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Official Marijuana 100 Study Is Less Toxic Than Alcohol And Safer Than Tobacco

Once again, research confirms what many already knew - yet it is an important step forward: A new scientific study has investigated the toxicity of various drugs and found that marijuana emerges as the clear winner; As it turns out, marijuana is significantly less harmful than any other substance studied - including not only illegal drugs, but also alcohol and tobacco, both LEGAL drugs. The full report follows.

Marijuana use in the United States

Marijuana is colloquially referred to as grass or Kif and consists of dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant Cannabis sativa. Statistics released by the US Institute for Drug Abuse show that more than half (18%) of marijuana respondents aged 25 to 51.90 have used it. In the other age groups, this proportion is lower, 16.40% of respondents aged between 12 to 17 years and 45% of respondents to 26 years reported that they had used marijuana. [1]

In more than half of US states, marijuana use is prohibited by law, either as a luxury or medicinal product. In 2015, only 21 US states and the District of Columbia had enacted laws that recognize and permit the medicinal use of the plant. [2]

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Numerous studies prove that positive medical benefit of marijuana for pain, sleep disorders and for general well-being. A study by Trip, et al. (2014) found that marijuana improved mood in patients with prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain, eased pain and muscle spasm, and improved sleep quality. [3] Data from a recent study from 2015 by Degenhardt, et al. Marihuana in combination with prescription opiates has been shown to have a markedly pain-relieving effect in patients with chronic non-cancer pain. [4] These studies explain why marijuana is so popular in people suffering from acute or chronic pain.

On the other hand, studies on the negative effects of marijuana have also been carried out. One of them was released to 2014, the study examined the harmful effects of smoking marijuana, especially with regard to lung cancer risk. [5] The study could only prove that smoke (and not cannabis itself) damages the lung tissue. This problem can be solved simply by taking marijuana with another method.

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Risk assessment of marijuana and other substances

Is marijuana really as dangerous as legislation suggests? The intoxicating effect of marijuana, though in different ways, is no more serious than that of mild to moderate alcohol consumption - a substance that is nowhere illegal in the United States or most other countries in the world. A study by Lechenmeier and Rehm [6] published in January 2015 compared the risk of various 'mind-altering' substances, specifically alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs such as heroin. Surprisingly, the study found that cannabis was the least critical substance. And what substance had proven to be the most dangerous drug? Alcohol.

How did this result come about? The study used a method called Margin of Exposure (MOE), which is not comparable to other studies that simply attempt to establish a causal relationship between two factors - (1) drug use / abuse and (2) Mortality. The MOE method is different; it examines the relationship between the estimated (average) consumption and the reference dose (or toxicological threshold). Basically, this is the ratio between the typical amount that people consume and the dose at which the substance becomes dangerous - which is a better measure of how dangerous a substance can become. The higher the MOE, the higher the substance appears on the list.

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The results of the study were clear: Alcohol came in first place, followed by heroin, cocaine, nicotine, MDMA, methamphetamine, methadone, amphetamine, diazepam and THC (or marijuana). Since marijuana has the lowest value (more than 100 times less toxic than alcohol), it can be assumed that its effects on health and society have been largely overestimated. Hardly a plant was misunderstood more than marijuana-or perhaps deliberately defamed.

It is important to note that the study measured the toxic effects of the substances and does not take into account any social impact of drug use. The result, however, is a clear indication that the marijuana policy is obsolete and needs reassessment - which is starting to happen. This is good news for the plant as well as for the use of natural remedies in general.

Credentials:

[1] National Institute of Drug Abuse (2014). Marijuana. http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

[2] Pacula, R., et. al. (2015). Assessing the Effects of Medical Marijuana Laws on Marijuana Use: The Devil is in the Details. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315233/

[3] Tripp, D., et. al. (2014). A survery of cannabis use and self-reported benefit in men with chronic prostatitis / chronic pelvic pain syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277530/

[4] Degenhardt, L., et. al. (2015). Experience on adjunctive cannabis use for chronic non-cancer pain: Findings form the Pain and Opioids IN Treatment (POINT) study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25533893

[5] Underner, M., et. al. (2014). Cannabis smoking and lung cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25012035

[6] Lachen Meier, D. & Rehm, J. (2015). Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234/

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