Alcohol sales in the United States topped $250 billion dollars in 2018. By comparison, the legal United States cannabis industry sold roughly $10 billion dollars worth of cannabis in 2018.

Without some context, that might seem like the cannabis industry is small potatoes, however, the numbers are misleading. The alcohol industry is legal in every state in one form or another (regulations vary at the local level), whereas the cannabis industry is still prohibited in many states, particularly when it comes to adult-use cannabis.

The alcohol industry has also been operating legally across the country for many decades after alcohol prohibition was lifted, and even longer prior to alcohol prohibition having been temporarily in effect.

Legal cannabis is still in its infancy and is undergoing a lot of changes on a regular basis. The legal cannabis industry will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future, and we won’t truly know how large the legal cannabis industry will get until a lot of the dust has settled. That will take some time.

However, the unknowns of the legal cannabis industry have not stopped many from speculating that the legal cannabis industry will someday surpass the alcohol industry. Below are four reasons why.

Cannabis is Medicine

The cannabis plant is one of the most versatile plants on earth. It has been used as medicine for thousands of years, and for good reason. Many studies have found that cannabis can treat a number of conditions, from chronic pain to diabetes. Worth noting – no one has ever died from THC toxicity in the history of humanity.

Alcohol, on the other hand, is another story. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, with roughly 88,000 people dying from alcohol every year.

Cannabis, like alcohol, can be used as a recreational intoxicant. However, use of cannabis for medical purposes is widespread, and will no doubt increase as the years go by and cannabis stigma continues to fade away. More and more people are realizing the medical benefits of cannabis every year, and that is not something that can be said about alcohol.

Pets

The sector of the cannabis industry that is focused on helping pets is going to grow exponentially in the coming years. Just as the cannabis plant can help humans, it can also help pets. Dosage is obviously different for pets compared to humans and has to be adjusted to match each type of pets’ size and biology.

But the main principle of cannabis being medicine for all types of living creatures is valid. A lot of research needs to be conducted for cannabis products for pets to become more effective. As the demand for cannabis pet products rises, so will research and development for cannabis products for pets.

The pet care market in the United States was valued at over $70 billion dollars in 2018. Not all of that was specifically for pet medications and wellness products, but a good chunk of it was. Cannabis products for pets are going to be a very lucrative sector of the cannabis space in the future, whereas the same is not true for alcohol pet products.

Sports

Sports cannabis is very much in its infancy. The sports cannabis revolution was put into motion by retired NBA All-Star Clifford Robinson when he announced his entrance into the cannabis space in late 2015. Since that time a number of other professional athletes have followed suit, and more amateur athletes are getting on board every year.

Cannabis can absolutely be a part of an active lifestyle and can provide a number of wellness benefits to athletes. It’s no secret that athletes of all backgrounds experience bumps and bruises, and aches and pains. Cannabis is safer and more effective than a lot of wellness products and medicines that are marketed to athletes so it is only logical that many amateur athletes will switch to using cannabis and cannabis products.

Alcohol is popular among athletes for recreational purposes, which is also true of cannabis. However, cannabis has the ability to help treat conditions and help athletes stay healthy, which is a major reason why cannabis will likely be more popular with people that live an active lifestyle than alcohol will be in the future.

Cannabis is a safer alternative

Cannabis has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol. As previously mentioned, alcohol kills roughly 88,000 people annually in the United States whereas cannabis toxicity has never killed anyone, ever.

Cannabis is a safer alternative to alcohol. It also doesn’t result in a hangover the day after a lot of consumption and is more desirable in a lot of ways compared to alcohol.

People will continue to consume alcohol in the future, and that is their right. However, many millennials have reported substituting cannabis for alcohol, and if that trend continues for millenials and subsequent generations of adults, not only will the legal cannabis industry’s numbers catch up to the current alcohol industry’s numbers, it will also lower the alcohol industry’s numbers in the process.