It's easy to imagine what would happen were alcohol discovered today, with reports of 'NEW KILLER DRUG' plastered all over the tabloids as terrified witnesses reported seeing "addicts" staggering around the streets, falling down, wailing and vomiting in the gutter.
And yet alcohol is completely legal in the UK, while cannabis remains a class B drug – upgraded from class C in 2009 when it was deemed more harmful.
A new study published in Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of the journal Nature, which sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of various intoxicating substances, has found however that marijuana is far and away the safest drug.
It's at the bottom of the list by some distance, and is also the only drug that poses a low mortality risk to users.
Rather than focusing on death counts as others have, the report's authors compared lethal doses of each given substance in comparison with what a typical person uses.
Smoking weed is of course not "safe, full stop", but studies have found time and time again that it is indeed "safer than alcohol".
The research is backed up by police in Colorado, the first US state to legalise the drug, who said recently that a year on everything is fine and police work has gone on mostly unchanged.
President Obama recently said he expects to see more states "looking into" legalisation, though in the UK any meaningful debate about it has yet to be ignited.
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