It is a well-known fact that remains the strongest point to prove the safety of cannabis.
Nobody has ever died of cannabis overdose.
It is surely possible to ‘overdose’ on edibles for example and has an unpleasant experience that can last for several hours, however, nobody has ever fatally overdosed on cannabis.
If you happen to get a little higher dose, more than you intended when smoking or vaporizing, you can be assured that any unpleasant effects will go away in up to an hour or so, and you can even help yourself with certain steps when this situation occurs.
Cannabis is the safest therapeutic substance known to humans. So safe, that it is actually easier to die from drinking too much water than from taking too much cannabis.
The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has recently published its Drug of Abuse 2017 report that poses the following question at the section about cannabis (or marijuana as the DEA calls it):
“What are its overdose effects?”
The answer is simply: “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”
It is encouraging to see that the DEA remains truthful in its report, in this case, however, it raises the question why it decided to keep cannabis a Schedule I drug late last year.
Cannabis has remained in Schedule under the Controlled Substances Act meaning that
- it has a high potential for abuse,
- no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and
- lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Cannabis is still in the same class as heroin, and apparently, it has no currently accepted medical use and isn’t safe to use under medical supervision.
If you compare the same overdose question for heroin from the same Drug of Abuse report, it paints a dramatically different picture.
“What are its overdose effects?”
“Because heroin users do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at a high risk of overdose or death. The effects of a heroin overdose are:
Slow and shallow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possible death.”
Even though heroin is in Schedule I, drugs with similar effects seem to be available to the public. The report looks at “Which drugs cause similar effects?”
“Other opioids such as OxyContin®, Vicodin®, codeine, morphine, methadone, and fentanyl can cause similar effects as heroin.”
It is confusing, as heroin can cause coma and possible death and substances with similar effects are approved drugs in pharmacies.
Despite the fact that cannabis has not produced overdose deaths as of today and it is a lot less dangerous than other drugs, and it has been used as a versatile medicine for thousands of years, it still has ‘no accepted medicinal use’.
How could it possibly be true that cannabis and heroin are both in the same category when they can’t even be mentioned on the same page?
The DEA states that the “placement is based upon the substance’s medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability”. It is immediately apparent that cannabis has been placed in Schedule I for reasons other than these reasons.
To be honest, when I read the part on cannabis in the report it made me feel like getting high.
Here are some effects that they list under the “What is its effect on the mind?” section, that made me think they were talking about a medicine, rather than a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use.
“Happiness … relaxation, increased sociability, and talkativeness.
Enhanced sensory perception, giving rise to increased appreciation of music, art, and touch.
Heightened imagination leading to a subjective sense of increased creativity.”
The Harry Anslinger led prohibition made so much damage to cannabis and to society as a result over the years, that the type of confusing information what the report contains are considered to be ok to put out by a government agency.
For now, let’s celebrate that despite the confusing message of the report it does confirm that no deaths have been recorded due to cannabis overdose.