Whilst I appreciate and agree with the sentiment behind this image, the claim that zero people have died as a result of marijuana…well that’s patently false.
The figure for cigarette-related deaths includes all indirect forms of harm (passive smoking, asthma, etc) caused by tobacco and nicotine. If you look at the indirect harm caused by marijuana you can definitely attribute hundreds of deaths to it. There are also other factors to consider here:
- Marijuana reduces peripheral vision considerably which makes driving whilst stoned incredibly dangerous. It also delays reactions times. The combination of these factors makes driving while stoned potentially lethal.
- Any smoke inhaled into one’s lungs is harmful and can increase one’s risk of lung disease. It can also exacerbate asthma and other respiratory conditions. The big difference, though, between cigarette and marijuana smoke is that one is inhaled numerous times a day and the other is usually not. For instance, it’s not abnormal to find someone who smokes 20 cigarettes per day, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who smokes 20 joints per day.
- Marijuana consumption is a known component cause of psychosis and schizophrenia. Furthermore, this isn’t explained away by the fact that people with these mental health problems are more likely to smoke dope; the meta-analysis cited here proves a causative relationship in the opposite direction. As we know, too, psychosis and schizophrenia are both associated with an increased risk of suicide.
- Because marijuana is a mind-altering substance it has an affect on judgement and one’s ability to make safe decisions. This can indirectly increase one’s risk of encountering accident or harm.
- Marijuana also places pressure on the heart and other organs. This can also contribute to the likelihood of sudden death.
A more accurate statement would be that no deaths have been recorded from marijuana overdose. This is chiefly because you will become unconscious before you can inhale sufficient quantities to kill you.
I would also suggest, though, that even if marijuana does cause comparatively few deaths, this doesn’t mean it’s safe. It just means the comparison drug is considerably more dangerous. Obviously marijuana is not as dangerous at the War On Drugs would have you believe, but it’s really dangerous to imply it’s completely safe, too.