Drug OD fatalities up for 11th consecutive year; not one was due to marijuana

Federal data to be released this week through the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th year in a row. Most were accidents involving prescription painkillers: specifically, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin which are commonly prescribed for pain management, and are widely abused. Those two drugs contributed to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths, according to the report.

Not one single death in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data set was due to overdosing on marijuana.

Why? Generally speaking, because of the way cannabis affects the human brain and nervous system, it is not medically possible to OD on marijuana—though you're welcome to try, and unconfined munchies could certainly cause some damage. Not that death by Doritos would be such an awful thing...

And yet in federal law, with the data once again proving that pot is non-lethal, cannabis remains classified as a schedule 1 drug. That classification means there are no federally-recognized medical applications for pot, while prescription drugs proven yet again to be potentially deadly when abused remain readily and legally available.

As an aside, it's lulzy to note that in the letter of the DEA's law, it's spelled "marihuana." Both the spelling of the law and the logic behind it are antiquated.

Photo: Shutterstock


      1.  The spelling is outdated, so that leads me to conclude that no one has REALLY proofread that document for some time now.  But then, the attitude it is outdated as well.  *sigh*

  1. I bet a good chunk of those are from acetaminophen,  until recently, the maximum 24 hour dose (both over the counter and prescription) was 4g, the 50% chance of a new liver dose was only 10g, so accidental is quite easy.

    1. Indeed. And when you consider that various forms of opioids contain acetominophen, which not all patients know, the chances of an OD from this seemingly benign drug go up even more.

      1. Kaiser started routinely dispensing 5/325 (hydrocodone/ acetaminophen) instead of 5/500 a couple of months ago.

    2. And how many people mix their pills with a beer or glass or two of wine? Not a great recipe if you don’t realize you’re slamming acetaminophen.

      1. The other problem is that a whole bunch of cold remedy type medications contain acetaminophen. People take a couple of those plus two Vicodin plus a couple of hot toddies.

      1. Yup, depends on where you are in the world. When I went looking for some acetaminophen while on vacation in the UK, I ended up buying ibuprofen because I had no idea what all that paracetamol stuff was.

        1. I’ve got two questions on the subject, and this seems to be a good spot for one of them.

          Under what situation does acetaminophen/paracetamol work better than ibuprofen?

          I understand that A/P is considered “safer” (for only some values of safe, obviously) because it is less likely to react with other drugs than ibuprofen is, but I’ve never met anyone who felt it actually WORKED well….i.e., eased their pain sufficiently.

          So for people who are careful about dosage, etc., what would be the reason to ever choose A/P over ibuprofen?

          1. Some people can’t take ibuprofen because of allergies. It can also increase bleeding. It causes stomach upsets for a lot of people. Various analgesics work better or worse for different people and for different kinds of pain.

          2. Thanks!

            I assume the bleeding stems from being a derivative of aspirin? Probably the allergies too.

            So, I’m trying to pick those two details apart (side effects & pain relief). If ibuprofen doesn’t cause any of the negative side effects for a particular patient, would it then be the preferred OTC pain reliever in almost all cases? I can imagine there are a few outliers who find Tylenol works better than aspirin or ibuprofen, but is it a significant number? As I said, I’ve never met anyone who felt Tylenol (without codeine) worked for them. I know it’s a total waste of dosage for me. Not even the slightest reduction of any type of pain. As far as I can tell, that seems to be the norm, not the exception.

            One of the reasons I’m certain I don’t really understand this is because paracetamol seems to be the painkiller of choice in Britain, rather than ibuprofen. Are they so different from people in the US? (short answer: no)

  2. I suppose a bale dropped out of a plane could fall on someone and cause serious injury.  And the munchies might increase the risk of choking to death.  Chew that pizza thoroughly before trying to swallow, people!

  3. I detect an implied false dichotomy in the next-to-last paragraph: 
    “That classification means there are no federally-recognized medical applications for pot, while prescription drugs proven yet again to be potentially deadly remain readily and legally available.” Drugs aren’t either useful OR deadly as the wording seems to imply. Most useful drugs ARE deadly in some dosage or delivery. Just because it would be darned near impossible to kill yourself with “marihuana” doesn’t make it useful. Just because the opioid/acetaminophen combinations can kill you doesn’t keep them from being useful. Whether a schedule III like vicodin should be so easy to obtain is a completely separate discussion from whether a schedule I drug has met the threshold of usefulness to be moved to a schedule II or III.

