My girlfriends drink wine and voice disapproval with the fact that I choose weed, which is my preferred poison for a balanced lifestyle. Does one have much worse consequences than the other?
Wine vs. Weed
Dear Wine vs. Weed,
Hmm...Wine vs. Weed. Which is better? That’s like asking if I prefer my phone to chocolate! Both are vital to a happy existence for me and those around me. Same can be said for both wine and weed. How do you unwind after a long day? A nice glass (or three) of pinot noir/gris. A slow draw of a nicely rolled joint. A bit of each on one of *those* days perhaps. But which is better for your health? As you might imagine, opinions abound. Ultimately, personal needs drive choice: social lubricant, creative inspiration, or stress staycation.
The alcohol in wine has been shown to stimulate a part of the brain that focuses on the simpler things in life: hunger, body temp, and the need for sex. Personal experience attests that cannabis stimulates these exact areas of the brain. Let’s begin with hunger. It is widely accepted that - unless you get maddening munchies - cannabis is easier on the waistline. To blame is an alcoholic beverage’s large amounts sugar. But the sugar is converted during the fermentation process. So unless you’re consuming more than 2-4 glasses per day, your waist will hold steady.
Additives are bad in your food and the same is true for your wine. Like your food, choose organic wine. Like your food and wine, choose organic weed. While the “organic” label is not approved for cannabis currently, many brands note “Pesticide Free. ” Without federal cooperation, much of the quality regulation falls on the states, which are slow to organize proper oversight beyond distribution. Washington state was plagued with pesticide-laden cannabis and this began a discussion that has influenced the weed I choose. No pesticides or other chemical byproducts of non-organic farming produces no burn on the throat and less of a malaise the next day. While “Pesticide Free” starts to remedy the big black stain on cannabis – smoking, edibles, capsules, vaporizers and a variety of other delivery mechanisms can be produced with oil and e-liquid extracted from a contaminated flower source.
About five years ago – after about the same amount of time swearing off wine – I was tipped off that European wine has less additives, less alcohol and is predictably grown organically making it, generally, more agreeable, which was true for me. Why? The more additives the greater chance of an even slight allergic reaction that releases histamines causing both the bloody hangover and roseacea in my fair-skinned friends.
Cannabis, in turn, does not put a strain on your skin like wine and according to celeb dermatologist Dr. Nigma Talib, THC can actually benefit the skin as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, so long as it’s not smoked. Inhaling marijuana negatively affects collagen production just as smoke can cause premature aging by depriving the skin of much needed oxygen. Smoking cannabis isn’t the only way to wreak havoc on your skin. A night of munchies leaves evidence in the form of a “swollen” face due to a definite increase in gluten (the entire bag of potato chips!), dairy (the whole pint of ice cream!) and sugar (the bottomless stash of Halloween and Easter candy!). But make no mistake, a night of wine renders me a cousin of The Crypt Keeper the next morning.
Shall we discuss the next morning? You know. The dreaded morning after. Cannabis is effective in treating nausea, which may be exactly the right antidote after a night that leaves you with a myriad of anecdotes. Need more reasons to turn to cannabis after a big wine night? An active ingredient in marijuana, the cannabinoid beta caryophyllene combats inflammation (Hello, puffy face, swollen hands and sour stomach!). While just the pick me up you need at the end of a day, wine is, ultimately, a depressant. Enter THC! Research indicates that low doses of THC can mildly decrease depression and stress. Why should everyone around you suffer because you are? Soften your edge and pad your patience. Why and how does cannabis lift you? Cannabinoid receptors instigate the release of dopamine, which is a feel good hormone. But too much of a good thing lead the the brain producing less dopamine in the long-term.
And the liver cleanse that we all subscribe to every January and September is less of a necessity with weed versus wine. Preliminary research suggests no long-term liver damage whereas heavy drinking most affects the liver, which treats alcohol like a poison that will, ultimately, shut down one’s body and lead to heart failure. In an attempt to be fair and appear unbiased, the news is not all good on cannabis though. Another vital organ is affected by cannabis: the heart. When you smoke weed, it can impact your heart by increasing your heart rate to a point where within the first hour of smoking weed, you are five times more at risk for having a heart attack. Keep. It. Cool. And that other vital organ: the brain. Studies have shown that long term pot users have difficulties forming new memories. Marijuana consumption can cause a lack of judgment, and lack of balance or coordination, while also slowing down your brains messaging system to other parts of the body.
Are you tallying the points of wine vs. weed? As we all know, a glass of wine is liquid confidence. Whereas cannabis can induce social anxiety and paranoia, which are not hallmarks of confidence. One for wine. According to the World Health Organization, 30% of the U.S. population admitted to suffering from alcohol abuse currently or at some point in their life. Firm research has come to the conclusion that marijuana is not an addictive drug. One for weed.
What about wine and weed? Two words: the spins. Two more words: porcelain god. Saying yes to a joint passed during dessert after a wine dinner may render you praying but some believe mixing wine and weed can be heavenly. Several family farmers and smaller companies in California are infusing cannabis into wine. Double pleasure? Double fun? Singer Melissa Ethridge created infused wine, legally labeled it a tincture since laws prevent the sale of combined grapes & ganja. Cannabis wine is made by fermenting the flower of the cannabis plant in the cask with the wine and is not a modern marketing creation. Ancient cultures have long fermented wine with cannabis. One pioneer is Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo who lived in 200 AD. He used cannabis on surgical patients as an anesthetic. Then he realized he could grind cannabis into a powder and mix it with some wine and Voila! Pain relief! Sadly, many of his writings and research were destroyed so the specifics on his magical tincture are lost – as is the concoction’s reportedly unique high. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
And where there is a long day and short fuse, there is a need for relief. Pick your poison and call it medicine.
Van der Pop does not endorse or condone the illegal consumption of cannabis.