Misinformation has run rampant over the use of marijuana for decades. In 1936, the church group-financed movie Reefer Madness taught the public about the perils presented in using the drug — everything from attempted murder to suicide and madness. Around the same time, Harry Anslinger and others began the war on drugs, which was at least partly fueled by racist motives. Ever since, rumors and or slanted science about weed has often filled in a gaping hole in research due to restrictions on drugs illegalized by western governments. That said, the legalization of marijuana in various states and countries has led to marketing campaigns making sometimes dubious claims of the herb’s health benefits.
Some people have long tended to lump all illegal drugs together, seeing little difference between the dangers posed by drugs like heroine or methamphetamines to marijuana. But how dangerous is marijuana, really? Can it kill you? Is it possible to overdose on weed?
The answer to the latter question is an easy “no.” There are some ways that joints, bong hits or synthetic versions of the psychoactive agents in marijuana can kill you, but overdosing on pure, unadulterated marijuana that isn’t mixed with anything is very nearly impossible.
“It’s not close to alcohol or opiate toxicity,” says Mujeeb Shad, a psychiatrist with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Why the Danger of Marijuana Is Self-Mitigated
The reason marijuana doesn’t pose the same sort of risk as opiates, cocaine, amphetamines or even alcohol is that some of the active components of the pungent herb work against each other in your body.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is probably the most toxic component of marijuana. It’s also what’s responsible for most of the more potent psychoactive and addictive effects that users.
Over the past few decades, the THC content of marijuana has increased, meaning that, in theory, the