I am using cannabis as an alcohol replacement.

"I find that it makes me less irritable – especially being around my family, dealing with stress from work etc. My question is whether I should be concerned about frequency of use? If I used it several times a week, will that have negative effects on my health / motivation etc?"

I think this is a great question, I too replaced alcohol with cannabis. I can not answer this question from a doctor’s perspective, because I am not one but I know a lot about cannabis.

There is always a debate around alcohol vs. marijuana and which is better or worse for you. Obviously, alcohol is a drug that is completely acceptable within the realm of our society, whereas cannabis still has a stigma surrounding it i.e., you’re a stoner etc.

Let’s start with some basic facts alcohol:

  • 88,000 die every year from alcohol consumption
  • it is known carcinogen
  • it destroys the liver
  • it interacts negatively to other drugs more readily (opiates, etc)
  • damages the heart – stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmia
  • causes inflammation to the pancreas
  • ages the skin (who needs that!!!!)
  • weakens the immune system
  • your ability to process alcohol decreases with age
  • rates of addiction hover at around 15%+

Some possible negative effects with marijuana:

  • possible paranoia and anxiety
  • can irritate the respiratory system -but can also be known to be a bronchodilator
  • can cause hallucinations in large quantities
  • can increase heart rate
  • rate of addiction hovers at around 9%
  • if you ingest cannabis that is not lab tested you may be taking in pesticides or other chemical nasties

No one has ever died from smoking marijuana-ever. Many people never experience negative health consequences from cannabis use. In fact many people see an improvement in the quality of life, BUT this is highly variable. Only you can judge if your overall quality of life is enhanced. Many people find that it reduces stress and is less damaging than alcohol-such as myself. I think you can see for yourself if you are less motivated. To some it is demotivating and I speak to others who become highly motivated.

Here are the questions I ask back to you:

  • Do you experience withdrawal when you don’t have it?
  • Do you feel a loss of control?
  • Do you only hang out with others who smoke?
  • Do you feel you spend too much time getting high?
  • Are you able to cut back easily?

These are common questions that are asked to assess addiction.

I started to replace alcohol as I felt alcohol was detrimental to my system and cannabis worked really well for me. The way I ingest it takes the edge off of stress as well as pain I may feel. I use cannabis on a weekly basis but almost never get high. I use very low levels of THC and high CBD which creates a sense of relaxation and helps with chronic pain issues. If you are very concerned about ingesting too much you may try cutting back or using it in different forms like low dose edibles, low dose tinctures, sprays, etc.

Hope this helps!


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