Alcohol vs Marijuana: Which Do College Students Prefer?

Let’s face it: we know what a lot of college kids are doing these days. Your teachers know it. Your friends know it. And believe it or not, your parents know it:

Drinking, smoking, or drinking and smoking.

Smoking and drinking in a bar

Students come to college for an education—that’s a given.

But many students also take this time to experiment here-and-there and I’m not talking about in your science class. If it ever becomes to much for you or a friend, check out some alcohol and drug detox centers for help.

Drinking in college has been a tradition for many decades, but as far as marijuana is concerned, the natural herb saw a decline in it’s usage amongst college students in the 1980’s.

It wasn’t until the 1990’s that marijuana suddenly the drug of choice among college students.

Many young teenagers coming out of high school and going into college say that they’ve been smoking marijuana as young as middle school. Those who haven’t tried pot by the time they enter college may experiment now that the option is readily available.

Why is Marijuana So Popular?

It is believed by the conservative population that marijuana acts as a gateway drug for introduction to more serious drugs. But if you ask around campus, many students will tell you that it’s a form of relaxation. Some students even go so far as to claim they acquire better study habits after smoking marijuana.

Even some college student’s parents have been quoted saying that if they had to choose between the two, they would prefer their child to smoke marijuana rather than drink alcohol.

With all the alcohol-related deaths in college from drinking and driving to alcohol poisoning, marijuana appears to be the “safer” choice.

Alcohol vs. Marijuana

– Marijuana is less toxic than alcohol. It does not require the same level of “break-down” as does alcohol.

– Alcohol triggers aggressive behaviors and is a depressant. Marijuana also has depressant-qualities, but is considered more of a hallucinogen.

– According to, Long-term marijuana use is less damaging than long-term alcohol use.

Is Alcohol Being Replaced?

In my opinion, I don’t think so. As popular as smoking marijuana is, drinking alcohol still ranks number one. The effects that alcohol cause are completely different from the buzz received from smoking marijuana.

At parties, clubs or socials, many college students are looking to be energetic to have fun. Marijuana tends to slow you down and make you tired whereas alcohol tends to rev you up.

Alcohol is also easier to come by; it’s legal for people over the age of 21 to buy and consume alcohol and if you have a fake ID, getting your hands on some booze is even easier.

At the end of the day, most students would buy alcohol over marijuana. Though marijuana comes off as the safer choice, it’s still illegal in the U.S. and alcohol is just the easier (and seemingly more fun) choice for students today.

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