Study Finds Marijuana Is 114 Times Safer Than Booze

By May Wilkerson 03/09/15

The study underscored the idea that our drug laws lack a scientific basis.

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Stoners have been saying it for years: booze is far more dangerous than pot, and science has now stepped up to confirm the idea.

A new study finds that not only is marijuana less risky than other recreational drugs, like alcohol and cocaine, but it may be significantly safer than previously thought. Researchers quantified the risk of death from commonly used drugs by comparing lethal doses of a substance with the amount that someone typically uses. They found alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin, cocaine, and tobacco.

Marijuana was found to be the least risky drug by a long shot. It’s about 114 times less deadly than alcohol, researchers said, and it was the only substance in the study with a low mortality risk to users.

The findings lend further evidence to the fact that drug laws in this country often “lack scientific basis,” said the study authors. Since recreational marijuana is still illegal throughout most of the country, while adults can legally drink alcohol in all 50 states.

Legislation, with a little help from the media, tends to focus excessively on the risks associated with illicit drugs. But based on the study’s findings, the authors recommend shifting focus to "risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs." Given the low risks associated with marijuana, they say it’s time for a “strict legal regulatory approach” in place of the outdated prohibition approach.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.