Dave X wrote:
I can say that I have seen both being consumed, and in fact consumed alcohol myself. I will never use weed. Period. So I must side with alcohol being the safer choice. This is mostly based on the possibilty of psychological addiction to weed, as well as it being smoked (affecting the lungs directly).
Addiction to alcohol is worse, as one can be psychologically and physically addicted to alcohol, and those addicted really strongly can even die from abrupt quitting, due to the extreme effects of their withdrawl.
That being said I don't know if one drug of the other is significantly "more addicting" in the way that a substance like heroin is.
You are right in your statements, but I want to clarify something.
Physical addiction (a.k.a., dependence) involves the physical adaptation of a person's biological systems to the continuous presence of alcohol. The person's systems become more comfortable with the typical level of alcohol and higher doses are required to maintain an equivalent effect. A decrease in the level of alcohol causes reverse imbalances resulting in withdrawal symptoms, which for alcohol can be deadly.
Neurochemical addiction involves the hijacking of existing learning mechanisms in order to convince the system that an addictive behavior is good for it, despite all evidence to the contrary. Endorphin is the body's way of telling the mind that a behavior is good for it. We release endorphin into the blood stream during sex, exercise and consumption of some foods for instance, and this is responsible for "runner's high" and "afterglow". This is more than just a good feeling, it is teaching our brain that these are the behaviors that it should repeat. It has been demonstrated in various clinical tests that mammals with more active endorphin systems are more prone to alcohol addiction. This is because alcohol triggers the release of endorphins into our system, and we learn that alcohol drinking is a behavior that we should repeat. This effect is also visible in the use of opiates, and in various risk-taking behaviors such as skydiving and gambling.
This does not happen with marijuana. Though you can get addicted to marijuana, some would argue that it is "safer" to be addicted to marijuana than to be addicted to alcohol.
(note: information taken from wikipedia.com from alcoholism article)