A majority of Americans think alcohol consumption is bad for society. How about Cannabis?
According to a recent Gallup poll, 49 percent of Americans think cannabis use affects society in a positive way.
The rise of the sober-curious movement is one of the reasons why the public is less fond of drinking. The concept of sober social lifestyles that epitomize health over hedonism has been championed by celebrities such as Selena Gomez.
Some consumers are chasing sobriety in its entirety, while others are becoming "Cali-sober", meaning they cut out alcohol but still consume other substances. Does smoking weed have the same effect as drinking liquor? The substances affect the body and mind.
Your brain on alcohol vs your brain on Cannabis
The body is affected by alcohol consumption quickly. It can reach the brain in about five minutes after being absorbed through the lining of the stomach. The effects kick in within the first 10 to 15 minutes. Changes in the electrical activity of the brain can be seen as BAC increases.
The brain releases dopamine during the early stages of drinking. The chemical surge can provide temporary relief from negative emotions and can make you feel more confident.
Drunkenness can cause a combination of blurred vision, delayed judgment, lack of coordination, emotional instability, and high excitability. Alcohol users can go from excitement to confusion when the BAC goes up. Long-term alcohol consumption can affect the brain in ways that are not always obvious. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, as individuals continue to have alcoholic beverages over time, their brains may change.
Now your brain on Cannabis
Smoking cannabis is one of the most common ways to get the drug. After inhaled through the lungs, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis can reach high blood concentration.
A 2001 study found that an increase in cerebral blood flow in the anterior brain regions is critical for semantic memory. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that is involved in memory formation and may be affected by cannabis use. Marijuana users report feelings of happiness, confusion, relaxation, impulsiveness and hunger, similar to drinkers of alcohol.
A phenomenon where pot users have increased appetites and cravings while high is called themunchies. Food can smell and taste more intense when cannabis is present. Dopamine and ghrelin are hormones that make eating more enjoyable.
Some people can build a tolerance to cannabis, which is seen as a non habit forming drug. Cannabis use disorder is caused by users who are unable to stop using cannabis due to negative impact on their life or health.
Is it possible to mix weed and alcohol? Does crossfading affect your body? Is it possible to cut from the same cloth?
Dopamine is the same brain chemical as pleasure from a few glasses of wine or a blunt. The amygdala is a key part of the brain that is involved in emotions and rewards. It is possible for the brain to repeat a drinking behavior in hopes of getting the same result. The increase in dopamine in the brain caused by the THC in cannabis motivates people to use it. The idea that users have developed an attachment or addiction to the way their substance of choice makes them feel is the basis of both alcoholism and CUD.
Balance and walking patterns can be disrupted by chronic or excessive alcohol consumption. The cerebellum is a part of the brain that is responsible for coordination. Cannabis use can affect coordination and motor skills because it can interfere with the function of certain parts of the brain.
Studies show that long-term cannabis use can cause a loss of volume in the cerebellum. couchlock is a deep sedative state which usually includes heavy-feeling limbs and tiredness, and is caused by some strains of cannabis. Cannabis users and alcohol drinkers can both experience tiredness from their substances.
The author of Hope and Healing: The Case for Cannabis says that using cannabis can make you sluggish. If you use a product that is more of an Indica-dominant, it will make you somnolent. It will cause you to sleep. It is not that you are going to be disorganized. You're going to be slow.
There is a bottom line.
Some alcohol enthusiasts tout the benefits of drinking, such as the reduced risk of heart disease for infrequent drinkers, and the benefits of red wine, which have antioxidant properties. Cannabis has a number of health and medical benefits, including reducing pain, improving sexual libido, treating inflammation, and acting as a neuroprotectant.
The road to health is complex when it comes to drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. Despite being more stigmatized than the other, both substances have benefits and pitfalls when it comes to consumption.
Montpelier cannabis shop holding monthly expungement clinics
The state of Vermont
Some people are still trying to clear their records despite the state dropping many cannabis-related criminal convictions in 2011.
The expungement clinics hosted by Gram Central are in line with their social justice mission. It can be life-changing to have a criminal conviction. Kitchen wants to help if there is any chance of getting people a fresh start.
Sam Dworkin is a private attorney. Dworkin said that a conviction on a person's record could affect how they view themselves in the community. In Vermont, possession of a small amount of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense.
A criminal conviction can prevent people from driving, getting a job, or receiving government assistance. Minor offenses and some felonies can be expunged in order to give people a fresh start. Expungement is possible after a short time of good behavior.
The expungement process can be difficult once it's available. Kitchen wanted to increase the idea of social justice. She says removing the stigma around cannabis convictions is important to well-being.
These clinics help people through the process of expungement without having to pay a fee. People can get help clearing their records of things other than cannabis convictions.
Kitchen said that it was more equitable to allow anyone with a conviction to have it expunged.
There are other opportunities after the December expungement clinic. They will host them on the second Tuesday of the month.
Dworkin said that this is not a one-time thing. I encourage them to reach out if they have charges that could be expunged or sealed.
Dworkin says Vermont Law Help's website can be helpful for expungement information if you don't want to wait for the next clinic.