View attachment 19504 There has never been a single documented primary human fatality from overdosing on cannabis in its natural form in any amount.
When a new drug is being developed, phase two of studying it determines how safe the drug is, what would be a possible therapeutic dose vs. a fatal dose. Remember, the difference between a medicine and a poison is only the dose.
The LD 50 of a drug stands for how much of the substance being tested will kill 50 percent of a population of test subjects by overdose compared to their body mass (rats are used), and the amount of the drug that killed 50 percent is averaged according to animal body weight, and then that information is extrapolated for an average human's weight.
The amount is theoretical, because the test could never be ethically performed in real humans.
When THC is tested for its LD 50 in rats, researchers have a problem: They can't seem to kill the rats with THC, no matter how hard they try! THC is just too damn safe.
According to the Merck Index, 12th edition (the number one reference book for medical doctors), the LD 50 value for rats by inhalation of THC is 42 mg/kg of body weight. Comparing this to an average human being, one estimate of THC's LD 50 for humans indicates that about 1,500 pounds (680 kg) if cannabis would have to be smoked within 14 minutes. Warning: Don't try this at home! In the real world, the only way this could possibly happen would be something like you are trapped in a house made of cannabis, it's engulfed in flames and all the windows and doors are locked -- the mother of all bong rips!)
By contrast, with alcohol, chugging as little as 10 ounces of 100 proof on an empty stomach would likely put a 150-pound person into a coma, possibly leading to respiratory arrest.
Even aspirin can kill you. Moderate toxicity occurs at doses up to 300 mg/kg, severe toxicity occurs between 300 to 500 mg/kg, and a potentially lethal dose is greater than 500 mg/kg, i.e., the LD 50 for a 150-pound person would be approximately 100 to 125 325-mg tabs of aspirin.
Acetaminophen causes three times as many cases of liver failure as all other drugs combined, and is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States -- accounting for 39 percent of all cases. While it occurs through overdosing, even recommended doses, especially combined with even small amounts of alcohol, have caused irreversible liver failure. Four grams of Tylenol -- that is, just eight extra-strength tabs, taken all at once -- kills you by killing your liver.
Have you ever heard of any person committing suicide with a marijuana overdose? No, because it is impossible. If you smoke too much you just fall asleep; that's it.
THC has to be the safest drug known to mankind. Safer than water? Maybe. Ever heard of marathon runners over-hydrating before a race, and inducing a state of hyponaturemia in their bodies (very low sodium serum blood levels), which can induce a fatal cardiac arrythmia? Numbers are hard to find; it only happens to a handful of people a year, but it's serious enough that it's on runners' radar, and they are warned not to over-drink water before a big race.
Here are the 17 commonly prescribed drugs (in four groups) that were compared to marijuana in this study.
#1. Anti-emetics: Drugs to stop vomiting, common with chemotherapy in cancer patients. Examples are Compazine (15 deaths), Reglan (37), Marinol (4), Zofran (79), Anzemet (22), Kytril (36), and Tigan (3). In the 10 year look back, these seven FDA-approved drugs killed a total of 197 people with normal use.
#2. Anti-spasmodics: Drugs to treat muscle spasms, widely used for the treatment of spastic movement disorders, especially in instances of spinal cord injury, spastic diplegia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), peripheral neuropathy and trigeminal. All are very serious medical conditions. Examples of drugs to treat these conditions are Baclofen (72 deaths) and Zanaflex (46 deaths). These two FDA-approved drugs killed a total of 118 people with normal use over 10 years. If there is one group that would benefit greatly from the peaceful effects of the herb, it's these humans who are in such need of joy.
#3. Anti-psychotics: Drugs used to treat psychosis. Haldol (450 deaths), Lithium (175), and Neurotin (968). These three FDA-approved drugs killed a total of 1,595 people with normal use over 10 years.
#4. Others: Drugs for depression, attention deficit disorder, pain, and erectile dysfunction. Ritalin (121), Wellbutrin (1,132), Adderall (54), Viagra (2,254), and Vioxx (4,540). These five FDA-approved drugs killed a total of 8,101 people with normal use over 10 years.
In total, 10,008 deaths due to company-tested drugs, with data reviewed by the FDA and approved for safe use in humans by M.D. prescription only -- vs. unregulated market cannabis, with ZERO deaths, with no M.D. overview, and about 15 percent of the U.S. population who make up the cannabis culture -- with NO recorded "marijuana deaths" in the death certificates or the news? No marijuana deaths, no matter how much you smoke at one time.
It is important to note that cannabis has been prescribed and used for centuries to treat some of these conditions, such as vomiting, muscle spasms, depression, pain control, anti-inflammatory and is somewhat of an aphrodisiac.
It doesn't always work -- but it DOESN'T KILL PEOPLE, EITHER!
Many times just being able to feel happy with no body pain and deep sleep is all a person needs to heal. Pain and suffering decrease immune system function. A big smile on your face turns the immune system on. When you are smiling, you are healing.
This huge psychological impact of cannabis is not recognized for its true worth. The "high" IS the cure!
The deaths recorded in relationship to these 17 FDA-approved drugs are all due to "adverse events." This means anything that caused people to die due to normal therapeutic doses, with the possibility of unforeseen major side effects, or accidental or purposeful overdose (both rare).
Mostly in these cases, people were just taking the normal dose as per doctor's orders and died directly due to the drug only.
Any time you take a prescribed drug, look it up and check its safety record. Remember all the drug commercials you see a hundred times a day? Part one, why you need this drug; part two, all the insane common major side effects -- like death! Hell, I almost died taking Lipitor!
Warning: Never discontinue taking a prescribed medicine on your own. Always talk to your doctor first before changing any drug treatment plan. Always talk with your M.D.; they are on your side.
So remind me again. Why is marijuana illegal?
Why is marijuana a "Schedule I" drug?
Why all the misinformation surrounding marijuana?
Why would drugs with such poor safety records be prescribed?
There is such an irrational resistance to this time-proven, gentle medicine.
(The data above was collected and analyzed by ProCon.org, hxxp://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000145)
Editor's note: Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health education teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Ed, and AIDS education to teens aged 13-17. He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist. He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years. Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011, at 1:20 pm
By Ron Marczyk, R.N.
Health Education Teacher (Retired)