    I’ve got no argument with the general sentiment of the piece, I just think that the world is better served when we use well-reasoned, logical, and appropriately nuanced arguments instead of appeals to emotion.

    1. Huh?

      Your comment confuses me, and doesn’t reflect the spirit of the post.

      I am a cancer patient. My doctors have prescribed Oxycodone and Vicodin and the like a number of times for pain, including post-operative pain after surgery. I used them as directed. It did what it said on the tin. Opiates and Opioids are very powerful medicine, and they can be very helpful. I will use them again if my doctors tell me to. I hope I don’t have to do that any time soon. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ride.

      But I digress.

      Cannabis can also be helpful in a clinical setting, is my point. And it does not possess the ability to kill via OD.

      Not “pot is good, prescription pills are bad.”

      But, pot doesn’t cause drug OD deaths, and other legal drugs can and do.

      As an aside, some cancer patients with severe pain conditions find that using pot *with* opioids in carefully titrated doses can help reduce the amount of opioids needed to achieve pain relief, and hasten the point at which opioids can be ended. This was my experience.

      1. And marijuana probably helps with the transition and withdrawal once you stop taking the opioids.  If you have to take opioids for any real length of time, you will probably experience withdrawal symptoms.

        1. Can say from first-hand experience, cannabis was VERY helpful in my transition from long-term opiate use (prescribed) The, no other help, cold-turkey kind of transition.

          1.  Really? As an ex-user, I’ve always found the opposite; that dope was an unpleasant experience after using heroin (certainly whilst turkeying). Even now, years later, I still find dope mildly unpleasant most of the time, which prior to using opiates I didn’t at all.

          2. Everyone is different. Not everyone can drink alcohol and smoke, for instance, without getting the spins, but that doesn’t happen for me at all.

            I’ve done my share of “legal heroin” (for medical reasons, I swear! lol!) while smoking green and really, it made no difference, except the next day when I felt really cracked out and the weed totally helped. But, I’m a long-term smoker, which I think makes a big difference.

        2. http://www.rawilsonfans.com/articles/burroughs.htm

          In Mexico, Burroughs began his first serious attempt to kick the habit. He tried an’ unfortu­nate approach frequently recommended by junkies, the “liquor withdrawal.” You stay drunk all through the first 5 days of pain and agony, and for as long as possible afterwards, taking whiskey every time your cells cry out for junk. Charlie Parker, the great jazz musician, went insane trying to kick heroin this way and landed in a state hospital. Burroughs blanked out for several days, came to standing in a bar pointing a gun at a total stranger. He was furiously angry without knowing why and ready to kill the man, but a cop appeared and disarmed him. Then he came down with uremic poisoning (caused by alcoholism) and in agony took some paregoric from a sympathetic junkie. ….. Bur­roughs was hooked again.
          . He tried “liquor withdrawal” a second time a few months later and shot his wife……”I was just crazy drunk,” he says, “and didn’t know the gun was loaded.” The death was pronounced accidental. ……He took off for Tangier, French North Africa,….Ten times he tried to kick the habit, trying accepted techniques and inventing some of his own. He tried the quick-reduction method, went through unmitigated hell, and relapsed. He tried a slow reduction, and found that it merely spread the pain over 2 months instead of 10 days. He tried using antihistamines during with­drawal, cortisone during withdrawal, Thorazine and resperine during withdrawal: The pain was always hideous, and relapse always followed. Once he tried using marijuana during with­drawal; it was an unspeakable nightmare. Marijuana, like all the consciousness-expanding drugs, magnifies and intensifies every experience. ……The aches, twitches, cramps, chills, fevers, nausea, diarrhea, and hallucinations of opiate withdrawal were all increased a thousand-fold and Burroughs almost died of shock and exhaustion…….
          Another time he tried the method known as “prolonged sleep,” in which the doctor keeps the patient unconscious with barbiturates for the first 5 days (the worst days) of withdrawal. …. Burroughs woke up in hell-the most painful of all his withdrawals. He is convinced that his acute pain on that occasion was the result of barbiturate withdrawal superimposed on top of opiate withdrawal. (Barbiturate ad­dicts suffer even worse on withdrawal than opiate addicts. Sometimes they die.) Two weeks later he was still too weak to walk. He relapsed almost immediately after release…….

          1. Marijuana doesn’t magnify things for me, though, at all, and trust me, I have experience. :P  But I’m a regular, sometimes daily (depends on how busy/broke I am), and I think that makes a difference, too.

