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Marijuana vs. Booze: Between Pot and a Hard Place

When Michael Phelps partied at the University of South Carolina last November, he was reportedly slamming beers and acting obnoxious. But it was smoking marijuana out of a bong that got him suspended from swimming and dropped by sponsors. In the forthcoming book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?, authors Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert wonder if our country has it all backwards.

You can read an excerpt from the book, which comes out in September, on Alternet. In it, the authors point out that the Phelps bong photos hit the web on Super Bowl Sunday, as millions of Americans were drinking beers and watching beer commercials on TV — activities that are expected and encouraged.

Marijuana Is Safer looks at the laws governing both substances and attempts to shatter many of the myths associated with marijuana use. When you consider alcoholism and drunk driving, not to mention revenue that legalizing marijuana could bring, do you think our country has it backwards? Which substance do you think is safer?

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kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
I need to add, I have friends who smoke pot at night time but they don't drive around, they just stay home (or have someone else drive them). Then, in the morning, they drive to go to work (the 'high' by morning probably has worn off), and this doesn't matter to me. Just like I have friends who drink at night but get me (the only non-drinker) to drive them home, when they wake up and the 'drunkenness' has worn off in the morning, they should be able to drive. Basically, I'm not a believer of anyone 'using' or 'drinking' before driving. A car is a mighty powerful 'weapon,' btw.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
I need to add, I have friends who smoke pot at night time but they don't drive around, they just stay home (or have someone else drive them). Then, in the morning, they drive to go to work (the 'high' by morning probably has worn off), and this doesn't matter to me. Just like I have friends who drink at night but get me (the only non-drinker) to drive them home, when they wake up and the 'drunkenness' has worn off in the morning, they should be able to drive. Basically, I'm not a believer of anyone 'using' or 'drinking' before driving. A car is a mighty powerful 'weapon,' btw.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
I have to disagree that being high is safer when driving a vehicle. I have no way of knowing that, and I'm not about to take the word of someone who's a pot smoker that it's safer. Believe me there are people who are drunk who really think that as long as they're just lightly buzzed, they're actually more alert than a person without any substance in their body. Ask my brother in law who drank and got high.Yea...I don't believe that as well.There have been cases where either a drunk driver or a 'high' driver crashes and hurts someone badly locally. Therefore, I'm completely against drunk or/and 'high' driver. I don't want the risk, especially when I'm driving my child around.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
I have to disagree that being high is safer when driving a vehicle. I have no way of knowing that, and I'm not about to take the word of someone who's a pot smoker that it's safer. Believe me there are people who are drunk who really think that as long as they're just lightly buzzed, they're actually more alert than a person without any substance in their body. Ask my brother in law who drank and got high. Yea...I don't believe that as well. There have been cases where either a drunk driver or a 'high' driver crashes and hurts someone badly locally. Therefore, I'm completely against drunk or/and 'high' driver. I don't want the risk, especially when I'm driving my child around.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Also, I can't speak from experience, but driving around after you've had a bowl, I'm assuming you are more impared than just "thinking things are funny". Your response time is legnthened, your ability to observe and process things quickly is impared & you are still intoxicated. There are plenty of "pot related accidents" DUI is driving under the influence - it relates to both alcohol and drugs. There is just no way to test how much pot is in your system, that's why you always see blood alcohol numbers, but you never see a number relating to what kinds of drugs were in their system.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Keep in mind that overuse of either is not good for you. But it has been found that one drink a day of red wine, or other drinks are actually GOOD for you. Again, once you have had more than that, it loses it's benefits, but I can't argue the same for marajuana. It has been known to be used for medicinal purposes, but not because it's good for you, but because it is a mild pain releiver.Keep in mind that this is just my opinion. I'm not putting anyone down, this is just how I think and feel about this.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Keep in mind that overuse of either is not good for you. But it has been found that one drink a day of red wine, or other drinks are actually GOOD for you. Again, once you have had more than that, it loses it's benefits, but I can't argue the same for marajuana. It has been known to be used for medicinal purposes, but not because it's good for you, but because it is a mild pain releiver. Keep in mind that this is just my opinion. I'm not putting anyone down, this is just how I think and feel about this.
TammyO TammyO 6 years
Pot isn't safe either, one joint can equal 20 cigs when it comes to the damage they can do to the lungs. That's why pot smokers tend to cough so dramatically when they inhale!The one time I smoked pot it affected me pretty bad too, rapid heart rate and sleeplessness. I felt AWFUL and will never do it again.
TammyO TammyO 6 years
Pot isn't safe either, one joint can equal 20 cigs when it comes to the damage they can do to the lungs. That's why pot smokers tend to cough so dramatically when they inhale! The one time I smoked pot it affected me pretty bad too, rapid heart rate and sleeplessness. I felt AWFUL and will never do it again.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
I understand the unfair criminalization of pot and it's users, but when comparing the two, why is it the occasional toke in comparison to drinking yourself into a coma? Substance abuse and irresponsible use of either is unacceptable.
Chrstne Chrstne 6 years
