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Marijuana sales in Colorado beginning to surpass alcohol sales - could this shift in consumption lower cancer rates?


(NaturalNews) Sales of legal marijuana have begun to surpass those of alcohol in at least one Colorado city, a trend which could lead to – among other benefits – a corresponding drop in cancer rates.

Statistics gathered by the City of Aspen, and published in the Aspen Times, reveal that during two consecutive months in 2015 – March and April – sales of cannabis from the city's seven marijuana dispensaries exceeded those of liquor stores.

From the Aspen Times:

"The monthly breakdown of 2015 marijuana and alcohol sales shows marijuana generally trailing alcohol, though not by much. Marijuana sales eclipsed alcohol sales in both March and April, according to the statistics.

"Perhaps because of spring break, the $998,418 worth of marijuana sold in March was the city's highest monthly total of the year, and was about $140,000 more than alcohol sales that month. April's pot sales of $455,935 were about $13,000 more than that month's alcohol sales."

Aside from raising more than $230,000 in tax revenues, while lessening police officers' workloads and presumably making residents a little happier, the shift in consumption could theoretically also lead to lower cancer rates in Aspen – as it could in other places where the sale of marijuana has been legalized.

The connection between alcohol and cancer

It has been proven that alcohol consumption leads to a higher risk of developing several types of cancer and, although the exact biological mechanisms involved are not yet clear, researchers are beginning to understand more as studies on the subject continue.

From a blog post published by Cancer Research UK.org:

"There are seven types of cancer linked to alcohol – bowel, oesophageal (food pipe), larynx (voice box), mouth, pharynx (upper throat), breast (in women), and liver. There's also mounting evidence that heavy drinking might be linked to pancreatic cancer. But how, and why?

"According to Dr Ketan Patel, a Cancer Research UK expert on how alcohol causes cancer: 'We don't really know. We don't fully understand why alcohol causes some cancers and not others.'

"There are some theories, however, although some are stronger than others."

Among these stronger theories are those which concern mouth and throat cancers, "where alcoholic drinks directly damage cells in these tissues."

In the case of liver cancer, it is believed that cirrhosis – the scarring of liver tissue often caused by excessive alcohol consumption – elevates the risk of developing the disease.

There is also evidence to suggest that hormonal levels affected by alcohol consumption may explain the link between alcohol and breast cancer in women.

The elevated risk of cancer is not limited to heavy drinkers:

"While there may be a perception that the health risks of alcohol only apply to heavy drinkers, research is revealing that it's not just drinking large amounts of alcohol that increases your chances of developing cancer – drinking small amounts can be harmful too."

Although ethanol itself is "relatively non-toxic," according to Dr Patel, its conversion into acetaldehyde – a "highly reactive, toxic chemical" – during the body's breakdown of alcohol, is likely the agent which "causes changes that lead to cancer."

Cannabis – a healthier choice

Compared to alcohol, cannabis is far less harmful – roughly 88,000 people die from alcohol abuse each year in the United States, while the number of deaths caused by marijuana is precisely zero.

And while alcohol is linked to elevated cancer risk, marijuana is being used to treat and even cure many forms of cancer.

It could be argued that abstinence from both marijuana and alcohol is the best approach to a healthy lifestyle, but if it comes down to a choice between the two, marijuana is by far the least harmful option.







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