      2. In my interpretation, your last paragraph directly conflates non-lethality with whether or not marijuana should be legal. That’s not really the purview of the controlled substances act; the placement on a particular schedule is ONLY supposed to reflect some balance between medically accepted use, potential for abuse, and potential for dependence.

        I 100% agree with Sam Ley below that the government is probably NOT following the spirit or letter of the law with respect to marijuana. But arguments about safety are a totally different issue when arguing whether marijuana should be removed from Schedule I.It’s not my intent to pedantic and I am as pro-common-sense marijuana policy as the average boing-boing reader. That being said, I think the “it’s safe” argument is an emotional rather than legal argument at this stage of the game. 

        1. You:

          your last paragraph directly conflates non-lethality with whether or not marijuana should be legal. That’s not really the purview of the controlled substances act; the placement on a particular schedule is ONLY supposed to reflect some balance between medically accepted use, potential for abuse, and potential for dependence.

          The Controlled Substances Act:

          Schedule I substances are those that have the following findings:

          The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

          The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

          There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

          So can you please fucking stop now.

        2. It’s not my intent to pedantic

          Whether or not it’s your intent it’s exactly what you’re doing.  I don’t think there’s any mystery to what Xeni was arguing in the passage in question.

    2. While you can pick a syntactic false dichotomy out of the statement with tweezers, in this case (referring specifically to marijuana), it is not false. Oxycodone is useful and deadly, and Schedule III. Marijuana is useful and NOT deadly, yet is Schedule I. Even the NIH has routinely confirmed that there are valid medical uses of marijuana, and it is safer than many alternatives – its presence on the Schedule I list is blatantly in violation of the intent of the law.

      1. The intent of the original law was racism. Look into its history and you will find that it was outlawed for fears that it would cause black men to rape white women. Quoting the man that lead the campaign to make it illegal, Harry J. Anslinger:

        The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.


        There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S. and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.

        He also attacked communists and pacifists.

        1. You are right, but the primary target of this racism was Mexicans who had brought the practice with them from Mexico. Marijuana laws then were equivalent to Arizona’s racist ID laws today… except then it was to deport legal residents as well.

          ‘Git them Mexicans

          1. To be fair, he’s right about jazz being “satanic”. The eleventh circle of hell almost certainly contains someone noodling around at the very upper ranges of the saxophone that no non-satanic person would consider using. 

            Sorry jazz lovers but, y’know, you’re going to hell, there it is.

  4. But you see, the lack of negative side effects makes it even worse! It makes it all that much more alluring to people who will then be seduced into having fun, rending asunder the delicate moral fabric of our society.

  5. My wife works at a toxicology lab that tests in many sectors of the population, and it is clear that especially in the last several years, oxycodone use has exploded, and in terms of their (nationwide, fairly diverse, but not scientific) patient base, is now America’s preferred way to get high.

    Of course, the clever ones have learned to sell their Oxy to rich folk, then use the money to buy heroin from poor folk (at a lower rate/dose), which provides about the same effect and usefulness for pain management, just in a form that hits you faster. Chronic pain and opiates make very reasonable people make very unreasonable choices.

    1. Supposedly kids may pick up an oxycodone habit, then they can’t get it and their dealer sell them some heroin that is “just as good” and much much cheaper.  Then young Biff ODs, much to the surprise of mom and dad who did not know their child was doing drugs of any sort. 

      I took one oxycondone and two vicodin after getting a second (almost third degree) burn over an area about the size of the sole of your shoe, plus four shots of bourbon.  The thing is, I did not get much of a buzz (maybe it was because of the pain).  But to actually get a buzz from these narcotics, it would involve doses that would lead to addiction very very fast. 

  6. I’d like to see how many of these deaths from hillbilly heroine occurred in counties that voted for Romney. 

  7. After an excruciatingly awful experience at a “pain” clinic, and a little bit of research, the *other* elephant in the room is methadone, which is often prescribed instead of Oxycontin or oxycodone.

    Methadone is effective, but lasts longer in the body and so has a greater potential for overdose. As prescriptions are switched from drugs like Oxycontin to methadone, overdoses due to methadone rise disproportionately, as is reported in this JAMA article I found while looking for the not-yet-released data:

    tl;dr: Methadone should be mentioned along with Oxycontin and Vicodin as a narcotic with high overdose potential.

    And, of course, the overdose potential for Marijuana is roughly 0.

