A new study published in a subsidiary of the Nature journal, Scientific Reports, found that marijuana is safer for users than a range of other substances, moreso than researchers previously believed. The study suggests that "risk management" should be redirected to legal alcohol and tobacco rather than mostly illegal marijuana.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the study attempted to discover "the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances." The study found that the deadliest substance, on an individual basis, was alcohol, followed by heroin, cocaine, and tobacco. From the Washington Post:
Given the relative risks associated with marijuana and alcohol, the authors recommend "risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs." And they say that when it comes to marijuana, the low amounts of risk associated with the drug "suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach."
The study also discovered that marijuana is 114 times less deadly than alcohol, which researchers were able to quantify by comparing lethal doses of certain substances to an amount used by a typical consumer of each drug. Through this, researchers learned that marijuana came with the lowest mortality risk to users out of all the drugs they studied (alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and meth among them).
As the Post points out, however, weed is not "safe" just because it's less deadly than other drugs:
There are any number of risks associated with marijuana use. Most of these risks involve mental health issues, and most increase the earlier you start using and the more frequently you use.
[Image via AP]