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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Chapter III

Social Impact of marihuana use

Lethality

The Commission's National Survey revealed that 48% of adults believe that some people have died from marihuana use. A careful search of the literature and testimony of the nation's health officials has not revealed a single human fatality in the United States proven to have resulted solely from ingestion of marihuana. Experiments with the drug in monkeys demonstrated that the dose required for overdose death was enormous and for all practical purposes unachievable by humans smoking marihuana. This is in marked contrast to other substances in common use, most notably alcohol and barbiturate sleeping pills.

Of comparative note, 89% of all adults in the same Survey believe that some people have died from using alcohol. This indicates that public opinion regarding alcohol and its potential lethality is more accurate than it is for marihuana. At the same time, factual knowledge regarding the inherent danger in using a substance, for example alcohol, seemingly does not deter many persons from using it irresponsibly.

 


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