alcohol and marijuana in America
alcohol and marijuana in America

Americans' Perception of Weed and Booze - It's Complicated

How do Americans reconcile that alcohol is legal and okay, but cannabis is a bad drug?

Posted by:
BehindTheWaves on Thursday Sep 3, 2020

America’s Perception of Weed and Booze; It’s Complicated

american weed and booze

In the United States of America, the views of different people regarding cannabis are a little bit spread across the board in terms of acceptance and recognition. As it is in the United States of America, many regions and parts of the world are gradually accepting the use of marijuana both for medical and recreational use. As many as 11 states in the USA have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational use and as many as 33 states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. These paint a picture of how far the USA has come and how far we still are from full acceptance across the board.

These statistics on the legality of cannabis in various states paint a picture but they do not tell the whole story of how the people view cannabis. One other common substance that has always raised eyebrows is booze which unlike marijuana doesn’t have such problems regarding acceptance across the borderline of different states. However, today we will be looking deeper to check the views of the American public on booze and weed, the reasons for their use, the threats they pose to the body, and how they affect behavior. The goal of this is to paint a clear picture of the view of the American public on cannabis and booze and how they affect the acceptance of the substances around them.

First off, it is important to do a bit of exposition on the effects of cannabis use and alcohol use as understood biologically. Marijuana is used for medical purposes due to the presence of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes which are embedded in the plant. It is also used for recreational use due to the intense euphoric high provided by the effect of THC which is also a cannabinoid in the plant matrix. Alcohol on the other hand is commonly used by different persons based on the value they attribute to it as it can be used to erase a negative mood, deal with anxiety, or even elevate a confident mood.

In terms of numbers, however, statistics have not been too good to alcohol as the use of alcohol has been implicated in as many as 88,000 deaths yearly. The main cause of this is as a result of accidents and violence that commonly occurs under the influence of alcohol as opposed to marijuana. The problems of marijuana use are also well documented as high levels of THC pose a problem of brain damage in the long term and in the short term can bring about memory loss, anxiety, and problems with cognitive ability.

This is why a survey was taken using a decent sample size of Americans to see their views regarding cannabis and alcohol use. We will be looking into the results of the survey in different categories and interpreting their implications in detail.


On the matter of legalization, we have given an indication earlier to the present state of things in the United States of America regarding the legalization of marijuana. When the members of this survey were asked regarding the legalization of marijuana and alcohol, a very strong picture of the people’s view was painted. When asked regarding choice if only one of the two substances can be made legal, 43% went with alcohol while 57% went for cannabis. Also, 38% of people who do not use alcohol agreed with the idea that it should be considered illegal while 30% of those who do not use cannabis agree that it should be made illegal.

Still, on the matter of legalization, 70% of people who do not use alcohol are of the opinion that cannabis should be made legal while 56% of people who use alcohol agree that cannabis should be made legal. These numbers would seem to indicate that a good number of the public are open to the legalization of cannabis.

Dangers and Dependency

When it came to the matter of the dangers of the use of both substances, a good number of those involved in the survey displayed a good grasp of the dangers both substances pose to human health. The problems associated with the excess use of alcohol include harm to important body organs such as the liver, heart, pancreas, and the dangers of cancer. The dangers of marijuana use in terms of anxiety, memory loss, and impact on cognitive ability are also well known. Nonetheless, more people who did not use either alcohol or cannabis were of the opinion that alcohol use is more dangerous when compared to cannabis.

When asked about the perceived view of dependency that alcohol and cannabis in contrast to each other, more people believed that alcohol is more addictive. Users of both marijuana and alcohol also indicated that alcohol has a higher degree of dependency when compared with cannabis. The populace also seems to agree that alcohol poses more dangers in terms of concerns for health as well as the possibility of addiction in comparison with cannabis.


Finally, we look into the views of different classes of people on both the users of alcohol and cannabis separately. The results of this set showed a trend that was different from what was experienced in the earlier categories of the survey. Despite the fact that more people were open to the legalization of cannabis and the dangers and dependency of alcohol being higher than cannabis, more people were prone to losing respect for varying classes of people for cannabis use over alcohol use. When asked regarding elected officials, firefighters, security officers, and religious leaders, more people said they will lose respect more if such sets of people used marijuana as opposed to alcohol.

Bottom line

The perception of the American public regarding cannabis and alcohol is as complicated as anything can be. The view of majority regarding cannabis has been skewed by years and years of false information, wrong stereotypes and all sorts of other factors that paint cannabis in a bad way. Although progress is being made we're still a long way from where the industry is meant to be. Cannabis isn't the devil most think it is and alcohol isn't the angel it is portrayed as. Why can't we stop pointing fingers and just enjoy what nature has provided us.






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