Marijuana Safer than Booze

Scientists confirm that marijuana, whether medical or recreational, is safer than both alcohol and tobacco. One of the considerations that went into this statement has to do with the lethal dose determinations.

When it comes to determining the danger of various drugs, there is a need to compare the lethal dose to the standard dose. How much do you need to get high, versus how much will kill you. One of the dangers of addiction with a chemical tolerance component, has to do with the fact that a higher tolerance means a higher consumption. In the case of drugs with a low ration of needed to get high to lethal dose, increased consumption can mean higher fatalities due to what people call overdose.

Let’s take a look at alcohol:

One drink is defined as:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

Mixed drinks may contain more than one serving of alcohol and take even longer to metabolize.  – Mayo Clinic

Alcohol Poisoning:

Ethanol’s acute effects are due largely to its nature as a central nervous system depressant, and are dependent on blood alcohol concentrations:

  • 20–79 mg/dL – Impaired coordination and euphoria

  • 80–199 mg/dL – Binge drinking: Ataxia, poor judgement, labile mood. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines the term “binge drinking” as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dL or above.[2]

  • 200–299 mg/dL – Marked ataxia, slurred speech, poor judgement, labile mood, nausea and vomiting

  • 300–399 mg/dL – Stage 1 anaesthesia, memory lapse, labile mood

  • 400+ mg/dL – Respiratory failure, coma – Wikipedia 

Assuming a woman weighing 145 lbs, 5 beers in the space of one hour would amount to a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.140 or 140 mg/dL. If you are drinking mixed drinks, the rate of imbibing might be a lot faster. The chance of consuming a fatal dose of alcohol is not just within the realm of possibility, but actually occurs commonly.

When it comes to marijuana the ratio between standard dose and lethal dose is extremely high. From personal experience before you even came close to experiencing a lethal dose, you would be passed out and possibly snoring.

Let me tell you a story from personal experience. A some time ago, I decided to try using cannabutter made into cookies in order to medicate. I had planned it as sort of the crowning glory for a special dinner. One of the things I had not considered was the fact that cookies take longer to cause an effect than smoking does, and also that when the munchies kick in, you want to make sure you don’t have a full plate of cookies in front of you.

I ate two cookies on the outset and decided to wait. It took a while, over an hour before I felt something. It seemed like a pretty weak feeling, which is what I expected with my digestive issues. So I decided to vape a little bit, just so that I could feel safe about digesting my lavish dinner. When it finally hit, I forgot all about my lavish dinner. The plate of cookies in front of me looked mighty yummy. I had two more cookies, and shortly thereafter, we called it a night and went to sleep. That was lucky for me, because I would not have wanted to be awake when the full dose hit me, considering how I felt the next morning.

If you’ve ever been so dizzy that you couldn’t walk straight and were walking into walls, you have some idea of how I felt. I am pretty sure the very air tasted purple. Unfortunately for me, I have motion sickness, so the walls spinning was not very good for my stomach. I made it to the bathroom before I threw up and then waddled back to bed. I didn’t wake up again until 4 pm, and I was still high when I woke up.

Despite my unpleasant experience, I was not even close to a dangerous dose, though an argument could be made for the potential danger of dehydration when it came t having thrown up. The dry mouth when I woke up took care of that pretty effectively.

Even in the case of driving, preliminary studies suggest that the impairing effects of marijuana have less impact on driving that similar levels of alcohol. Indeed as the impairing effects increase, the desire to drive seems to steadily decrease.

The simple truth is that while yes marijuana is not completely benign, it is on par or better than many of the things that are currently not only legal, but accepted as social lubricants. The campaign to criminalize marijuana has yielded nothing but failure and help fund more severe crimes. Legalization has the potential of creating positive social change by reducing crime rates, destabilizing organized crimes such as drug cartels, reduce racialized prison sentences, increase medical applications and prices for patients, and more.

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