Whether it’s raising a glass of bubbly to toast a special occasion or relaxing with a beer at the end of the day, most American adults consume alcohol regularly, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse ‘Alcohol and Alcoholism. But some Arizonans are reevaluating their alcohol consumption and turning to cannabis. So which is better in the alcohol vs cannabis debate?
It’s been nearly two years since Arizonans voted to legalize adult cannabis, allowing those over the age of 21 to buy, use and grow cannabis without a medical marijuana card. In 2021, the Arizona Department of Revenue reported that total sales of adult and medical cannabis in the states reached $1.23 billion.
“We’ve seen an increase in customers looking to cannabis to help manage stress, improve sleep or simply celebrate without the empty calories or sluggish mornings associated with alcohol,” said Lilach Mazor Power, founder and CEO of Giving Tree Dispensary in the north. phoenix “They understand that the stigma around cannabis is just that: a stigma.”
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This stigma has not always existed. Evidence of cannabis use dates back thousands of years to ancient China. It was a staple crop in the American colonies and was even grown for fabric at President George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, cannabis was sold as a medicine and prescribed by doctors for pain relief.
It was only with the influx of Mexican immigrants after the Mexican Revolution of the 1910s that public sentiment in America changed. Their use of cannabis, known as marijuana, for its psychoactive properties leads to increasingly strict regulation. Cannabis use was vilified as a means of denigrating these unwanted immigrants, until it was ostensibly outlawed with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
It wasn’t until 1996 that California legalized medical cannabis. Today, 39 states allow some form of legal sale of cannabis.
Alcohol vs cannabis
Despite this, some consumers are still concerned about the stigma of cannabis use.
“It’s troubling that happy hours and ‘mother wine culture’ are socially acceptable, but consuming a plant is still considered taboo by many,” observed Power. “It’s not just about getting ‘high’ for a lot of people. It’s about getting the edge after a hard day with something that doesn’t give them a headache or treat physical discomfort without over-the-counter pain relievers.”
Consumers have many options when purchasing cannabis from licensed Arizona dispensaries, offering a wide range of dosages, prices and consumption methods.
Power advises those interested in exploring cannabis to stick to the mantra “start low, go slow,” meaning start with lower doses and let your body adapt and react. She recommends visiting a dispensary and sharing your goals with a staff member.
“Just as people metabolize beer, wine and liquor differently, everyone’s cannabis journey is unique. I always recommend that people take their time and trust the professionals at licensed dispensaries,” shared Power.
Phoenix advertising executive Sandra Guadarrama-Baumunk decided to try cannabis for her perimenopausal symptoms. “I tried all the OTC products, and it was really just a temporary Band-Aid,” Guadarrama-Baumunk said. She was referred to a cannabis capsule product for perimenopause called Revelry. “I have zero hot flashes and I’m much less irritable.”
A growing body of research shows that certain substances in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, help a variety of health conditions. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved prescription drugs that use specific cannabinoids to treat seizures and nausea from chemotherapy.
Cannabis has become mainstream with the rise of a cannabinoid called cannabidiol or CBD. This substance common to cannabis plants has increased in popularity in recent years and can be found in everything from body lotions to drinks. But not all cannabis products are created equal.
Consumers should be aware that products sold at licensed Arizona dispensaries must meet strict testing and reporting requirements as set forth by the Arizona Department of Health. CBD sold at a mall kiosk or gas station does not have to meet the same production and testing requirements as that sold at licensed dispensaries.
Power, who also serves as board vice president of the Arizona Dispensary Association, hopes it will get more people reconsidering the old stigmas surrounding cannabis. “This plant is so versatile and complex. It’s exciting to see consumers explore its potential.”
Author: Stef Swiergol is Marketing Director of Mazor Collective and co-founder of Revelry Cannabis. Mazor Collective is one of the few female majority owned cannabis companies in Arizona. The collective includes the vertically integrated Arizona-based Giving Tree Dispensary, as well as product lines Kindred, Sneakers, and menopausal cannabis brand Revelry. For more information visit www.mazorcollective.com/