Obama: Marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol

There actually is quite a difference between pot and alcohol, both on the medical side of things and the political side. The president talking about marijuana as the president shows a change in the times, but medically speaking pot has always been worse, according to the Gundersen Health System medical director for addiction.

Doctors disagree with President Barack Obama when he says marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.

“It’s an unfair comparison between the two because they’re very very different substances,” Dr. William Bucknam, medical director for addiction at Gundersen Health System.

Bucknam says comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges.

“Alcohol is very short acting. It tends to wear off after a couple of hours, whereas marijuana can have an effect that can last from weeks into months,” Bucknam said.

Because marijuana can last so long, some users have a decrease in motivation and IQ scores.

“That’s the insidious danger of marijuana. And to say that it’s no more dangerous than alcohol I think is ill informed,” Bucknam said.

Drugs have always been a battle in Washington. Joe Heim, political science professor at UW-La Crosse thinks the president talking about marijuana is a sign of change.


“There is a certain trend in the country being looser with marijuana.”

That trend however doesn’t have all lawmakers on board. Heim said that marijuana is a very touchy topic and he thinks there is one word that causes that.

“I think it has to do with the word ‘drugs.’ That marijuana is a drug.  If there were some sort of scale this would be on the low end, but it is still considered a drug,” Heim said.

Even though the times are changing, Heim acknowledges that this is not a reflection of what’s to come — it’s a personal opinion from the president.

“He was expressing his own personal opinion and probably a candid opinion,” Heim said.

Marijuana is listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a schedule one substance, which is the most dangerous classification for drugs. Other drugs with a schedule one rating are heroin, ecstasy and LSD.