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1 in 20 Deaths Caused by Alcohol Worldwide; Still Zero for Cannabis

A new report by the World Health Organization pegs global deaths due to alcohol at 3 million in 2016, making alcohol responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths, according to a CNN report.

While cannabis has not been studied as deeply, no direct deaths can be attributed to the plant. Some statistics indicate the only significant risks associated with cannabis is for those who start consuming cannabis while younger than 17, with that demographic being more likely to commit suicide. The difficulty with that statistic is that it’s hard to determine if cannabis is the cause of that risk increase, or merely an attempt to medicate conditions that led to the suicide.

Alcohol, however, is responsible for millions of deaths — directly. 28% of those 3 million alcohol deaths were due to injuries, 21% were from alcohol-related digestive disorders and 19% were cardiovascular. The remaining percentage points are from infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders, and other alcohol-related maladies. Many conditions that, instead of causing, cannabis medicates.

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol. It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.” — Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, via CNN

While it’s clear that alcohol is bad for you, it can be tough for some to let go of beer or wine as a part of their life. Normalization and legalization of adult-use cannabis, with cannabis’ known beneficial effects for fighting addiction, is perhaps just the tool to allow people to kick the indisputably toxic habit of alcohol consumption.

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