Photo Credit: KWSO

Risk of Cannabis, Overestimated in the Past

People are 114 times more likely to die from overdosing on alcohol than they are from cannabis.

A study conducted by a team of investigators from Canada and Germany in the journal “Nature: Scientific Reports” concluded that the purported dangers of cannabis have been overestimated, while dangers of legal substances, most especially alcohol have been underestimated.

The international team of investigators conducted a comparative risk assessment of various substances, including cannabis, cocaine, tobacco and alcohol and discovered ‘that among the tested substances,’ cannabis possessed the least risk while alcohol possessed the highest risk.’ Pot may be as much as 114 times safer than alcohol, based on the study, which also maintained that past research into alcohol has underestimated the harms linked to its use.

The said report, as published at Nature.com, compared the associated risk with ten (10) substances through the margin of exposure approach (MEO), a method comparing lethal drug dose consumed/taken by recreational users.


The study found that mortality risks posed by cannabis were 114 times less than that of alcohol. In fact, it was the only substance classified as low risk opposite of alcohol classified as high risk, alongside cocaine, heroin and nicotine.


Backing the results up, a study conducted by the School of Behavioral and Organizational Science produced the same results (and rankings): Cannabis is safer than other recreational drugs like alcohol (Claremont Graduate University, 2003)


And the final say goes to Professor David Nutt (former chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) who stated that ‘the results made perfect sense and that the ultra-low mortality of cannabis had long been recognized with exaggerated health harms.’


Nutt recommended that cannabis be reinstated as a medicine (as acknowledged by the House of Lords in 2001) because the clear harms are outweighed by its plenty of health benefits.

Photo Credit: KWSO

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