Marijuana vs Alcohol Statistics

27 Horrific Marijuana vs Alcohol Statistics [2024 Update]

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Alcohol and marijuana have long been considered villains of similar nature with a wide range of detriments and few rare benefits. Many experts draw up the same debate on this matter repeatedly — what is more harmful, alcohol or marijuana?

However, to find the answer to this question, we need to delve deeper and examine some marijuana vs alcohol statistics to draw our conclusion.

That’s what you’re going to read today. We’ll present both sides of the story so that you can decide for yourself.

Let’s begin!

Horrendous Marijuana vs Alcohol Facts (Editor’s Choice)

  • 43% of people would choose alcohol, while 57% would select marijuana if only one of the two would be legal.
  • 70% of people who don’t drink alcohol would choose to make marijuana legal.
  • 88,000 alcohol-related deaths are happening every year.
  • Alcohol sales dropped by at least 15% in states where medical marijuana is legal.
  • 68% of students agree that driving under marijuana influence is dangerous, while 88% say so for alcohol.
  • Marijuana crime rates saw a decrease from 5.6% to 12.5% in marijuana legalized states.
  • People believe alcohol is 25% more dangerous than marijuana
  • 67.4% are more likely to choose alcohol for relaxation after work than marijuana.

Marijuana vs Alcohol Statistics

Ever since introducing new studies about marijuana’s medicinal use, more and more states are emerging to legalize its consumption.

However, marijuana remains illegal in all federal enclaves, with only four US states prohibiting its widespread use. As for consuming alcohol, you only need to turn 21, and you can drink freely in all 50 states.

That’s the primary difference between weed and alcohol.

Take a look at what statistics have to say about marijuana and alcohol consumption:

1. 43% of people would choose alcohol, while 57% would select marijuana if only one of the two would be legal.

(American Addiction Center)

Now here’s an interesting stat. If only one of these two is made legal, about four in ten people will choose alcohol, while six in ten would opt for marijuana. These alcohol vs marijuana statistics show us that people prefer marijuana over alcohol.

2. At least 0.05% of alcohol in the blood increases your risk of getting involved in an accident by 575%.

(Business Insider)

Stoner vs alcoholic – Who is more likely to meet an accident? A study has confirmed that drunk drivers have a significantly higher chance of being involved in a car crash than those who consumed marijuana.

Compared to alcohol, a detectable amount of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) in the blood does not increase the risk.

Looking at the marijuana accident vs alcohol statistics, we can quickly conclude which substance can increase the risk of an accident when consumed. Still, this does not warrant consuming cannabis before or while driving.

3. A staggering 70% of people who do not drink alcohol would choose to make marijuana legal.

(American Addiction Center)

The same survey conducted on thousands of individuals reveals intriguing alcohol vs marijuana stats as people are more inclined toward marijuana than alcohol.

Not only do 70% of non-alcoholic drinkers choose to make marijuana legal, but 56% of those who consume alcohol would also decide to make marijuana legal.

4. 10% of alcoholics who used marijuana were 55% less likely to develop cirrhosis.

(Health MJ)

A study involving 320,000 individuals with a long history of alcohol abuse revealed an exciting result. 10% of the polled alcoholics agree they used cannabis, and the majority of this number (55%) was found to have a lesser risk of developing cirrhosis. Additionally, 45% are less likely to have an alcoholic fatty liver.

While researchers have not yet uncovered the specific component of marijuana that helps reduce the risk of liver illnesses, the above finding is a significant addition to the essential medical marijuana statistics.

5. There are 88,000 alcohol deaths per year.


It’s widely known that consuming alcohol is not directly life-threatening. However, if people consume more than they can carry, it can become fatal.

The CDC reports that about 88,000 alcohol-related deaths happen every year — a devastating and worrying number as we compare alcohol deaths vs marijuana deaths statistics.

6. There is no correlation between deaths caused by marijuana.

(New Health Advisor)

The life expectancy of users and non-users remains similar, even after 10 to 15 years.

Studies show no direct correlation as these marijuana death statistics indicate that weed itself cannot kill people. However, it does lead to specific side-effects that can render the user’s capability, which, in turn, may lead to tragic deaths.

7. Alcohol sales dropped by at least 15% in states where medical marijuana is legal.


The above stat would have varying impacts on weed vs alcohol statistics. As the alcoholic beverage market will likely experience tremendous losses, the medical marijuana sector would potentially benefit from it. Cannabis industry statistics estimate sales from legal marijuana to reach $22 billion by 2022.

8. Almost 40% of offenses ending in jail are committed by a drunk person.

(International High Life)

Marijuana vs alcohol crime statistics suggests a person who consumes alcohol is more likely to commit crime than someone who uses marijuana.

Aside from drink-related offenses, such as drunk driving, more violent crimes are prevalent in communities where high drinking levels are observed.

