Scientists Claim One Joint Per Week Won't Harm Your Health

By McCarton Ackerman 06/22/15

The Safe Use Limits app offer guidelines on how to safely use marijuana.

doctor joint.jpg
Take one and call me next week. Shutterstock

Plenty of medical studies have argued that an occasional glass of wine or beer won’t harm your health, but a new app is now making the same argument for marijuana.

The surprising claim comes from a panel of scientists who have launched the Safer Use Limits app, allegedly the world’s first-ever guidelines on how to safely consume drugs. They collected data from more than 40,000 cannabis users who participated in the Global Drugs Survey and found that smoking one low-dose marijuana joint per week makes it highly unlikely that long-term health problems will develop.

The app currently provides guidelines on safe consumption for marijuana and will do the same in the coming months for MDMA, ketamine, and cocaine. It also quizzes users on the quantity and frequency of their specific drug use. A website for the app has also been launched.

“The Global Drugs Survey states categorically that the only way to avoid all harm from drug use is to not use them whatsoever. However, it’s not a very practical goal for people who like to indulge in drugs,” said Dr. Adam Winstock, creator of the app and a lecturer at King’s College in London. “The risks of experiencing harm from using drugs can actually be massively reduced for most people with the right set of advice.”

New research from the Global Drugs Survey revealed 40% of cannabis users smoked it at least 100 times per year, putting them at risk for lower forms of harm in memory, mood and motivation. About 5% of users smoked daily, putting them at high risk for dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Just under 1% of users had been hospitalized due to their cannabis consumption.

Safe substance consumption isn’t an entirely new concept. Alternatives, an outpatient rehab in Beverly Hills, claims that they can teach patients how to safely moderate their alcohol and drug use. Dr. Adi Jaffe, the executive director of Alternatives, has even sat with patients as they’ve consumed drugs.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.