Why do you support the legalization of marijuana

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Thursday, 14 February 2008

Deadly Nature of Drugs

So many times I hear from those opposed to the legalization of marijuana about how marijuana is more harmful then I could imagine. Despite the fact that no one can seem to provide any proof to this some people insist on believing that marijuana is a dangerous drug. I recently came across a document written up by Medical Marijuana ProCon.org that used a freedom of information act request to the FDA to tally the number of deaths related to marijuana vs. the number of deaths related to many top prescription drugs. The FDA warned that these numbers are suspected only and that they encourage doctors to report even the most tenuous of links, so the numbers are not 100% accurate, but they do paint an interesting picture.

In the periods between January 1st 1997 and June 30th 2005 there were zero cases of deaths marijuana was the primary suspect in deaths. This is not surprising since there have been zero recorded deaths directly linked to marijuana in the entire history of mankind. I was interested to learn, and will have to look into it further, that there were 279 cases where marijuana was considered a secondary suspected cause of death, in other words marijuana is suspected to have contributed to the deaths of 279 people from the date ranges mentioned earlier. This works out to an average death toll of 37 deaths per year in which marijuana use played a roll in the death.

Yet I still maintain that marijuana has never directly caused the death of a single person. How to I reconcile my belief? Well for one, the FDA outright admits that the numbers are tenuous at best, secondly these cases are cases in which patients died from heart attack or cerebral infarction in which cannabis was found to have been used prior to the incidences that caused their demise. In other words people keeled over from natural causes but were found to have been high at the time, thus the drug was partially blamed. Even if cannabis were related the link is secondary anyways, in other words if you are at risk for heart troubles stay away from cannabis, which really is good advice regardless of any study showing any link between heart troubles and cannabis.

The report compares marijuana related deaths to 17 FDA approved drugs, 12 chosen because they are alternative drugs to medical marijuana and five chosen because they are popular and well known drugs. These 17 FDA approved drugs were the primary suspected cause of death in 10,008 cases and the secondary suspected cause of death in 1,679 for a grand total of 11,687 deaths related to the FDA approved drugs in contrast to 279 deaths related to marijuana.

One of the drugs I found quite interesting was Marinol. For those of you who are unaware Marinol is touted as the ultimate replacement drug for marijuana, Marinol is synthetic THC. This is a drug that most people aren’t even aware exists, doctors rarely prescribe, and yet it is the primary suspected cause of death in 4 cases. Sure 4 is not a terribly scary number, and even if you add that there is 1 case of secondary suspected cause it still seems like a much lower number then the 279 people in which marijuana may have played a part in their death. But lets examine it further. Marinol has been approved by the FDA for over a decade, and yet it still to this date is rarely prescribed, I don’t know the exact number, but when you consider that 14.6 million Americans have used marijuana at least once in their life you have to admit that if you examined the deaths as a percentage the numbers for marijuana would be considerably lower. I would be interested in comparing the numbers directly, however I have been unable to find the exact numbers at this time. If anyone reading this knows where to look I’d love to see how many people are prescribed marinol and compare it directly to marijuana use.

Another drug I found quite interesting was Viagra. Apparently Viagra is the primary suspect in 2,254 deaths, and the secondary suspect in 40, that’s nearly 2,300 deaths linked to Viagra or 306 deaths per year. So 300 people die each year in order to get a woody, but only 37 die using a well documented medically viable herb with recreational possibilities, yet the FDA considers marijuana to be more dangerous then Viagra?


Reference:
http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/pop/deathreports.htm#mjdeaths

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If Marijuana became legalized would you support its taxation?

Do you think our economy can be saved by legalizing marijuana

What do you think the Origins of the slang term 420 is

Would you vote for a politician solely on their stance on Marijuana?

What is your prefered method of using pot? (assuming price is no issue)

If marijuana were legal would you grow your own or buy from a store?

If you use marijuana do your family members no

Do you consider yourself a Pot Head

How often do you use marijuana?