One of the clearest indications of just how incredibly safe cannabis is to ingest into your body comes from the oft-repeated fact that in literally thousands of years of human use, not one fatal overdose has ever occurred.
Although such a scenario is, at least theoretically, possible, according to DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, who detailed exactly how much reefer you'd have to inhale (and how fast) to suffer death by marijuana in a 1988 ruling:
Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50 rating [which] indicates at what dosage 50% of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity. A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50 rating in test animals, without success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death. At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response.
Now, let's assume for the sake of easy math and bragging rights that like many HIGH TIMES readers, you roll your joints just a little fatter than the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and they actually weigh one gram each. According to these figures, you'd have to smoke at the very least 20,000 of those joints in 15 minutes to have even a 50/50 chance of kicking the bucket. But first -- if you were buying all of that pot legally in Colorado at least -- you'd have to find about $300,000 to pay for it, what with the going rate for most strains of herb around $15 per gram after taxes.
So naturally, on New Year's Day, when a clever hoax started going around the internet announcing that Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization, those of us in the know had a good laugh at the very notion, an absurdity that actually pointed out exactly how insane marijuana prohibition is in a nation where booze, pills and cancer sticks remain readily available and heavily promoted despite killing millions.
While marijuana's complete inability to prove fatal stems from the fact that compounds found only in the cannabis plant fit directly into special receptors placed all over the human body, forming an Endocannabinoid System that's integral to maintaining health and fighting disease.
Unfortunately, due to decades of anti-pot propaganda, most people don't understand this, and so the hoax was all-too-often taken seriously on the Internet. Including by those who should have known better, like Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask of the ruling Conservative Party, who posted the satirical story about overdoses to her social media with a self-congratulatory note about her own support for zero-tolerance marijuana laws: "Stupid and sad. My first bill in the youth wing was called Outfight the Drugs! In this matter I haven't changed opinion at all."
Perhaps now that the smoke's cleared, someone will let this cognitively-impaired politician know that her opinions should change, since they're clearly at odds with a little something called the facts.