Another year has come and gone and the number of tragic, troubling deaths due to marijuana overdoses has not decreased.
That’s because if that number decreased, it would be in the negative. It’s 2016, and still no one has died from a marijuana overdose, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers released last month.
Plenty of Americans are dying from both legal and illegal drugs, however. Deaths from opioid painkillers spiked 7% in 2014 from the year before – more than any other year on record.
No one has ever died from a marijuana overdose, but it’s illegal on a federal level. It’s a plant that exists on the federal list of Schedule I drugs, alongside heroin and LSD.
All the while, alcohol can be purchased at most grocery stores, yet it is killing Americans at a rate not seen in 35 years. In 2014, 30,700 people died from alcohol-induced causes, excluding alcohol-related deaths like drunk-driving or accidents; if those deaths were included, the death toll would be 2-1/2 times higher.
A 2006 American Scientist report found that “alcohol is more lethal than many other commonly abused substances.”
“Drinking a mere 10 times the normal amount of alcohol within 5 or 10 minutes can prove fatal, whereas smoking or eating marijuana might require something like 1,000 times the usual dose to cause death. “
That’s a lot of pot brownies.
Marijuana, like any other substances, has the potential to be abused, and can lead users to make stupid decisions (i.e., stoned driving or listening to Nickelback – ha!). Using too much of it at one time, can, however, induce anxiety, paranoia, and other altered mental states for some.
But guess what? Cannabis actually has medicinal purposes. You don’t hear about parents giving their kid a rum and coke to treat epilepsy, but cannabis has been shown to help the condition, and many others. Marijuana is still illegal not because it’s dangerous, but because of the almighty dollar.
Legal cannabis would be a nightmare for the pharmaceutical industry, not to mention police unions that would lose funding for the failed war on drugs.
 The Columbian
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.