Why some people prefer cannabis over alcohol (especially Gen Z)
As someone who has experienced both cannabis and alcohol, I can attest to the fact that they are very different substances. Growing up, I found myself heavily drinking as a teen and young adult, but I was also smoking a lot of cannabis during that time. However, after the death of my father, I stopped smoking cannabis and began relying more on alcohol as a way of coping with the pain. Part of this decision was influenced by my religious beliefs at the time.
It wasn’t until I divorced myself from the religious mindset that I was able to reintroduce cannabis into my life. This was a turning point for me as I was able to drastically reduce my drinking. Interestingly, my body had started to reject alcohol before then. For example, I would start getting hungover while drinking, or even just after having one beer.
Once cannabis was reintroduced, I found that I only drank alcohol on certain occasions and very sparingly. I began to see alcohol as a means to “get a bit fucked,” or like I’d use any medium-to-hard drug. It was okay every now and then, but not all the time, only strategically. This shift in perspective was significant and changed the way I approached substances.
Since that time, both my relationships with cannabis and alcohol have changed. In fact, my whole approach to drugs became significantly different – more mature in nature.
I understood them for what they are – tools!
Nonetheless, a recent article published on Statenews.com spoke about this very topic, specifically for newer generations and the possible reasons why they prefer cannabis over alcohol. Entitled, “The Science Behind Why Some People Prefer Marijuana to Alcohol,” the article explores the scientific hypothesis as to why this is true.
A study by New Frontier Data found that 69% of consumers aged 18-25 prefer cannabis products to alcohol.
While both substances can produce similar effects in the body, there are significant differences in the way they affect the brain and body.
Alcohol is a depressant that stimulates dopamine activity in the brain, while marijuana products interact directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The compounds that make up marijuana products are considered less risky in terms of addiction than alcohol.
Additionally, Americans generally perceive alcohol as more dangerous than marijuana, according to a survey by the American Addiction Centers.
However, some people who purchase cannabis products may not be fully informed about what goes into the items they are consuming.
Dispensaries often use retail branding that may misinform people about the ingredients of the products they are buying. While sociological and cultural factors may contribute to why someone would choose to smoke instead of drink, science can also be a contributing factor.
Ultimately, people tend to choose whether to drink or smoke based on the experience they hope to get out of it.
Now when we take a closer look at the data according to the study, we can see how the social perspective have shifted in favor of cannabis.
The study discusses the relationship between cannabis use and alcohol and tobacco consumption among Gen Zers, and how this has evolved since the legalization of cannabis.
The findings suggest that Gen Zers are consciously choosing cannabis over alcohol and tobacco, with more than two-thirds of those aged 18-24 preferring cannabis to alcohol.
Past-month cannabis consumption dropped by 8% among younger Gen Zers but increased by 11% for older ones. A study found declines in past-month alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking, and cigarette use among Gen Zers.
The article suggests that the younger generation may be making more considered choices about their consumption patterns, with cannabis carrying a lower risk of dependence and presenting no risk of either fatal overdose or long-term impacts to the lungs.
Past-month cannabis consumption dropped by 8% among younger Gen Zers (ages 18-20), but increased by 11% for older ones (ages 21-25).
The largest increase in cannabis consumption was seen among some Baby Boomers (ages 60-64), whose monthly use increased by 56%.
Past-month alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking, and cigarette use declined among Gen Zers during 2014-2019.
More than two-thirds (69%) among ages 18-24 reported preferring cannabis to alcohol, compared to nearly 70% among ages 25-34, 68% among ages 35-44, 55% among ages 45-54, 52% among ages 55-64, and 44% among ages 65-74.
Among ages 18-24, more than half (56%) reported replacing some of their alcohol with cannabis, compared to nearly 60% among ages 25-34, and more than 60% among 35-44-year-olds.
While this study looked at the obvious markers, scientists aren’t really known for being “cool”. They are more “hippity” than “hip.” Therefore, you can’t blame them for looking deeper into the cultural fabric and trying to understand the motivations from that perspective.
Games and Gaming Culture
For example, the use of screens and general screen time have increased significantly. Additionally, technology has made other means of entertainment or escape possible. For example, how much has gaming culture grown over the past ten to twenty years?
With alcohol, there comes a point when your gaming efficiency begins to take a toll.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s some moments when drunkenly playing a game can be quite fun, but since many games are online and require a certain level of attentiveness – cannabis allows you to zone in on the game and ignore everything else, whereas alcohol does the opposite at a certain threshold.
Apart from the increase in screen time and the growth of gaming culture, there may be other reasons why Gen Z prefers cannabis over other substances.
