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Which Is Worse: Marijuana or Alcohol?

11:25 PM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Which is worse: marijuana or alcohol? President Obama says neither.

In a recent interview with New Yorker magazine, President Obama said he's not convinced pot is more dangerous than alcohol. So what's the difference? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they both lead to a lot of health problems.

Here's how it breaks down. Marijuana leads to an increased risk of heart attack, respiratory problems and lung cancer. It's also known to cause mental illness, problems for pregnant women and, in some cases, testicular cancer.

When it comes to alcohol, experts say it affects every organ in your body and can damage a developing fetus. You're also at an increased risk for certain cancers, stroke and liver disease.

Warren Margulies, the primary counselor at Fellowship Hall Treatment Center in Greensboro, says marijuana is often underestimated. "It's a mood altering substance and it becomes a gateway drug, gateway in as far as starting to deal with illegal activities."

Margulies says marijuana can be just as addictive at alcohol. "They're both equally addictive. When you start using one or the other to alter your overall mood stabilization, it becomes a problem."

In that interview with the New Yorker, President Obama admitted to smoking pot when he was a kid. He acknowledged that it's a bad habit but said it's not very different from the cigarettes he smoked as a young person and as an adult.

Obama also said it's important to allow recent legalization efforts of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State to proceed.

Marijuana in any form is still illegal in North Carolina.

WFMY News 2

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