Is Cannabis More Addictive Than Alcohol?

4 min read
Apr 8, 2024 6:13:06 AM

When it comes to substance use, alcohol and marijuana are some of the most notable substances. Both alcohol and cannabis abuse can have serious short and long-term effects on your life, including your physical and mental health, finances and relationships.

But which is more addictive, alcohol or cannabis? That’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog post. Read on to learn more about alcohol and marijuana addiction, the addictiveness of each substance, and the treatment options available.

We’ll also be discussing how our online rehab platform at Rehubs can help you turn over a new leaf and overcome addiction.


Understanding Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol is firmly ingrained in many cultures and societies – and is one of the most commonly used substances around the world. Although moderate alcohol consumption may pose minimal risks for some, excessive alcohol abuse and prolonged use can lead to dependence and addiction.

Binge drinking, defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol within a short period, significantly increases the risk of developing alcohol-related problems.

The more you build a tolerance to alcohol, you more alcohol changes your brain – specifically your brain’s reward and stress systems. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking alcohol or significantly reduce your alcohol intake.

Ultimately, alcohol dependence is characterised by the lack of control over drinking alcohol. Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) underscores the detrimental effects of long-term alcohol abuse on both physical and mental health, including liver disease, cognitive impairment, and mood disorders.

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) outlines the effects of alcohol on your body, including heart issues, liver problems, increased risk of cancer, and many more.


Understanding Cannabis Addiction

Although more and more countries and states are legalising the use of medical marijuana and recreational cannabis, there are still concerns regarding its addictive potential.

Although not everyone who uses marijuana will develop a substance use disorder, research shows that a subset of marijuana users may experience dependence and addiction. A study suggested that people who use marijuana may have around a 10% chance of developing marijuana dependence.

High doses of marijuana or frequent use can lead to the development of a marijuana use disorder. This is characterised by withdrawal symptoms and an inability to control your cannabis use despite negative consequences.

The short-term effects of smoking marijuana, such as impaired memory and coordination, can impact your daily functioning and overall well-being. If you are struggling to control your cannabis use, our team at Rehubs can help you regain control and get your life back.


Which is More Addictive: Cannabis or Alcohol?

Now you understand the ins and outs of both addictions, let’s explore the addictiveness of each. First of all, many factors can determine which is most addictive, making it difficult to determine a specific answer. While both substances carry the potential for addiction, the risk factors associated with each may vary.

The withdrawal symptoms associated with cannabis dependence tend to be milder than alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, addiction manifests differently in each person – what may be manageable for someone else may be challenging for you.

It’s important to note that although cannabis alone may be less addictive than alcohol if you smoke tobacco with cannabis, you may be at risk of developing a nicotine addiction. Nicotine is widely considered more addictive than alcohol.

The nature of each addiction can be different too. Generally speaking, cannabis use can lead to a psychological addiction. Alcohol use, however, can lead to psychological and physical dependence. Whether you have an addiction to alcohol or cannabis, it’s important to seek the right support and work to overcome the problem.


Which is Safer: Cannabis or Alcohol?

First of all, both weed and alcohol can be dangerous and can have adverse health effects, both in the short and long term.

When considering the safety of cannabis versus alcohol, several factors come into play. Although cannabis is often considered safer than alcohol, studies have linked heavy marijuana use to an increased risk of psychosis and exacerbation of underlying mental health conditions.

As well as impaired mental health, some other long-term effects of cannabis use include:

  • The potential for addiction
  • Impaired memory and cognitive function
  • Decreased motivation and productivity
  • Respiratory issues from smoking, such as chronic bronchitis
  • Potential long-term effects on brain development
  • Social withdrawal and relationship problems
  • Financial strain due to continued use and associated costs
  • Legal consequences depending on the jurisdiction


On the other hand, alcohol abuse can lead to a wide range of health issues, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Alcohol-related brain damage
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Weakened immune system
  • Alcohol use disorder/ alcohol dependence


Alcohol consumption has been linked to more than 60 health issues. Ultimately, both substances pose risks, and moderation is key to minimising harm.


Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol or you have issues with substance abuse, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Seeking treatment is the first step towards recovery.

From inpatient rehab programs to outpatient rehabs and support groups, there are various treatment options to choose from.

Effective addiction treatment typically combines medical interventions, therapy, and ongoing support to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment, and finding the right fit may require exploration and persistence.

Many people find online rehab helpful. This can help you to understand the root causes of your addiction, and your addiction triggers, and teach you coping strategies and relapse prevention techniques. Ultimately, rehab and therapy can build your confidence and equip you to live a sober life.


Get Help For Addiction Today With Rehubs

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse or addiction, whether it be alcohol, cannabis, cocaine or ketamine addiction, we can help you turn over a new leaf.

Utilise our online rehab platform today to begin your recovery journey. We can provide you with the support and resources you need to kickstart your new, sober life.

Our team of experienced professionals understands the complexities of addiction and is committed to guiding you towards lasting sobriety.

Whether you’re seeking information, guidance, or immediate assistance, contact our helpline today at 0330 094 5970. Don’t wait to take the first step towards a brighter future – reach out to Rehubs today.

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