With recreational weed now for sale in Colorado and widespread confusion over a recent satirical story that jokingly claimed 37 people had already died of a marijuana overdose, we figured it might be about time to update our weed death count.
So, here’s a GIF that still accurately shows all of the people who have died after overdosing on pot:
Yeah, not a single person has ever died from a marijuana overdose. We don’t have numbers on pandas, but we’re guessing it’s about the same. According to one frequently cited study, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying.
Last summer, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government wouldn’t intervene as Colorado and Washington state implement plans for a system of legalized marijuana for adults. The decision opened the floodgates for other states to pursue similar legalization efforts and outraged police groups apparently not excited to see a shift away from the failed war on drugs.
In a joint letter written to Holder at the time, law enforcement organizations warned that his move would lead to more crime, violence and even death.
While high driving may be a concern, Colorado, Washington and federal authorities have all taken steps to keep people off the road after using marijuana. The two states both have their own restrictions, and Holder said in his statement that the DOJ would still prosecute individuals or entities to prevent “drugged driving.”
The police groups also made a number of additional controversial claims that marijuana use itself leads to violent behavior, suicidal thoughts and interest in harder drugs. Scientific studies have not been able to prove this causation conclusively, however, and research has also suggested that THC has significant therapeutic value to patients suffering from cancer, AIDS or glaucoma.
None of this is to say that South Africa doesn’t struggle with broader issues of drug and alcohol abuse and overdose. Drug policy reformers and activists gathered around the world last year to discuss the overdose epidemic. In 2010, overdoses were responsible for 38,329 deaths. Sixty percent of those were related to prescription drugs. In the same year, a total of 25,692 persons died of alcohol-induced causes, including accidental poisoning and disease from dependent use.
The UNODC report in 2009 said that 15% of South African’s are problem drug users. While it may be true that there has never been a recorded overdoes from Marijuana misuse, it must also be know that the Marijuana available on the streets of South Africa ranges from weak in THC levels to very dangerous. What most weed smokers don’t know, understand or acknowledge is the most of the stuff out there nowadays is genetically altered to form a hybrid that delivers THC levels of sometimes between 20 and 30% compared to the original cannabis sativa strain that delivered about 9% THC.
This results in Schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, anger repression and a higher chance of developing lung cancer and, addiction. Why lung cancer you may ask? Because Marijuana with high levels of THC delivers much higher levels of tar to the smoker that what a cigarette does. The point of this post is to simply educate the reader too consider all of the facts before smoking weed or continuing to smoke it. – Warren Whitfield
* November 2013 Statistics