Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Study: Pot safer than alcohol, all other drugs


Provided by Newser
Up at night worried whether marijuana is fatal? Then rest easy: New research says it ranks low on a list of recreational drugs and alcohol—at the bottom, in fact, the Washington Post reports.

Researchers figured the fatality risk of these substances by comparing lethal doses to the amount people normally consume. The deadliest was 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 completely 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 arguments that marijuana is OK because it's "natural" and "medicinal" don't add up, either (rattlesnake venom is also natural, 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." (See why stoners are safer drivers than drunks.)

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