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Comparing marijuana and alcohol: a demonstration

The Story

One is sipped and the other is smoked, but how do the effects of alcohol and marijuana compare? In 1975, as the Canadian Senate considers softening marijuana laws, CBC Television's Newsmagazine sponsors an experiment: booze vs. pot. In the alcohol study, laughter gives way to incapacitation and hangovers among the drinkers. Meanwhile, the tokers hardly seem to behave differently, although they agree the marijuana study would be a lot better with music.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Feb. 25, 1975
Guests: Howard Cappell, Laurier LaPierre, Eugene LeBlanc, Patrick Watson
Host: Lloyd Robertson
Duration: 27:18

Did You know?

• In high enough doses, alcohol can kill by slowing the body's breathing and heart rate. By comparison, no death has proven to have been caused solely by marijuana. • A hangover, or after-effects of drinking, is actually a mild form of withdrawal. Symptoms include headache, shakiness, nausea and fatigue. Signs of withdrawal from marijuana, if any, are described as irritability and other changes in mood.

• According to Statistics Canada, 4.5 million Canadians, or 14 per cent of the population over age 15, used marijuana in 2004. The Canadian Medical Association estimated 1.5 million were recreational marijuana users.

• The same year, 2004, the Canadian Addiction Survey found that 79.3 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over used alcohol. An estimated 17 per cent of drinkers were described as "high risk." For men, "high risk" means consumption exceeds 14 drinks weekly; for women, it's nine drinks weekly.



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