Supporters of marijuana legalization have often cited the fact that cannabis has yet to directly kill anyone via overdose. They argue that it’s the least harmful drug around. And now, they might have some science to back up the claim.
As the Washington Post reports, “compared to other recreational drugs — including alcohol — marijuana may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.”
The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. Researchers set out to look at the risk of death associated with the use of common psychoactive substances. In the end, they found that alcohol was the deadliest, followed by heroin and cocaine. Last on the list was marijuana. They found the plant to be “roughly 114 times less deadly than booze.”
The logic behind their findings had to do with how much of the substance the typical user actually uses. As a result, people were more likely to drink too much and die, whereas the amount of marijuana necessary to consume in order to die from it was less than what exactly anyone would ever dream of consuming. There are risks associated with marijuana use, but they mostly involve mental health. Those risks increase the more you use and the younger you are when you begin using.
The study’s authors used their research as a pulpit to attack drug laws, insinuating that nicotine and alcohol get a free pass but that psychoactive drugs that are much much less harmful are vilified, rendered illegal, and without any kind of scientific basis confirming their beliefs as fact.