skill in handling such forces. Because the propensity of the unconscious is to create images, an area of emotion might emerge as an image such as the devil. Such images and the power they contain, not being integrated in a proper therapeutic setting, may haunt the individual, perhaps for years. Even at a much milder level, elements of the unconscious will emerge and disrupt the persons ability to appraise reality and make judgements. Unacknowledged fears may lead the drug user to rationalise their reasons for avoiding social activity or the world of work.

    Digestion is a very important function not just for our body but also for our mind and spirit. I have seen people become very ill in mind because they have not digested their experience or what they have learnt at school or the lessons and experience of a relationship long gone, or what they have experienced using drugs. And digestion is a Life function. Life in us is often greatly overlooked and our dreams are one way of showing us how we have not surrendered our life experience to that function. See

  4. The question is what to warn them against most strongly.

    That’s the big problem. Educate with love. Stop warning and start educating.

  5. Alcohol is WAY WORSE than marijuana. It has no healing properties whatsoever, makes people do stupid things, and kills the person off.
    Meanwhile, marijuana is more of a minor drug. It may still harm you to some form of degree,but it also has healing properties as well!

  6. It’s not really until you meet a patient and understand their needs that the recreational vs. medical divide becomes apparent. So many Doctors choose to remain unaware to the facts about medical cannabis.

    I imagine a parent holding their child. The child has recently stopped seizing. Before cannabis the child was going to die. Their little body was having as many as 300 seizures per week before cannnabis. Now the parent reads this article by a Pediatrician who fails to even mention the word medical.

    Comparing two recreational drugs while kids are literally dying in states that do not have medical cannabis laws is medieval. Just my humble perspective. Parents get educated!

  7. Cannabis/Hemp/etc. offers so many paradigm-shifting opportunities and benefits while serving as an effective substitute for an array of products (and their attendant manufacturing/etc.) which are causing us all (and our children!) significant issues with ecological sustainability/health.

    Personally, I feel skills and practices such as being lovingly mindful of self and others go a long ways in adjusting the frame on the ‘substance abuse’ picture…

  8. For me personally, I know that alcohol is much more detrimental to my health. Conversely, I can be productive and more sociable using cannabis.

    From the perspective of society in general, almost every law enforcement official that is being honest says that alcohol is way more damaging. Incidents of domestic violence, abuse and rape are more commonly correlated with use of alcohol.

  9. Continued pot prohibition aids criminals

    Letter to the Editor – The Star, Grand Coulee, WA

    I find it very disappointing that we are beginning the third year in which adults over 21 years of age living in Washington state can legally possess and use cannabis (marijuana) products, yet we have NO legal cannabis businesses in the Grand Coulee Dam Area (Electric City, Grand Coulee, Coulee Dam, et cetera) due to local moratoriums.

    Don’t get me wrong, as there are PLENTY of cannabis products available here in our cities and towns … just NONE from legitimate businesses.

    To our local city council members: I am sure that the criminal elements here about certainly do whole heartedly Thank You for Your Support. One can only think that supporting the criminal enterprises must pay off more than allowing legally licensed, law abiding, and tax paying businesses to operate locally would.

    Now, how about some local support for those of us who do not approve of this Gangland Mentality?

    Tom Hawkins

    Grand Coulee