It's unsafe to drive while intoxicated, but I would take a guess and say that if you're high, you'll mostly be cruising, either extremely relaxed or thinking everything is funny, and looking for some food or something cool to do. If you're drinking and driving, you may end up killing someone, and just doing stupid things because you can, and just don't care. Pot is safer. I would MUCH rather have someone smoke pot than go out and get plastered and kill themselves. You don't see marijuana related deaths. You don't see marijuana related accidents. You do see that with alcohol and then some. If we legalized pot, how many less teenagers would die? A lot, because alcohol contributes to many deaths. People will still drink, but it will probably be less. Of course, legalizing pot is not to say you should smoke it at school or in a museum or anything educational. Perhaps not even in public at all. But legalizing it will be good for us. You can tax it, and then we might be able to get out of debt.This won't happen while Obama is in office. I just don't see him doing anything particularly amazing in any way. Especially this. The old people and the conservatives won't let it happen.
Chrstne Chrstne 6 years
It's unsafe to drive while intoxicated, but I would take a guess and say that if you're high, you'll mostly be cruising, either extremely relaxed or thinking everything is funny, and looking for some food or something cool to do. If you're drinking and driving, you may end up killing someone, and just doing stupid things because you can, and just don't care. Pot is safer. I would MUCH rather have someone smoke pot than go out and get plastered and kill themselves. You don't see marijuana related deaths. You don't see marijuana related accidents. You do see that with alcohol and then some. If we legalized pot, how many less teenagers would die? A lot, because alcohol contributes to many deaths. People will still drink, but it will probably be less. Of course, legalizing pot is not to say you should smoke it at school or in a museum or anything educational. Perhaps not even in public at all. But legalizing it will be good for us. You can tax it, and then we might be able to get out of debt. This won't happen while Obama is in office. I just don't see him doing anything particularly amazing in any way. Especially this. The old people and the conservatives won't let it happen.
lemamike lemamike 6 years
Both are dangerous when driving of course. But, no one that I know of has overdosed on marijuana, had to have their stomach pumped or had "marijuana poisoning." My boyfriend will soon have his masters degree in mechanical engineering and is on to get his MBA. He doesnt smoke all day everyday but enjoys smoking and I really have no problem with it. I'm sure marijuana can have some effects on the brain but it doesnt cause people to black out the way alcohol does. It's scary to think one can lose hours of the night because they are blacked out and wake up in the morning not knowing what happened. Doesnt really happen from pot.
lemamike lemamike 6 years
Both are dangerous when driving of course.But, no one that I know of has overdosed on marijuana, had to have their stomach pumped or had "marijuana poisoning." My boyfriend will soon have his masters degree in mechanical engineering and is on to get his MBA. He doesnt smoke all day everyday but enjoys smoking and I really have no problem with it.I'm sure marijuana can have some effects on the brain but it doesnt cause people to black out the way alcohol does. It's scary to think one can lose hours of the night because they are blacked out and wake up in the morning not knowing what happened. Doesnt really happen from pot.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
I have to agree that when it comes to safe driving, both should continue to be illegal. You are intoxicated regardless of the substance you have used, it will just be difficult to "gauge" how high someone is when driving.As far as the substances, both have physical consequences. I have spoken before about my dislike of pot. It has been found to kill brain cells, inhibit ambition, cognition, and be more potent to your lungs than cigarettes when used regularly. Alcohol leads to cirocis (SP) of the liver when used in excess. I think that we will probably see pot legalized, but I'm afraid people will see it as a "green light" to use it to excess.I have found that there are far more people that think it's "ok" to be stoned all the time, than are okay with being drunk all the time. They are both dangerous.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
I have to agree that when it comes to safe driving, both should continue to be illegal. You are intoxicated regardless of the substance you have used, it will just be difficult to "gauge" how high someone is when driving. As far as the substances, both have physical consequences. I have spoken before about my dislike of pot. It has been found to kill brain cells, inhibit ambition, cognition, and be more potent to your lungs than cigarettes when used regularly. Alcohol leads to cirocis (SP) of the liver when used in excess. I think that we will probably see pot legalized, but I'm afraid people will see it as a "green light" to use it to excess. I have found that there are far more people that think it's "ok" to be stoned all the time, than are okay with being drunk all the time. They are both dangerous.
janneth janneth 6 years
It will be legalized during the Obama administration time. They desperately need that revenue.
janneth janneth 6 years
It will be legalized during the Obama administration time. They desperately need that revenue.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 6 years
*(if) their high
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 6 years
*(if) their high
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 6 years
Well just like responsible drinkers its not responsible marijuana smokers/eaters that give marijuana a bad name. It's the pot heads that can't seem to keep it out of their hands and sit around in a dazed state of mind. Not to mention the aroma that collects on their clothes from their smoke fests. Don't get trapped on a train car with that eeww! I agree though that statistically marijuana use has a safer end result and at least a pot head isn't going to throw up all over your car is their high. They'll just sit there smile and say their hungry.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 6 years
Well just like responsible drinkers its not responsible marijuana smokers/eaters that give marijuana a bad name. It's the pot heads that can't seem to keep it out of their hands and sit around in a dazed state of mind. Not to mention the aroma that collects on their clothes from their smoke fests. Don't get trapped on a train car with that eeww! I agree though that statistically marijuana use has a safer end result and at least a pot head isn't going to throw up all over your car is their high. They'll just sit there smile and say their hungry.
juicebox07 juicebox07 6 years
I've always thought that smoking weed was safer than alcohol.
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