    1. My pain doctor suggested that I take a dose of methadone at night since Vicodin is pretty short acting and methadone comes as an elixir, making it easy to take a small dose. Having worked in health care for years, I knew that every health care professional that I ever encountered for the rest of my life would immediately classify me as Drug-Seeking Addict if they saw that in my chart. So I’ll continue popping a V when I get up to pee in the middle of the night.

  8. I am devoting my entire life to being the first person to die directly from the use of cannabis. Every day I test my overdose limits. It’s medical (pain, anxiety, depression and ennui) and it’s recreational (relaxation, social stimulus, appetite enhancement). Cross my bong and hope to die.

        1. TOR = The “Onion” router, a way to remain anonymous online; SR = Silk Road, website for difficult-to-track / shutdown / etc. purchases.

          Knowing is half the battle!

  9. I have to say it’s somewhat suspicious that they publish the press release and launch the publicity campaign before the data comes out.

  10. I’m on my second to last day of 5mg oxycodone pills (no acetaminophen thank you very much), so I’m gettin’ a kick.

    Wait, no I’m not, I can still barely walk damnit :  I have some stronger pills but I promised my better half that I would *stop* trashing my liver during Lent this year.

  11. Most were accidents involving prescription painkillers: specifically, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin which are commonly prescribed for pain management, and are widely abused.

    I’m no fan of the War on Drugs, but I’m more than willing to have Rush Limbaugh dragged off to prison if that will help. Or even if it doesn’t, really.

  12. While cannabis itself is relatively harmless, there is still more to the story here. Gateway drugs are a real thing – people who smoke marijuana are statistically much more likely to try harder drugs than those who don’t.

    If we’re getting increased OD rates on other, harder drugs, perhaps we should be comparing the numbers to see if a broader general acceptance of marijuana is leading to more people smoking it, and if that increased amount corresponds to the increased amounts of people taking harder drugs in line with the appropriate numbers for gateway usage and migration.

    I don’t believe our current punitative legal response to marijuana helps anyone, but I do believe we have a responsibility to monitor and observe the secondary effects the drug has on people and society as a whole. The substance itself should be legal, but regulated and intelligently managed, and it needs to be paired up with a larger infrastructure designed to combat the usage of more dangerous drugs.

    1. Gateway drugs are a real thing – people who smoke marijuana are statistically much more likely to try harder drugs than those who don’t.

      Just like people who drink coffee or alcohol!

      1. I drink neither. *shrug*

        But when I start to see the rate of people upgrading from caffeine to cocaine at all mirror the rate of people upgrading from cannabis, then we can talk.

        1. Many people (but still a very little minority) have interest in experiencing different states of mind.

          Normally you start with Marijuana, then if you wish so (for most people ganja is enough) you may experience other stuff.
          What is unclear?

        2. You are confusing correlation with causation, and any credibility you had in regard to wine appreciation just went flying out the window.

        3.  In my experience, people who “upgrade” from marijuana to harder drugs usually tried caffeine and alcohol before marijuana.  So which is the real gateway drug?

          1.  In my experience, all the people who “upgrade” from caffeine and alcohol to marijuana to harder drugs all breathe oxygen and drink water. Obviously, oxygen and water MUST be regulated to prevent drug overdoses due to their “gateway” status!

            In case anyone is confused, as robuluz points out, in this case correlation and causation doesn’t work. I know many a cannabis enthusiast who haven’t gone on to become full-blown junkies. The “gateway drug” idea is quaint, but not solid to base policy on.

    2. Much of the harm from harder drugs results directly from their illegality and the lifestyles which users experience to maintain their habit.

      In the late 70s many wealthy Iranians fleeing the revolution in Iran were only able safely to remove their money in the form of heroin. In the UK the market became flooded with cheap high quality heroin. The small community of users and dealers (middle class and generally well educated) had a large supply of heroin to sell. A user is, after all, a user and is hardly likely to scruple over getting others addicted. Council estates in the major cities were targeted by dealers with cheap heroin looking for buyers amongst those least able to understand what they were getting into and to maintain themselves sufficiently to cope with their choices. There was a massive increase in overdoses. None of this would have been made possible were heroin not a controlled susbstance.

    3. Isn’t this just because it’s illegal though? Beer doesn’t lead to hard drugs. Partially, it’s because the people you buy cannabis off will often also sell harder drugs. That doesn’t happen in a pub for example.

      “I’m out of cannabis right now but I do have x,y,z”.

    4. You know what we should do before concluding marijuana is a gateway drug?  Some kind of scientific study that establishes it as a gateway drug.

