It's a long-held belief, not just among stoners, that marijuana is the safest drug. A new scientific study comparing the risks associated with various drugs backs this up, and proves that weed might even be safer than we thought.

The study looked at alcohol, heroin, cocaine, tobacco, ecstasy, meth, and cannabis; the way they appear in that sentence is the order in which they ranked, highest to lowest risk. Reports the Washington Post:

At the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.

And all the way at the bottom of the list? Weed โ€” roughly 114 times less deadly than booze, according to the authors, who ran calculations that compared lethal doses of a given substance with the amount that a typical person uses. Marijuana is also the only drug studied that posed a low mortality risk to its users.


In other words, it's pretty darn difficult to fatally OD on pot.

The study's findings, the Post points out, emphasize how arbitrary drug laws are, since the substance that carries the highest risk of death is legal, easily purchased, and a socially-acceptable part of culture. The findings may also give some ammo to the marijuana-legalization cause.

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."


Read the full scientific paper in Scientific Reports here.

Photo by Brett Levin