It’s tough to compare the cost of alcohol to the cost of weed, because as we all know, some people can chug three six-packs and feel fine, but be under the table after two puffs of a joint, and vice versa. That said, estimates put the average amount Kenyans spend Ksh. 480 billion($5000M) per year on the higher (or as we shamefully admit, more realistic) end.
On the flip side, the average legal marijuana user spends Ksh. 50,000 a year on weed, according to reports. But a colleague of mine who’s a self-proclaimed midnight smoker claims she spends closer to Ksh. 100,000 on weed annually. So evidently, whether you save money replacing booze with weed is really a matter of your personal spending habits and more importantly, your tolerance.
We’re all familiar with the health risks associated with drinking too much: Shorter life expectancy; liver disease; nerve damage; ulcers; and decreased cognitive function are chief among them. These risks culminate in a shocking number of deaths every year: According to international data, excessive drinking led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost in the U.S. between 2006 to 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years.
Marijuana, meanwhile, isn’t directly killing anyone… as far as we know. To this day, the international drug sheets for marijuana reports that no deaths from marijuana overdoses have ever been recorded. That said, there are accidental deaths involving marijuana users who seemingly became out of touch with reality and took reckless actions e.g., a report from 2015 detailed the case of a 19-year-old male who jumped off a balcony after consuming multiple servings of a marijuana cookie.
That’s not to say the only risk of smoking pot is getting too high to know what’s what. One study notes that, compared to unexposed controls, adults who smoked marijuana regularly during adolescence have impaired neural connectivity in specific brain regions, which may explain an association between frequent use of marijuana from adolescence into adulthood and significant declines in IQ. There is evidence, too, that smoking marijuana on a regular basis is associated with lung cancer, although the risk is far lower than that of smoking tobacco.
It also should be noted that the marijuana industry, being a more recent development, isn’t as heavily regulated like the alcohol industry, which can pose other dangers. “Product labels and safety concerns like impurities are virtually non-existent in alcohol, while cannabis still has pesticides and mold due to that lack of oversight. This hasn’t become a significant health issue yet, however; overall, weed appears to be far less dangerous than alcohol.