Alcohol and marijuana have very different health effects — here's which is worse, according to science – Business Insider

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Which is worse for you: weed or whiskey?

It’s a tough call. There are dozens of factors to account for, including how the substances affect your heart, brain, and behavior, and how likely you are to get hooked. Time is important, too — while some effects are noticeable immediately, others only begin to shape up after months or years of use. 

The comparison is slightly unfair for another reason: While scientists have been researching the effects of alcohol for decades, the science of cannabis is a lot murkier due to its mostly illegal status. 

Still, based on the studies we have, there appears to be a clear winner.

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30,722 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2014. There have been 0 documented deaths from marijuana use alone. 30,722 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes in 2014. There have been 0 documented deaths from marijuana use alone. Gerardo Garcia/Reuters

Last year, more than 30,000 people died from alcohol-induced causes in the US — and that does not count drinking-related accidents or homicides. If those deaths were included, the number would be closer to 90,000, according to the CDC. 

Meanwhile, no deaths from marijuana overdoses have been reported, according to the DEA. A 16-year study of more than 65,000 Americans published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the healthy marijuana users were not more likely to die of an early death than the healthy men and women who did not use cannabis.

Marijuana appears to be significantly less addictive than alcohol. Marijuana appears to be significantly less addictive than alcohol. Shutterstock

Close to half of all adults have tried marijuana at least once, making it one

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