Alcohol versus marijuana: which really causes aggression?

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Using marijuana is associated with decreases in measures of aggression, while drinking the more legal drug alcohol causes aggression to spike, a new study confirms.

As at least seven states prepare to vote on marijuana law reforms in the General Election, activists are repeatedly asking why alcohol — which is known to make people violent — is not controlled while cannabis is prohibited as the most dangerous drug on the planet.

Adding volume to their claim is the new study “Subjective aggression during alcohol and cannabis intoxication before and after aggression exposure” just published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression following aggression exposure,” researchers concluded after extensive human trials.

In the study researchers gave two groups either a placebo or what amounted to a Screwdriver (ethyl alcohol plus orange juice). They gave another group either a pot placebo or actual marijuana vapor from a Volcano Vaporizer bag filled with 13% THC bud.

Then researchers made the test subjects play a money game designed to stimulate aggression or “escape” responses.

“Alcohol increased the number of aggressive responses in the PSAP in the alcohol group, whereas cannabis reduced the number of aggressive responses in the cannabis group. … These findings are generally in line with previous studies that showed alcohol-induced aggression at higher doses. … The cannabis group received a moderate to high cannabis dose which diminished aggressive responses during intoxication, which is in line with previous findings.”

The data mirror police reports from the field, where Washington DC’s police chief Cathy Lanier said all pot arrests do “is make people hate [cops]”.

“Alcohol is a much bigger problem [than marijuana],” Lanier told a crowd in 2015. “Marijuana smokers are not going to attack and kill a cop. They just want to get a bag of chips and relax.”

Similarly, 24,000 pot users gathered for three days in Victorville, CA. last weekend for a peaceful hash and glass conference, and just one arrest was reported. By contrast, 31 people were arrested at a single afternoon Raiders game with 53,000 attendees in 2014.

Four states and Washington DC, the nation’s capitol, have legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over. Pot arrests have decreased by 85% in the District.

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