FDA claims Marijuana is NOT less toxic than alcohol
September 2nd, 2013
Categories : Blog
Some are still stuck in a stage of denial and try to refute scientific facts with fictional evidence... may sound biased, but so far scientific studies and cold hard figures show that marijuana IS safer than alcohol.
First of all, one has to understand how to make rough comparisons of the acute lethality risk of various drugs. Robert Gable, an emeritus professor of psychology at Claremont Graduate University published this simple equation below in 2011 after studying the toxicity levels of substances ranging from soft drugs such as marijuana to hard drugs such as heroin. According to Robert Gable, the study showed that "marijuana is about 100 times safer than alcohol or cocaine."
a) Determining the effective dose of the drug. For alcohol for example, 33 grams of ethyl alcohol, which equals to about two 1.5oz (4cl) shots of 80-proof vodka or 2 12oz (0.35l) beers, are sufficient to cause a substantial inebriation in a normally healthy teenager.
b) Determining the lethal dose of the drug. Hospital records show that people dying from an alcohol overdose have usually consumed about 330 grams of alcohol, the equivalent of 20 shots of vodka.
c) Determining the "safety margin" of the drug. This is calculated by dividing the lethal dose by the effective dose. For our example, this means b)(330 grams) : a)(33 grams) = 10. This means the lethal dose of alcohol is 10x higher than the effective dose - or 20 12oz beers or 20 1.5oz shots. For marijuana, the quotient is 100.
Back on topic ...
In response to an ad by The Marijuana Policy Project that was supposed to air outside the NASCAR Brickyard 400 in July (read the article here), the National Institute on Drug Abuse released an eyebrow-raising statement that denies that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol to PolitiFact on Monday. The institute is part of the National Institutes of Health, an organization that funds research of government-based facilities with only one goal in mind: "To lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction."
The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that "the claim that marijuana is less toxic can not be backed because each drug has a different effect for a given individual."
Yeah, I guess some of you are already shaking their head ...
So, PolitiFact cut it to the chase and put that claim to task by comparing the toxicity levels of the two substances; marijuana-related deaths versus alcohol-related deaths. And the figures of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics show an uncomfortable imbalance between the claim of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and cold hard reality.
In 2010, there were zero reports listing marijuana as a (direct) cause of death and 41,682 alcohol-related deaths.
Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Huffington Post that the institutes's claim would be a new low for them and that their statement would be equivalent of "the FDA announcing sushi is as fattening as fried chicken." Mason added that "at this point, after decades of exaggerating the potential dangers of marijuana, the government has gone off the deep end" and that "this gross negligence on the agency's part should be addressed by the White House immediately."
Tvert is quoted as saying "It is one thing for our federal officials to convey their opposition to a marijuana policy reform. It is an entirely different and more disturbing situation when they are conveying opposition to scientific evidence."