Whether you are for or against it, the legalization of marijuana could be one step closer to approval. A recent study published in Scientific Reports journal compared the health and mortality risks of 10 different substances, including cannabis, alcohol and nicotine, as well as illicit drugs including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy (MDMA) and methamphetamines.
The report compared the effects of a lethal dose of the drug with the dosage typically taken by recreational users. It found that the mortality risk to individuals posed by cannabis was approximately 114 times less than that of alcohol. In fact, cannabis was the only substance to be classified as ‘low risk.’ In contrast, alcohol posed the highest risk to individuals and was ranked alongside nicotine, cocaine and heroin as ‘high risk,’ which could partly be due to its wide availability.
Professor David Nutt, chair of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and former chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said: “The results make perfect sense. The ultra-low mortality of cannabis has long been recognized with health harms greatly exaggerated. I would recommend that cannabis be reinstated as a medicine, as the clear harms are well outweighed by the health benefits.”
However, the report cautioned that regular use of hard drugs was not safer than moderate drinking due to the environmental hazards associated with these drugs, such as dirty needles.