Choose Bong Over Beer on International Beer Day (and Beyond)

The holiday crafted (pun-intended) in 2008 known as International Beer Day is a time when many global citizens will visit their local craft breweries and chug a beer … or five. Aug. 3 is now known as International Beer Day, a holiday many folks around the world can’t wait to celebrate. For nearly a century, our federal government has led people to believe that marijuana is so dangerous that it must be kept illegal at all costs.  But I implore you to consider craft cannabis in lieu of Big Alcohol’s products. Here’s my top three reasons why cannabis trumps cocktails.

  1. Death By Alcohol: In 2014, 30,722 people died from alcohol-induced causes in the U.S.  That figure does not include drinking-related accidents or homicides. If those deaths were included, the number would be closer to 90,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, no deaths from marijuana overdoses have been reported, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the health effects of marijuana.

    Truth time. Marijuana is one of – if not the – least toxic drugs, requiring thousands of times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death. This “thousands of times” is theoretical, since there has never been a case of an individual dying from a marijuana overdose. Estimates suggest that you’d have to smoke between several hundred and 1,113 joints in a day to overdose on marijuana, and that ain’t happening.

  2. Cannabis Isn’t As Habit-Forming: Did you know that nearly half of all adults have tried cannabis at least once, making it one of the most widely used illegal drugs yet research suggests that a relatively small percentage of people become addicted? According to reports, alcohol’s addiction potential is significantly greater than that of marijuana.  A study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine noted: “Millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but most are not regular users … [A]lthough [some] marijuana users develop dependence, they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs.”

    In fact, “addiction” may be the wrong word to describe those who regularly consume cannabis. There may be a level of dependence but that does not an addiction make. As far as withdrawal symptoms go, quitting cannabis does not trigger them, though quitting drinking can, as described by Dr. Sherry Yafai in my exclusive interview.

  3. The Big “C”: The U.S. Department of Health lists alcohol as a known human carcinogen.  Research highlighted by the National Cancer Institute suggests that the more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk of developing cancer. Meanwhile, cannabis is not connected to any increased risk of lung cancers or head and neck cancers tied to smoking cigarettes. Alcohol use is associated with cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, lungs, pancreas, liver, and prostate. Marijuana use has not been conclusively associated with any form of cancer. The nation’s top cancer doctors have opined that even a single glass of wine or beer a day can cause problems. The more you drink, the higher the chances of getting cancer.

    Several studies found that marijuana use actually reduced the likelihood of head and neck cancers. Released in 2006, a study conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that marijuana smoking was not associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers found that people who smoked marijuana actually had lower incidences of cancer compared to non-users of the drug.


The next time you think about paying homage to beer, especially on International Beer Day, consider the health consequences.  Despite the fact that cannabis is still widely restricted, prohibited, and stigmatized, scientific study after study shows that it’s far less harmful than alcohol and it may actually prolong your life. Make marijuana your best bud.