Most of us have adult children, but no matter what age they are, they are our children. And we want them to have a great life – but if it came down to the wire, would you want them to have an alcohol problem or a pot problem?
According to Aaron E Carroll, leading paediatrician at Indiana University School of Medicine, he would prefer his children to use neither, but if forced to make a choice, he would opt for pot.
In an article for The New York Times, Dr Carroll said he is frequently asked whether he would want a pot head or an alcoholic for a child.
“When someone asks me whether I’d rather my children use pot or alcohol, after sifting through all the studies and all the data, I still say “neither”. Usually, I say it more than once. But if I’m forced to make a choice, the answer is ‘marijuana'”, he wrote.
Dr Carroll backed this up with a well-researched and well-informed piece about the effects of alcohol vs marijuana. He said it was easy to demonise marijuana as it’s illegal and it’s shown to change the brain, including memory loss and mental issues.
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He then went on to examine how marijuana is linked to crime, yet alcohol and crime is a much larger issue – in fact it is a factor in 40 per cent of all violent crimes in the US. Dr Carroll points out that “although there are studies that can link marijuana to crime, it’s almost all centred on its illegal distribution. People who are high are not committing violence”. Do you believe this is true?
The paediatrician argued that when you look at the facts of alcohol abuse vs marijuana abuse, there was no question – no one has ever died from ingesting marijuana. Conversely, in Australia, 1 in 8 deaths in people under 25 is related to alcohol consumption. Does that number scare you?
If we’re parents whose children have never had drug or alcohol dependence, we often look at the other parents and say “you should’ve told them not to do it” or something to that effect. But that doesn’t work – Mr Carroll rationalises wanting his child to do nothing, or if they want to, just smoke pot, by saying no one wants their child to have sex, so it’s better to tell them to use a condom. It’s the same logic.
What do you think? Is marijuana more harmful than alcohol? Or is alcohol more harmful? Which would you prefer your child do?