One of the controversies in public health right now is that surrounding the use of marijuana. While it is true that marijuana is a mind altering substance, it is also true that there are legal substances that also affect the mind. One of those that comes to mind quite easily is alcohol. Alcohol affects judgment, and contributes to deaths every year, but it is perfectly legal (as long as you are over 21), and not considered a public health risk. Before you decide that marijuana should remain illegal, but that alcohol is just fine, consider these 25 enlightening and interesting studies and infographics on alcohol and marijuana.


These studies and infographics look at alcohol, discussing the dangers and the possible benefits of alcohol consumption. You are likely to find, though, that most benefits are derived when you use alcohol in moderation, rather than engaging in binge behaviors.

  1. The Truth About Alcoholism: Because it is legal, many people do not think about alcohol as an addictive drug. However, there are some very harsh realities associated with alcohol. This infographic addresses alcohol, and provides information on drinking, and how to determine if someone is abusing alcohol.
  2. Moderate alcohol intake and lower risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of effects on lipids and haemostatic factors: Moderate intake of alcohol, according to this study from Harvard, can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. Continuous drinking can affect memory: Human and animal studies indicate that continuous drinking for eight weeks can affect the ability to learn for up to 12 weeks after drinking has stopped. Heavy drinking can cause memory problems and even contribute to dementia.
  4. Visualizing Alcohol Use: Consider this infographic about alcohol use. Get an idea of how many people use alcohol, and its effects. Includes information on blood alcohol level, as well as what it takes to begin impairing your behavior.
  5. Alcohol and Injuries: The World Health Organization offers this study on alcohol and injury. It looks at different injuries that result from alcohol use, and looks at relative risk of alcohol.
  6. Alcohol and public health: A look at the public health problems caused by alcohol, and what can be done to slow the public health epidemic related to alcohol.
  7. Alcohol-Induced Depression: Involvement of Serotonin: This study at the Hamamatsu University in Japan looks at the depression induced by alcohol, and posits why alcohol might be a source of depression.
  8. A Jigger of Alcohol, A Dash of Depression, and Bitters: A Suicidal Mix: A look at the overlap between suicide and alcoholism, including a look at the higher rates of successful suicide attempts by those who drink.


Look at the effects of marijuana on the brain and body. Also, consider the studies showing some of the benefits of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Studies and infographics that provide insight into the costs, benefits and risks associated with one of the most popular drugs known to humans.

  1. 15 Things You Should Know About Marijuana: This infographic presents interesting facts about marijuana. It includes number of deaths from other drugs, including alcohol and prescription drugs and compares them to annual marijuana deaths. It also includes information about hemp production in the early days of America.
  2. Marijuana Health Mythology: Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., offers a look at different myths surrounding marijuana, including those related to health and public safety. This piece sites numerous studies about marijuana and health.
  3. Marijuana and Driving: A Review of the Scientific Evidence: This is a round-up of sorts, provided by NORML, citing a number of studies that relate to marijuana and driving. These studies indicate that those using marijuana are not significantly more likely to cause accidents than those who aren’t using marijuana.
  4. Are We Losing Out by Not Legalizing Marijuana?: There is an argument out there that says that we should legalize marijuana for the financial aspects. This infographic offers information on the possible economic benefits of legalized marijuana.
  5. Adverse effects of cannabis: There are still some adverse effects associated with frequent marijuana use. While there are some health dangers associated with marijuana, you have to consider that there are also health issues associated with legal substances, like alcohol and tobacco.
  6. Cannabis, Pain, and Sleep: Lessons from Therapeutic Clinical Trials of Sativex, a Cannabis-Based Medicine: Study looks at the effectiveness of cannabis based medicines on helping those with chronic pain sleep, and found that what’s in marijuana could have benefits.
  7. The Residual Cognitive Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use in College Students: Heavy use of almost any drug can affect cognition, and this study shows that heavy use of marijuana can affect neuropsychology. However, light use didn’t impair subjects as much.
  8. Medical Marijuana Has Merit, Research Shows: WebMD offers a look at a study done by California researchers updating what we know about the uses of medical marijuana to help control pain in a number of situations.
  9. Marijuana Has Little Effect On Driving: Researchers at the University of Iowa recently completed a study that indicates that marijuana has little effect on driving ability.
  10. Study says marijuana no gateway drug: A study from the University of Pittsburgh spanning 12 years suggests that marijuana is not the “gateway drug” that it has been painted as.

Alcohol vs. Marijuana

Take a look at a comparison of alcohol and marijuana. Discover what the professionals have to say when these two popular substances go head to head.

  1. Deadliest Drugs: This infographic looks at drugs, and press reports, in Britain. Using data from 2008, this infographic compares media coverage of drug deaths with the deaths themselves. As you can see, alcohol represented the second-highest amount of deaths, but was rarely reported on. By contrast, marijuana is third from the bottom, but there is greater furor over deaths related to cannabis. So, no matter what you have heard, alcohol causes more deaths than marijuana.
  2. Drugs and Accident Risk in Fatally-Injured Drivers: This risk analysis from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Pathology at Monash University in South Melbourne, Australia, offers a look at the driving risks presented by different drugs. It suggests that drivers on alcohol are a greater risk than those using marijuana.
  3. Comparative Effects of Alcohol and Marijuana on Mood, Memory, and Performance: This study, conducted by Johns Hopkins University, compared the effects of alcohol and marijuana. High doses of each has similar effects on word recall, but alcohol impaired performance on number recognition while marijuana did not. At the very least, this study suggests that marijuana is no worse than alcohol.
  4. Comparing Dangers of Popular Drugs: This infographic offers a look at different dangers associated with drugs. It shows that alcohol ranks much higher than marijuana in terms of dependence, withdrawal, tolerance, reinforcement and intoxication. Alcohol even ranks higher than heroin on withdrawal.
  5. Marijuana vs. Alcohol and Tobacco: This is a great collection of studies related to alcohol and tobacco use. This list kind of makes the argument that marijuana should remain illegal because of its health and safety issues somewhat ridiculous.
  6. Urban Minority Youth: Alcohol and Marijuana Use and Exposure to Unprotected Intercourse: Both alcohol and marijuana can affect whether or not minority teenagers use condoms during intercourse.
  7. Developing Brains: Alcohol Worse Than Marijuana: This looks at two different studies that show that teen brain development is more adversely affected by alcohol than by marijuana.