Cannabis is Harmless
Within this particular article, we will be exploring one of the most common misconceptions about cannabis. Please note this piece is heavily opinion based, however, we will attempt to support all points with facts or a logical way for you to see how we went from point A to B.
“Cannabis is Harmless when Compared to Alcohol or Tobacco”This myth coming from the more groovy side of the aisle, but does not exempt it from being a furry werewolf. This myth is commonly spouted by the pro-legalization side of the cannabis debate.
The Truths Behind the Werewolf
The Impossibility of Fatal OverdosesThe truth behind the myth is that from direct consumption of regular dry flower cannabis it takes roughly 700 times the amount of what it took to get you high to result in a lethal overdose. This also must be consumed within a 60 minute period. So if it takes you a big hit from a joint to get high (~0.10g), you would need to smoke roughly 70g, or 2.5 ounces or ~$500 worth of cannabis within an hour. Best of luck on this. We would also like to note that these numbers are on the low end of the dispute of how much it takes. Some articles and websites will say 7000 times, some say it is based on body weight, which is flawed as the giant squirrel can tell you. Edibles & Cannabis Concentrate, also known as Shatter or Dabs, do have a higher potential for a lethal overdose, however still to this date, there has not been a single case of lethal overdose from either edible cannabis products or cannabis concentrates.
The Big Cat Comparisons
Cannabis Comparison with AlcoholThe body will react to the potential overdose, much like alcohol poisoning. The reason you puke if you drink too much is your body reacting to the overdose by trying to expel the foreign substance that is posing the threat from your body. Cannabis has a similar reaction if you smoke or ingest too much. However, the overdose symptoms usually make you extremely sleepy or nauseous before your body chooses to start puking. Regardless of either symptom will make you want to stop consuming. While it is practically impossible to die from direct cannabis use in any of it’s forms. In comparison; “between 2009 and 2011, an average of 232 deaths per year from alcohol poisoning occurred in Canadians 15 years of age and older” (Source, Page 20). This does not include the number of people dying from diseases relating to long term alcohol usage or from accidents caused by driving under the influence as that would skew the results significantly, by comparing Apples you bought last week to Apples you will be buying next month. Unfortunately, there is not much research on the long term effects of cannabis use/abuse. Although the general consensus is that the long term effects are less detrimental to the user, this does not mean they are non-existent but will need more research. This is the main reason we omitted those results for diseases. We omitted the drinking and driving related deaths because this is not from alcohol consumption, this is from bad decision making. The beer didn’t put the keys in your hand, but it was the one who beat your liver up.
Cannabis Comparison with TobaccoRegardless of what it might be, when you burn something and inhale the smoke it is not good for you. Carcinogens and toxins exist in all types of smoke. Cannabis smokers normally inhale deeper and hold for longer, this results in more exposure per breath than tobacco smokers according to the American Lung Association, however, they do neglect to mention that while the exposure to these toxins and carcinogens are greater on the per inhale level, the frequency of inhaling is significantly less than a smoker. There is a reason a “normal” user of cannabis wouldn’t carry around 25 king-sized joints to smoke through a single day, however, it is common for a tobacco smoker to go through a pack of smokes a day. Like with cannabis, nobody has directly died from tobacco smoke. We are excluding lung cancer and other diseases, just like we did with alcohol as we should not compare Apples from last week to Apples from next month. While tobacco has been directly linked to cancer in the lungs and in general has other linked health issues, for this comparison tobacco has not killed anyone directly. Addiction is the main comparative issue with tobacco, after quitting over a decade ago, the giant squirrel will still get a random craving for a cigarette, it is possible and likely this is entirely mental and not physical, however, these cravings usually come along at random times that are not the result of mental stress. Being addicted, mentally and physically, to something that you have a desire to consume 25 times a day is a much more prevalent health risk than another substance that you could be mentally addicted to but are consuming significantly less. The probability of cannabis being physically addictive is fairly low as almost all studies show that there is no physical withdrawal symptoms, but again studies are lacking in this area in general.
Shaving the WerewolfWhile a majority of people agree that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco the above statement is essentially comparing a newborn lynx to an adult tiger and adult lion. That new kitty might not be so harmless, but we need to let it grow up to find out. The potential harms of cannabis are still being researched, but some include;
Schizophrenia for heavy or long term users
Possible triggering of pre-existing mental disorders due to the effects of THC
Serious mental addiction to the euphoric state
Loss of overall focus or ambition or drive