Mental Health & Self Care
One possibility is the growing interest in wellness and self-care among young people.
As mental health issues such as anxiety and depression continue to rise, more individuals are turning to alternative methods of self-care, including cannabis use. CBD, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has gained popularity in recent years as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress.
With a growing awareness of the benefits of cannabis for mental health, it is possible that more young people are turning to it as a form of self-care, especially since they perceive alcohol to be more dangerous.
Increased Acceptance in General Culture
Another possible reason for Gen Z’s preference for cannabis is the increasing acceptance of the plant in popular culture.
With legalization spreading across the United States and other countries, cannabis is becoming more mainstream and less stigmatized. This shift in attitudes towards cannabis has been reflected in music, movies, and TV shows.
In particular, hip-hop culture has long embraced cannabis as a symbol of rebellion and counterculture. With hip-hop continuing to dominate pop culture, it is possible that this influence has contributed to the growing acceptance of cannabis among young people.
Even in mainstream shows, cannabis is now a common theme.
Furthermore, the rise of social media has made it easier than ever for young people to connect with others who share their interests, including cannabis use.
Instagram, in particular, has become a hub for cannabis enthusiasts, with numerous accounts dedicated to sharing images and information about different strains and products.
By following these accounts, young people can stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in the cannabis world and connect with others who share their passion for the plant.
Considering that a lot of Gen Z “influence” people on social media, it creates a feedback loop within their reality map. It’s just the most common way for them to “get high” or alter their consciousness without stepping into the realm of psychedelics.
But don’t worry. Within a generation or two, there will most certainly be psychonauts on the rise.
While there may be several factors driving Gen Z’s preference for cannabis, including the increase in screen time and gaming culture, there are other out-of-the-box reasons to consider.
The growing interest in wellness and self-care, the increasing acceptance of cannabis in popular culture, and the rise of social media are all factors that may be contributing to the plant’s popularity among young people.
Regardless of the reasons behind it, it is clear that cannabis use among young people is on the rise, and this trend is likely to continue as attitudes towards the plant continue to shift.
Considering that out of all the substances that these young people could choose, cannabis is the most benign, – is a good thing. And as education continues, we’ll eventually see that the initiation threshold will only get “older.”
Right now, it seems that most people are choosing to start smoking cannabis at a later age – the under 18 demographic have seen a significant decline. This is also good news!
It seems that Gen Z’s preference for cannabis over alcohol and tobacco may be attributed to various factors, such as a conscious effort to make healthier choices, a desire for more immersive and focused experiences, and the influence of technology and screen culture.
Perhaps we’ve reached a time and space in society where we are ready to part ways with our beverages as our main source of entertainment, and perhaps we might adopt a more “plant-based approach.”
As more states legalize cannabis and the stigma around it decreases, we may continue to see a shift towards it as the drug of choice for future generations. However, this trend could be disrupted if other drugs, such as psychedelics, are re-legalized and gain more mainstream acceptance.
The potential medical benefits of psychedelics, coupled with the recent surge in research and advocacy for their use, could lead to a significant shift in drug consumption patterns. Of course, it’s important to create an equal playing field between large corporations and individuals. It’s important to establish our human rights within the psychedelic debate. Nonetheless, the second Psychedelic-Revolution is coming, and it’s wearing a white coat with pharma fat suits running after it.
Additionally, the new immersiveness of computer technology could also have an impact on future drug preferences, as virtual reality and other digital experiences become more prevalent. I can see people opting more for smoking weed or eating edibles to immerse themselves in these worlds. Being drunk simply would not allow you to break the barrier between “here and there”, and might make you feel sick.
However, a powerful edible at the right dose could melt away the gear and allow the consciousness to focus only on the information streaming through the lens.
Overall, it is difficult to predict exactly how drug consumption patterns will change over the next 2-3 generations.
However, it is clear that cannabis is becoming more accepted and mainstream, and this could have significant implications for society as a whole. Whether it leads to a more creative and neuroplastic society, as suggested by some, remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, it’s important that YOU don’t simply sit there and wait for lawmakers and policy scribes to come up with the rules. Get organized, stand together and fight for your rights as a human being to these plant based technologies.
I’m talking to you Gen Z and below. If the world is marveling over the power of A.I, psychedelics is essentially the same technology but from an organic perspective. It’s a powerful tool of consciousness and unless we band together, the pharma twats will snatch it up like the Techno twats are trying to do with A.I.
Nonetheless, the first step towards shifting social consciousness can be as easy as switching from beer to bud…and over the course of decades, that could mean the difference between our destruction or ascension.
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