On the other hand, there was no apparent connection between the increase in crimes and marijuana use. Violent offenses related to marijuana have declined, especially in states that have legalized the weed.

9. Marijuana vs alcohol driving statistics among students unveil 68% agree that driving under marijuana influence is dangerous while 88% say so for alcohol.

(Just Think Twice)

The danger when driving under the influence of marijuana has been made visible in several driving high statistics.

However, compared with driving under the influence of alcohol, the figures for the former are relatively lower. Regardless of the numbers, driving under the influence of any of these substances poses a danger, hence not advisable.

Alcohol Overdose Statistics

10. Men account for 76% of all alcohol poisoning-related deaths.


Alcoholism statistics show that alcoholism is the third major preventable cause of premature deaths in the US. Yet, as we have stated earlier, about 88,000 people die per year due to alcohol overdose.

Most of these people are men, who account for 76% of all deaths caused by alcohol. Women take up 24% or roughly one quarter.

11. Drunk drivers account for 28% of all traffic-related deaths.


According to these drunk driving statistics, around 29 people die every day in vehicle crashes involving intoxicated individuals. Shockingly, that’s one alcohol-related traffic death per 50 minutes!

12. 34% of all middle-aged adults suffer from alcohol poisoning.


The highest number of alcohol poisoning deaths occur in adults between the ages of 45 and 54. Working-class people are at a higher risk, with 76% of all alcohol overdose deaths occurring in adults between 35 and 64 years of age.

13. The most common long-term effects of alcohol are high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, and heart-related diseases.

(Drug-Free World)

While alcoholism is the most dangerous long-term effect, research shows that the most common problems for people who abuse alcohol are high blood pressure, increased chances of strokes, and liver disease.

Marijuana Overdose Statistics

14. 51% of 18 to 25-year-olds have smoked marijuana in their lifetime.

(Drug Abuse)

Reports show us that half of all adolescent individuals have smoked marijuana at some point in their lifetime. Furthermore, at least a third of all 18 to 25-year-olds have smoked marijuana in the past year.

According to addiction statistics, 1 in 10 Americans over 12 is addicted either to drugs or alcohol. That brings the total of addicts to 23.5 million in the US alone.

15. First-time marijuana users can experience coma or respiratory failure.

(Drug Rehab)

There are many reasons for using marijuana, such as medicinal purposes, or as people often do so, for leisure and relaxing activities.

However, a lack of knowledge about the chances of a toxic overdose can be damaging. Namely, the most significant risk factor to consider when consuming marijuana is the risk of respiratory failure.

16. Marijuana crime rates saw a decrease from 5.6% to 12.5% in marijuana legalized states.

(Economic Journal)

A study on crime rates found that states with legalized marijuana law saw a substantial decrease in violent crimes.

Marijuana legalization was assumed to reduce crime rates, and it did so, albeit in some states. However, other states such as Colorado and Washington saw a little-to-no change in violent crime rates.

17. The most common long-term effects of marijuana are anxiety, panic attacks, low blood pressure, and intense paranoia.

(Drug Rehab)

Marijuana is a mind-altering drug, and using too much of it can hurt the human body. While there aren’t many deadly incidents involving marijuana overdose, long-term effects include anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia, leading to irrational and suicidal behavior.

Marijuana vs Alcohol Statistics

What Does More Damage: Weed or Alcohol?

With all of these facts and statistics considered, the age-old question remains — alcohol or marijuana; which is worse?

While there is no definitive answer, and it’s a matter of subjectivity and preference, we’ll try to answer it with the facts and stats below.

If there’s something this marijuana vs alcohol statistics consistently show us, both can be harmful or beneficial. Moderate consumption of alcohol has been proven to be good for the human body. Marijuana found its way into medicine and is used for healing purposes.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at people’s preferences and other important marijuana vs alcohol facts:

18. People believe alcohol is 25% more dangerous than marijuana.

(American Addiction Center)

A survey conducted on thousands of individuals who didn’t smoke marijuana or ingest it in any way believes that alcohol is way more dangerous than weed.

19. Binge-drinking can kill a person five minutes after alcohol exposure.

(Health MJ)

Is CBD healthier than alcohol? This remains one of the highly debatable topics of today as there are varying arguments around it.

Ruben Baler of the National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that marijuana has a subtler impact than alcohol. While binge drinking could lead to death five minutes after exposure to the liquor, this will not happen with weeds.

However, one of the particular facts about marijuana vs alcohol is that neither of the two substances is optimal for long-term wellness.

20. 50% of binge drinkers admit blacking out and not remembering events from the night before.


Alcohol and memory loss go hand-in-hand, and this stat shows us precisely that. Half of all binge drinkers report they blacked out and can’t remember anything they did before it.

