Lose the Booze for Many Reasons and Pursue Puffing for Even More


Photo by Dan Skye

According to a study recently published in the scientific journal Addiction, alcohol causes seven forms of cancer, even among people who don’t drink much.

Researcher Jennie Connor, from the University of Otago in New Zealand arrived at this conclusion after studying 10 years of reviews done by the World Cancer Research Fund.

There is enough credible evidence, Connor said, to state conclusively that drinking is a direct cause of cancer, “even though scientists are unsure of the exact biological reasons.”

“Even without complete knowledge of biological mechanisms [of how alcohol causes cancer], the epidemiological evidence can support the judgment that alcohol causes cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast,” the study concluded.

Logically, risk is higher in relation to the amount consumed, but anyone who drinks alcohol is exposed.

“The highest risks are associated with the heaviest drinking but a considerable burden is experienced by drinkers with low to moderate consumption, due to the distribution of drinking in the population,” Connor wrote in the report.

The Guardian reported that Connor’s findings have been endorsed by experts who are calling on governments to beef up their alcohol education campaigns and encourage regular drinkers to take alcohol-free days.

The study also found that people who smoke cigarettes and drink are at even greater risk of developing cancer.

While we’re being scientific, let’s look at another study published this week in Psychopharmacology by scientists in the Netherlands who proved something most of us already know—alcohol is not only more toxic to individuals than weed, it’s more harmful to society.

Look at drunk driving: alcohol impairs driving ability much more than just about any other drug does.

The study, reported by the Washington Post, confirms that people are mean when they’re drunk and mellow when they’re stoned. Alcohol is a factor in roughly 40 percent of violent crimes committed today.

The Dutch study used a group of 20 heavy alcohol users, 21 heavy pot users and 20 controls who didn’t use either drug heavily at all.

Rather than going into all the details of how the researchers measured their subjects’ alcohol or pot threshold for impairment (you can read the report here), suffice it to say that the stoners were cooler in situations where researchers made all three groups complete tests designed to get them riled up.

The researchers then measured aggression, before and after the subjects took the test, by asking them how aggressive they felt on a 100-point scale. For good measure, they even had the pot and alcohol users go through the whole thing again one week later, this time without getting high or drunk, as a kind of separate control.

They found, first of all, that “alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group.” The alcohol users, in other words, acted more aggressive when they were drunk than they did when they were sober. By contrast, the smokers became less aggressive when they were high.

The study from the Netherland adds to an already existing body of research that concludes: “Alcohol facilitates feelings of aggression whereas cannabis diminishes aggressive feelings in heavy alcohol and regular cannabis users, respectively.”

Need we say more?