Marijuana (Sex) is Safer Than Alcohol (Sex)


Marijuana is safer than alcohol has been a prominent battle cry among many cannabis law reformers for years now. Of course, when you base relative harm upon science and facts, clearly marijuana is safer. When you consider addiction, lethal overdose, severe health consequences and link to violent criminal activity, it is easy to see that alcohol is more dangerous.

It now looks like cannabis law reformers can now add that marijuana-influenced sex is safer than alcohol-influenced sex after Oregon researchers have found that while college students are more likely to have sex after utilizing cannabis, they keep their wits about them and still use condoms at the same rate as when sober. Binge drinking, a dangerous epidemic on college campuses, leads to both more sex and a lower usage of condoms, increasing the likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

The Register Guard reports:

“Marijuana use may lead to sex through increased arousal and disinhibition and/or may be sought out to facilitate meeting a partner and to enhance pleasure,” wrote (David) Kerr, who is an associate professor in the OSU School of Psychological Sciences.

The study also found that binge drinking students were likely to throw caution to the wind when it came to condom use.

But the marijuana smokers continued to use condoms at the same rate.

“Unlike alcohol, marijuana may cause users to compensate for impairments in inhibitory control by changing decision-making and risk perception,” the study said.

While I’m certainly not a prohibitionist, it is important that our society understand the facts about alcohol and to reduce the harms caused by the drug. I am often dismayed at the celebration of alcohol at events and in our media. I previously blogged about the fact that Oregon universities were doing a disservice to students by perpetuating the War on Marijuana. While federal law forces these colleges to have a policy upholding federal law, these institutions of higher learning should be doing all that they can to change federal policy. Our current federal policy and national culture is literally killing young students.

The yearly statistics regarding alcohol and college students between the ages of 18 and 24 are very troubling: over 1,800 students die from alcohol every year; more than 690,000 students are assaulted by someone under the influence of alcohol every year; and more than 97,000 students are victims of sexual assault every year. Considering all of the bad choices people make under the influence of alcohol, it isn’t surprising that researchers found that alcohol leads to less safe sex practices.

Cannabis prohibitionists latch upon anecdotal stories of bad consequences and tragic occurrences that have been linked to marijuana. And to be fair, marijuana is not completely harmless and it should only be used (non-medically) by adults.

When prohibitionists cling to a handful of bad marijuana stories, they are spending time fear-mongering around a few cases while ignoring thousands upon thousands of harmful alcohol incidents that occur every year. It is hard to take serious people who work to keep marijuana illegal while they ignore that tens of thousands of college students are raped by criminals under the influence of alcohol every year and over 1,800 young students die from alcohol yearly.

(Featured photo credit: Students for a Sensible Drug PolicyMake a Contribution)

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.