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Safer Than Football? Cannabis Alleviates Damage of Binge Drinking

A group of people at a party all cheersing one another while binge drinking.


Safer Than Football? Cannabis Alleviates Damage of Binge Drinking

Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

Super Bowl ads make the Super Bowl, and this year, in the first game ever to take place between two cities where weed is legal, cannabis will be featured right alongside the familiar Bud Light ads, with The Marijuana Policy Project’s launch of five billboards touting: “Marijuana… safer than alcohol… and football.”

A scientific fact, but moreover, weed is not only safer than alcohol, it actually lessens the effects of binge drinking. With a pass to the left from the Joint Blog, a recent study published in the Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that cannabidiol, or CBD, present in cannabis, lessens liver damage brought on by high amounts of alcohol consumption. Not only is weed better for you than alcohol, it’s actually good for you.

Binge drinking causes steatosis, which Wikipedia defines as “the abnormal retention of lipids within a cell.” It impairs the process of synthesis and elimination of fat, causing liver damage. It’s exactly what caused the Grateful Dead’s first drug overdose with the death of Pigpen, who passed away at the age of 27 due to cirrhosis of the liver.

The study found: “Cannabidiol (CBD) can prevent acute alcohol-induced liver steatosis in mice, possibly by preventing the increase in oxidative stress and the activation of the JNK MAPK pathway. Cannabidiol per se can increase autophagy both in CYP2E1-expressing HepG2 cells and in mouse liver. Importantly, cannabidiol can prevent the decrease in autophagy induced by alcohol.”

Results showed “that cannabidiol protects mouse livers from acute alcohol-induced steatosis through multiple mechanisms including attenuation of alcohol-mediated oxidative stress, prevention of JNK MAPK activation, and increasing autophagy,” according to the study conducted by researchers at the School of Public Health at Sun Yat-sen University in China, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and the State Key Laboratory of Oncology at the Sun Yatsen University Cancer Center in China.

The research follows findings discovered several years ago that cannabis can also prevent brain damage brought on by heavy alcohol consumption. In 2009, researchers from the University of California, San Diego studied the microscopic changes in brain white matter in binge drinking teens aged 16 to 19. The teens were sectioned off into three groups, those that only binge drank, those that drank and used cannabis, and a control group that did neither. Marijuana users had significantly less damage in seven out of eight brain regions than those that only drank.

“This study suggests that not only is marijuana safer than alcohol, it may actually protect against some of the damage that booze causes,” said Steve Fox, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, regarding the brain damage study.

President Obama may state the obvious scientific fact that cannabis is “no more dangerous than alcohol” but he ignores the truth that weed is actually good for you.

In fact, cannabis is better for you than football, as Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert points out. “Taking a big hit of marijuana poses less potential harm than taking a big hit from an NFL linebacker or a big shot of tequila,” Tvert said in a statement. “Whether it’s a concussion or a hangover, it’s a sign that you’ve done more harm to your brain than marijuana could ever do.”

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