      Suppose we look at drug statistics and see use of “hard drugs” had gone down but use of marijuana had gone up.  Would that be enough to kill this stupid zombie “gateway drug” myth?




      Marijuana use has increased since 2007. In 2011, there were 18.1 million current (past-month) users—about 7.0 percent of people aged 12 or older—up from 14.4 million (5.8 percent) in 2007.

      Use of most drugs other than marijuana has not changed appreciably over the past decade or has declined.
      In 2011, 6.1 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 2.4 percent) had used psycho-therapeutic prescription drugs nonmedically (without a prescription or in a manner or for a purpose not prescribed) in the past month—a decrease from 2010. And 972,000 Americans (0.4 percent) had used hallucinogens (a category that includes Ecstasy and LSD) in the past month—a decline from 2010.

      Does the fact that more people are using marijuana and fewer people are using other drugs indicate that use of marijuana does not tend to lead to use of other drugs?  Elementary logic would say “yes.”  What do you say, eldritch?

    5.  “Gateway drugs are a real thing”

      No they’re not. Ask the Dutch. Their own government has said that cannabis is what keeps their kids away from harder drugs. A certain percentage will try anything they can get their hands on, of course.

    6. Gate way drugs are in fact a real thing. There is an easy way to stop mj from being a gate way drug…. Make it legal.

      Pot is a wussy drug. The mind altering effects are minimal, and you can’t overdose. Alcohol on the other hand has the potential for extreme mind alteration and you absolutely can overdose, and yet it isn’t a gate way drug. Why?

      The gate way isn’t taking mind altering substances. Nearly every adult does this with alcohol. The gate way is the illegality. The gate way is buying a perfectly harmless drug from a drug dealer. It is pretty easy to buy some pot, the Devils drug, see first hand that you were blatantly lied to and are now persecuted for something that should clearly be legal.

      1. Great observations, though the statistics I cite above suggest that even taking this “same dealer” effect into consideration marijuana is not functioning as a gateway drug.  More people are using marijuana but fewer people are moving on to harder drugs.

        I think the explanation is that recreational use of marijuana has essentially become socially acceptable despite its illegality whereas there is still a social stigma on use of harder drugs.

        1.  The Dutch found that cannabis use tends to drop off when people reach their upper twenties and thirties. And, as I said before, they found that it tends to insulate the young from the more serious drugs. But, that’s in Holland where it is easy to find and you don’t have to go talk to some shady pusher who is incentivized to move you along to something addictive.

        2. I’m not shocked by this.  Any form of social acceptability reduces whatever “gateway” influence a drug has.  

          If pot smoking is consider as boringly normal as having a beer, no one raises an eyebrow.  Among my friends, in a liberal state where the penalty for possession is a firm finger waggling from the cops, someone pulling out a joint or hitter and offering it up will get a handful of takers, a handful of passes, and not a single raised eyebrow.  It is like offering beer.  Some take, some pass, no one cares either way.  Pull out a heroine needle in the company of my friends or offer up some meth, and folks will respond with the appropriate “holy shit dude”.

          Safe drugs should be legal and socially acceptable.  This keeps healthy pressure on people to not do unsafe drugs.  It starves cartels of funding.  It prevents people from developing the (currently accurate) perception that the authorities are blatantly lying to you about the safety and dangers of drugs to further their own selfish and harmful ends.

    1. You’re comparing a comound vital to life to the recreational usage of harmful high-inducing chemicals. One is a nonvoluntary instinctual need, the other is a purposeful luxury with far reaching societal implications.

      The gateway drug itself isn’t the problem. It’s the culture surrounding it. It’s the social dynamics interwoven with the usage of it. When you’ve got entire subcultures that glorify drug usage, that use it as a sort of status marker and social indicator, that erroneously equate it with socially appealing values or qualities, you have to take into account the whole, rather than just the individual.

      No one takes drugs in a vacuum. You don’t just one day decide to go out and get fucked up on crack cocaine. You get exposed to it by other people, by your friends and peers, by the culture and subcultures you are a part of. You hear your favorite musician singing about getting high. You see people at a nightclub who are uninhibited and seem to be enjoying themselves because of drugs. Everyone around you influences your thinking.

      When smoking marijuana is “cool”, you get people who smoke purely because they want to be cool. When doing a line of cocaine is “the only way to party”, you get people doing cocaine purely because they want to party. When refusing an offer of codeine cough syrup can result in losing face with one’s friends or peers, you get people who take codeine purely because they don’t want to lose face.

