top of page
  • Christopher D.

Deciphering the Health Hierarchy: Alcohol vs. Cannabis vs. Tobacco

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

In a world where choices abound, the realm of substances often elicits questions about their relative impacts on health. The triad of alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco stands at the forefront of this discourse, with each substance carrying its own set of rules, regulations, and health consequences.

As we embark on a journey to unravel the intricate web of health effects, we turn to medical experts who offer insights into the question: Which among alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco is the worst for you?

A Complex Conundrum

Navigating the landscape of health risks posed by alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco is no simple task. Each individual's health profile, family history, and pre-existing conditions introduce nuances that demand personalized consideration.

Dr. Michael L. Glickman, a distinguished family medicine doctor and weight loss expert, emphasizes the challenge of ranking these substances definitively, given the absence of comprehensive head-to-head trials. The quantity consumed also significantly shapes the associated risks.

Dr. Anand Akhil, a behavioral health doctor at Cleveland Clinic, underscores the role of individual risk factors. Yet, when gauging health effects for the average person, a consensus emerges: Alcohol emerges as the most detrimental, followed by tobacco.

The Troubling Tale of Alcohol

Alcohol's dubious distinction as the most harmful among the trio is supported by robust evidence. Dr. Akhil paints a sobering picture of alcohol's impact, linking it to over 200 health conditions and diseases that inflict damage on every organ system. The litany of afflictions includes depression, anxiety, dementia, cancers, heart disease, liver disease, and bone disorders. The gravity of alcohol's repercussions is undeniable, making it a clear contender for the top spot.

Dr. Kevin Most, chief medical officer at Northwestern Central DuPage Hospital, concurs, albeit with a note on moderation. He acknowledges that while moderate alcohol consumption may be acceptable, excessive intake casts a pall over health outcomes. The multifaceted nature of alcohol's adverse effects underscores the importance of responsible consumption.

Tobacco's Trail of Destruction

Tobacco's sinister role in perpetuating devastating health issues is widely recognized. Dr. Akhil highlights the strong link between tobacco use and serious cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular diseases. The specter of irreversible damage looms large, casting a shadow over the lives of those ensnared by tobacco's grip.

Dr. Glickman vehemently asserts tobacco's notoriety as the worst offender, citing its complete lack of proven health benefits. The litany of associated risks, including heart disease, cancers, and premature mortality, paints a bleak picture of tobacco's toll on health.

A Multifaceted Enigma

Cannabis enters the fray as a complex contender, defying easy categorization. Dr. Glickman underscores the intricate nature of evaluating cannabis, acknowledging its potential benefits when integrated into a supervised treatment plan.

Studies suggest its potential utility in managing chronic pain, anxiety, trauma, insomnia, and muscular disorders. Yet, a shadow of caution looms, as cannabis can exacerbate certain mental health conditions, impair memory, and diminish concentration. The data underscores the additional risk for young adults with developing brains.

Dr. Most positions cannabis as the third on the hierarchy, citing its potential medicinal uses and controlled environment. Chemotherapy patients often credit cannabis for sustaining their appetite and nutritional intake, a lifeline in their treatment journey.

A Personalized Pathway to Health

The resounding consensus among these experts is the inherent uniqueness of each individual's health journey. While the ranking of alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco may offer broad strokes, the nuances of personal health profiles demand individualized consideration. Dr. Glickman emphasizes that potential negative consequences are possible even in moderate usage, urging a personalized approach to understanding risks.

As the discourse on alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco unfolds, it becomes clear that there is no foolproof vice. Each substance carries a tapestry of effects that intersect with individual health profiles in unpredictable ways.

Seizing the Empowering Choice

In the midst of this complex landscape, the question arises: What role does medical marijuana play? The case for medical marijuana emerges as a compelling one, rooted in the potential for controlled and supervised use to address specific health conditions. As we navigate the intricate terrain of substances, medical marijuana offers a unique avenue for relief and well-being.

Securing a medical marijuana card holds the promise of guided treatment, regulated products, and personalized care. The journey toward health and empowerment begins with a decision – a decision to explore medical marijuana's potential, consult with healthcare professionals, and embark on a path of holistic healing.


Amidst the evolving discourse on substances and their health effects, the concept of medical marijuana beckons as a beacon of hope. The need for relief and well-being transcends the boundaries of traditional options, making medical marijuana an avenue worth exploring. By obtaining a medical marijuana card, you step into a realm of controlled and supervised treatment, aligning with a progressive approach to healthcare.

The time to embark on this journey is now. Seize the opportunity to unlock the potential of medical marijuana, guided by medical experts and anchored in a commitment to improved health. As you navigate the intricate choices that shape your well-being, remember that your decision to obtain a medical marijuana card is an affirmation of your agency, a testament to your pursuit of a healthier and more empowered future.

Discover the path to well-being through medical marijuana. Secure your medical marijuana card and embark on a transformative journey toward relief, empowerment, and holistic care. The future of healthcare is in your hands – make the choice that aligns with your aspirations for a healthier tomorrow.

Get Ready for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

Medical marijuana will be legal in Kentucky in 2025! However, Kentuckians who qualify can receive a pardon for using medical marijuana purchased from other states, so get a recommendation as legal protection!

Cannabis is a natural, safe alternative medicine without the harsh side effects of many prescription drugs. If you think you could benefit from medical marijuana, you probably qualify!

Schedule an online evaluation with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors or contact us at (833) 781-6360. Why wait longer than you must for the relief you've been missing?

You'll meet with your doctor virtually via a telemedicine appointment using your smartphone or computer, and together, you'll discuss your condition and decide if medical marijuana is right for you.

41 views0 comments


bottom of page