Marijuana Way, Way Safer Than Alcohol

Weed ranks least fatal on list of drugs, including booze
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2015 4:10 PM CST
In this Feb. 20, 2015 photo, Alaska Cannabis Club CEO Charlo Greene smokes a joint at the medical marijuana dispensary in Anchorage, Alaska.    (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

(Newser) – Worry that marijuana might kill you? Then rest easy: New research says that among things people take to get high or drunk, weed is the least fatal, the Washington Post reports. Researchers evaluated the fatality risk of these substances by comparing lethal doses to the amount people normally consume. They say the deadliest is booze, followed by heroin, cocaine, tobacco, ecstasy, and meth. Anchoring the list is weed, which makes it 114 times less likely to kill you than alcohol, according to the study published in Scientific Reports. In fact marijuana is the only drug in the study "that posed low mortality risk to its users," says the Post. This echoes 10-year-old drug safety evaluations, so it's more confirmation than fresh news, but comes as the national debate heats up over marijuana legalization.

This doesn't make marijuana safe, however. It's still addictive, dumb to smoke while pregnant, and a possible threat to cognitive functioning, according to an earlier Post story. AAP News adds that marijuana seems particularly dangerous to children. And those who say marijuana is OK because it's "natural" and "medicinal" are also off-base (rattlesnake venom is natural, too, and prescription painkillers, which kill tens of thousands annually, are certainly medicinal). But marijuana's lack of killing power suggests "a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach," the researchers say. In fact, the Post adds, "it takes extraordinary chutzpah" to complain about marijuana and have "a glass of far more lethal stuff in the evening." (Another study finds stoners are safer drivers than drunks.)

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