      Marijuana doesn’t directly hurt people. But it has a lot of social baggage that does. Pot usage doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It overlaps with hard drug usage in very real ways. Sure, some sellers deal exclusively in marijuana, but many also deal in hard drugs as well. Sure, your local corner dealer may be a nice guy, but plenty of pushers are violent, abusive, criminal scumbags who prey on the depressed and desperate. Sure, you and your buddies have never hurt yourselves while smoking pot, but there are plenty of people who lose all common sense and do stupid and dangerous things when they do. Sure, you’ve smoked pot for twelve years and you’d never try cocaine, but there are plenty of other people who would after only a month.

      Even when marijuana is legalized, it still needs to be regulated and carefully monitored. Sellers should have to be licensed, should be subject to strict regulations and due taxes. And there need to be people watching for how legalization affects the harder drugs.

      When people have a safe, legal way to buy marijuana, how will that affect the black market for drugs? With fewer people going to dealers for marijuana, will the gateway effect of cannabis lessen or even disappear? And what will the black market do to compensate? If a cocaine dealer can no longer supplement their income by selling marijuana, will they push their cocaine more aggresively? Will prices rise to compensate? Will hard-drug related crime rates increase?

      These are valid concerns. Dismiss them all you want, but this issue is bigger than your petty witticisms about water. While you’re off smoking your bong feeling smugly superior about yourself, real people’s lives are being adversely affected because of these issues – in some cases, outright destroyed.

      1. Fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear fear…

        You are regurgitating worn out- fear based rhetoric.
        Some of the things you state will be interesting to follow over the decades, but we have much bigger and much more tangible problems right now with prescription drugs, alcohol, and a failed war on drugs that is causing society many problems but can’t demonstrate any benefits.

      2. It is indeed a valid concern that great social harm is associated with marijuana use. The worst of this harm arises from incarceration rates and criminalisation of individuals who would otherwise lead productive lives. So legalise it and control its use. That is the best way to reduce the harm you speak of.

    1. For a non-anecdotal take on drug decriminalization, I direct you to Portugal’s experience:  http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/drug-decriminalization-portugal-lessons-creating-fair-successful-drug-policies (I am a fan of Gleen Greenwald, but not much of a Libertarian).  Executive summary of the paper – in the real world, decriminalization works much better than the alternatives.

      I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your anti-marijuana remarks have been handily refuted by other commenters.  Why on earth would anyone continue to repeat the “gateway drug” canard, when it is really a “gateway law” that is the problem?

  13. Can we acknowledge the fact that for some, and for many (not quoting figures here but from personal experience) marijuana can expose mental illnesses and provoke psychotic episodes and can be really very bad for some people.

    That’s why I avoid it like the plague over other illegal drugs, because I know my body chemistry cannot handle it.

    It’s not all roses and happy times. Drugs don’t work well for everyone. This is not to condemn its use for medical use (I’m all for it in that case) but let’s have a balanced discussion over its pros/cons, rather than saying it’s great, everyone should use it. I don’t feel everyone should. Try it and find out but with the education to know maybe it’s not for you.

    1. People die from food allergies all the time. Peanuts aren’t evil. Some people just need to avoid them.

        1.  I started with Peanuts, and then moved on to Chocolate Hazelnut spread and finally roasted chestnuts, any of which could kill a man. It’s a slippery slope, Antinous, a slippery slope indeed.

      1. People die from food allergies all the time. Peanuts aren’t evil.

        Except for that creepy top-hat-and-monocle-wearing guy on the Planters can. What a dick, selling out his own people just to make a buck.

    2. Wait, who is saying “it’s great, everyone should use it”.  I don’t see anyone saying that.

      I’m pretty sure most recreational users of marijuana accept that marijuana use is not for everyone and don’t push it on people who aren’t interested.  That’s certainly been my experience.

        1.  Heck, I’ve known a guy who is apparently allergic to marijuana but smokes it anyway because not smoking marijuana is worse to him than the allergy symptoms.  It is a sad state of affairs.

    3.  Uh, the commercials on tv for legal prescription drugs are absolutely terrifying with all the side effects they list. Sometimes the side effects are worse than what the drug is supposed to treat. But they’re legal! Do you wring your hands over those, or only cannabis?

      So instead of continuing with the antiquated rhetoric of, “Marihuana is bad, mmmkayyyy?” it would behoove us as a society to take a more enlightened look at cannabis instead of being continually afraid of it.

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