Danger

How Dangerous is Marijuana

Compared with other Substances?

Number of American deaths per year that result directly or primarily from the following selected causes nationwide, according to World Almanacs, Life Insurance Actuarial (death) Rates, and the last 20 years of U.S. Surgeon Generals’ reports.

TOBACCO 340,000 to 450,000
ALCOHOL (Not including 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders) 150,000+
ASPIRIN (Including deliberate overdose) 180 to 1,000+
CAFFEINE (From stress, ulcers, and triggering irregular heartbeats, etc.) 1,000 to 10,000
“LEGAL” DRUG OVERDOSE (Deliberate or accidental) from legal, prescribed or patent medicines and/or mixing with alcohol – e.g. Valium/alcohol 14,000 to 27,000
ILLICIT DRUG OVERDOSE (Deliberate or accidental) from all illegal drugs. 3,800 to 5,200
MARIJUANA 0
(Marijuana users also have the same or lower incidence of murders and highway deaths and accidents than the general non-marijuana using population as a whole. Crancer Study, UCLA; U.S. Funded ($6 million), First & Second Jamaican Studies, 1968 to 1974; Costa Rican Studies, 1980 to 1982; et al. LOWEST TOXICITY 100% of the studies done at dozens of American universities and research facilities show pot toxicity does not exist. Medical history does not record anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana. (UCLA, Harvard, Temple, etc.)

Drug Enforcement Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, called marijuana

“one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man,”

and recommended that the drug be made legally available for some medical purposes, including treatment of cancer patients.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Drug Enforcement Administration


In The Matter Of MARIJUANA RESCHEDULING PETITION


Docket No. 86-22


OPINION AND RECOMMENDED RULING, FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE FRANCIS L. YOUNG, Administrative Law Judge


DATED: SEPTEMBER 6, 1988

Section 8 of Judge Young’s “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision.”

Page 56 & 57 Judge Young’s Ruling

3.  The most obvious concern when dealing with drug safety is the possibility of lethal effects.  Can the drug cause death?

4.  Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects.  But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.

This is a remarkable statement. First, the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience.  Second, marijuana is now used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world.  Estimates suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely, albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision.  Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.

6.  By contrast aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths each year.

7.  Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50.  The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity.  A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50 rating in test animals, without success.  Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.

8.  At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000.  In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette.  NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams.  A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

9.  In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.