Heavy drinking can impair a person’s ability to create new memories. If this continues for prolonged periods, people may experience more severe memory loss, which tells us the effects of alcohol on the brain.

21. Individuals who smoke marijuana have a greater risk of memory loss and learning abilities later in life.


Controversy remains between marijuana and memory loss, or learning impairment percentages, as research is yet to produce concrete results. However, it is proven that marijuana increases the risk of memory loss and learning problems later in life.

22. 67.4% are more likely to choose alcohol for relaxation after work than marijuana.

(American Addiction Center)

When people were asked about the preferred choice of a substance for tension relief and leisure activities, most responded with the alcohol option compared to marijuana. Almost two-thirds stated that they would rather opt for alcohol when they finish working instead of marijuana.

23. Over 3.3 million women are risking exposure of their developing babies to alcohol.


Alcohol can have adverse effects on pregnancy, mainly if women don’t protect themselves.

CDC reports that women between 15 and 44 years of age risk exposure to their developing babies because of being sexually active, drinking, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy.

24. Using marijuana during pregnancy can cause low birth weight in babies.


Marijuana can have adverse effects on pregnancy, just as much as alcohol can. It’s widely known that marijuana is the most common illegal drug that is used during pregnancy. Studies indicate there may be a direct link to babies being born with lower weight than regular and marijuana use during pregnancy.

25. People are more likely to be driving under the influence of marijuana rather than alcohol.

(American Addiction Center)

Six in ten respondents are willing to drive and carry on normal activities under the influence of weed. Field sobriety tests detect traces of marijuana much harder, and perhaps this might be the reason why people are more inclined to smoke weed rather than drink before driving.

26. More than 14% of college students between 18 and 24 years of age are sexual assault or date rape victims by intoxicated individuals.

(College Drinking)

These are alarming alcohol crime rates, as about 97,000 students are subjected to alcohol-related sexual assaults. Researchers estimate this number to be a yearly figure, with many students having academic problems and difficulties, such as missing classes or failing at majors.

27. Between 28% and 43% of violent injuries are alcohol-related.

(, PubMed)

The seemingly endless debate on alcohol and marijuana covers various aspects, including which of the two substances causes more violence. Looking at different marijuana vs alcohol violence statistics would shed some light on this. 

For instance, the American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates that between 28% and 43% of violent injuries reported are alcohol-related.

Meanwhile, a different study found that lower rates of partner violence were observed in couples who used marijuana, particularly in the first nine years of marriage.

If you use those findings as supporting data, you can quickly identify which could influence more violence.


Even though alcohol and marijuana are dubbed as sins, most people on this planet consume them out of boredom, fun, during leisure activities, and when celebrating.

We provided some exciting and shocking marijuana vs alcohol facts and statistics you should be aware of. These statistics will continue to surprise us as these industries grow, especially as marijuana legalization proceeds worldwide.

Whichever you choose to indulge your senses in, make sure to consume adequate amounts.


Unfortunately, there’s no definite resource yet that could provide a clear answer to this. Perhaps the safest assumption one can have is the widely spread harm that is incorrectly attributed to the use of marijuana. Another thing is the propagandists’ attribution of the term marijuana to various crimes, accrediting those offenses solely to cannabis use.

Many people who have alcohol dependence have experienced some sort of memory loss or slow way of thinking. If you’re wondering, “does alcohol affect intelligence,” it is proven that alcohol has a profound effect on the complex structures of the human brain.

Alcohol blocks the chemical signals between brain cells, which leads to common intoxication symptoms. This means that if heavier drinking continues for extended periods, the brain will adapt to these blocked signals and will respond more dramatically, including slurred speech, impulsive behavior, or poor memory.

These are the long-term effects of alcohol on the body or, more specifically, the brain.

Marijuana is a widely known substance that has mind-altering effects. The main ingredient in marijuana is THC, and it’s responsible for stimulating the brain to have pleasures like sex or food. This, in turn, unleashes the dopamine chemical, giving you a satisfactory, relaxed, and euphoric feeling. It’s an addictive drug and may be harmful to the human body and mind.

The answer to this question depends mostly on risk measurement. In terms of mortality rates – yes, marijuana is safer than alcohol. We have shown you a couple of horrifying statistics on alcohol-related deaths per year vs marijuana-related deaths and can safely conclude that marijuana is much safer than alcohol.

However, don’t take this statement blindly. Marijuana also tends to be harmful to the human body, especially if used for extended periods.

Again, this type of question cannot have a definitive answer. Scientists are yet to find out what are the exact side effects of marijuana. This drug has been illegal for so many decades, and one has to wonder why it was illegal all this time.

But as displayed in many marijuana vs alcohol statistics, marijuana has the lowest dependency risk of all other heavy and harmful drugs and substances, including nicotine, heroin, cocaine, and alcohol.