If you’ll weigh public opinion a couple of years ago about cannabis, you’ll probably get a negative consensus. Cannabis has been considered a Gateway drug or even more dangerous than alcohol.
Why? For the past four decades, cannabis prohibition has shaped public opinion on the substance without taking a closer look at the facts.
Fighting Substance Abuse
It has been long established that there are substances that can be considered dangerous to your health. These substances can add up in costs for the government given how it could affect, not only the way you behave, but even prove to be fatal with the right dose.
Risk of drug abuse is a problem that governments deal with. A great amount of money is funneled by the government in order to enforce legislations targeted in preventing addiction and mortality from substances.
But when it comes to marijuana, there are a lot of misconceptions about the particular substance. Over the last four decades, cannabis remained as a federally illegal substance. Over billions have already been wasted in recent years fighting cannabis for no apparent reason. You could argue that pharmaceutical companies have lobbied so in order to keep cannabis from replacing their products.
Changing View On Cannabis
Only recently that a number of governments from all over the world are easing up on cannabis. Over the years, it has been labeled as a dangerous drug that can only do harm to the human body. In fact, in the US, despite the decriminalizing the substance in different states, let’s not forget that cannabis is still considered a schedule 1 substance. That’s the same category as harmful narcotics.
But for starters, Both Colorado and Washington have already legalized the use of recreational cannabis in the US, a move that proponents of cannabis only dream of years ago. In addition to this, 20 plus states have followed to have their own cannabis law. Even the trend of smoking marijuana itself has slowly shifted toward the use of vaporizers.
A New Study
Is there a basis for this move by the different states? A new study shows that cannabis is far less deadly than alcohol. For this particular study, it has proven that using the margin of exposure, cannabis falls under the low risk category.
In this study, researchers made use of seven illicit and licit drugs, comparing the amount it takes to be deadly, and the amount that people will most likely use. Based on this study, alcohol was found to be the deadliest among the substances tested. Given how easy it is to purchase alcohol, not to mention the potential damage it makes, it was found to be the most dangerous substance.
Cannabis on the other hand, falls into the low risk category. According to the study published in Scientific Reports, cannabis is 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Among the other drugs tested were heroin, cocaine, tobacco, ecstasy and meth, in order of deadliest to least deadly.
Why the study wasn’t based on death counts is due to the fact that the potential harm of the drug can be evaluated by the environmental conditions that relate to consumption. For instance, if you’ll be using heroin, you’ll not only deal with the substance but also with needles that could spread infection from one user to the next.
Alcohol vs. Cannabis
In 1988, there was already a study that focused on cannabis’ potential to kill a user. In fact, according to this particular study by the Drug Enforcement Agency, it takes 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of cannabis contained in one cannabis cigarette in order to deliver a deadly dose.
Backing up the old study made by the DEA, it shows how risk of cannabis has been overestimated, while those brought by alcohol have been underestimated. Falling in schedule 1 classification, cannabis has been considered as a substance with no currently accepted medical use, and has a high potential for abuse.
On the other hand, it only takes 15 shots within three to four hours in order to raise the blood alcohol level to 0.35 percent or higher. This amount of alcohol in the blood is already enough to kill a 160 pound grown man.
Also, another reason which makes alcohol a dangerous substance is the fact that in the US alone, 88,000 deaths accounting to 31% of all driving fatalities involve alcohol. It has also been associated with crime rates and even domestic violence.
Alcohol can be openly bought virtually everywhere. And despite the fact that only adults could buy the substance, there are a number of long term and short term effects that alcohol can bring to the table. These effects are damaging not only to the brain, but even to the liver. For instance, blackouts and memory lapses are among the most common side effects that you’ll experience when you take alcohol.
Cirrhosis, heart conditions, along with brain damage are some of the many damages that alcohol can do to the body. For pregnant women, taking alcohol could also have its effect to a child.
Alcohol also has its economic drawback. In the US, excessive drinking damages amount to $223.5 million. Workplace productivity, health care, and criminal justice expenses are just some of the things that make alcohol a tricky problem that we all have to deal with. And what if 18% of adults in the US are said to be drinking excessively?
Why this study is crucial in pushing cannabis towards becoming legal?
What makes the study crucial at this point is the fact that cannabis is still considered federally illegal. Fortunately, new studies, and evidence have opened the eyes of people and government that have opposed cannabis legalization for years.
What this study shows is how safe cannabis is. Cannabis legalization in Colorado proved how it doesn’t affect criminal behavior of those who are taking the substance either for medical or recreational purpose.
Also, this should also trigger more studies regarding cannabis. Now that it has been used not only in the US but also in other countries for medical purpose, this could even spark interest to look closely whether or not cannabis can be a good or a bad medical option.
Also, this study is a wakeup call for all the lawmakers. Do we really have to fear cannabis? Given the potential that it has medically, as well as the economic benefits waiting for states that have legalized cannabis, this study even solidifies the argument for people who backed cannabis.