Is Marijuana Safe?
How Safe is Marijuana
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is actually a remarkably safe drug. Despite the fact that THC and other cannabinoids are the primary, active ingredients, there’s no study that suggests that its lethal. Other psychoactive drugs (like alcohol, aspirin, opiates, nicotine, and caffeine) have been known to cause fatal overdoses, but marijuana has never had that kind of effect. In 1988, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s own administrative judge, Francis Young, wrote, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to mankind.”
Various experiments on animals have shown that a lethal dose of cannabis would have to be 20,000 to 40,000 times a regular dose (or, about 40 to 80 pounds of marijuana). No deaths from cannabis overdose have ever been recorded.
Marijuana’s inherent safety can be explained by how it reacts in the body. Recently, scientists have discovered that the active ingredients in marijuana (the cannabinoids) work on a signaling system in the human body known as the endogenous cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid) system. This system has receptor cells in various places throughout the brain and body, but the cells are practically absent in the brainstem. The brainstem controls important functions like breathing and heartbeat which essentially ensures that strong doses of marijuana will not endanger one’s life.