Stephen Sidney, M.D., associate director for clinical research at Kaiser Permanente, writes in an editorial published 9/20/03 in the British Medical Journal (Vol. 327, pp. 635-635):
"No acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known, in contrast to several of its illegal (for example, cocaine) and legal (for example, alcohol, aspirin, acetaminophen) counterparts."
Joycelyn Elders, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General, wrote in a 3/26/04 editorial published in Rhode Island's Providence Journal:
"Unlike many of the drugs we prescribe every day, marijuana has never been proven to cause a fatal overdose."
Denis Petro, M.D., in his 1997 paper "Pharmacology and Toxicity of Cannabis", published in the book "Cannabis in Medical Practice - A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana", Dr. Petro wrote on Page 62:
"The estimated lethal human dose of intravenous Marinol is 30 mg/kg (2100 mg/70 kg). Using this estimation of lethal dose, the equivalent inhaled THC would represent the smoking of 240 cannabis cigarettes with total systemic absorption of the average 8.8 mg of THC in each cigarette.
Since absorption is much less than 100 percent, the amount of smoked marijuana required to reach lethality is on the order of one to two thousand cigarettes.
The physical impossibility of a fatal overdose using smoked cannabis is obvious."
Bill Zimmerman, Executive Director of Americans for Medical Rights, told MedMJpro/con:
"Marijuana has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, going back to ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and Africa. In all that time, up to and including the present day, there has never been a report of a fatality directly due to the consumption of marijuana.
In contrast, over 1,000 people die annually in the US from an overdose of our most common non-prescription drug, aspirin. In addition, many thousands of deaths result from the legal prescription drugs.
After hearing two year's worth of evidence on the presumed dangers of marijuana, DEA Judge Francis L. Young said this: "marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to man ... safer than many foods we commonly consume."
Judge Francis L. Young wrote in his 1988 decision:
"Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage 50% of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity...
At present it is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means in order to induce death, a 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 0.9 grams. A smoker would have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity."
Judge Young also stated in that ruling:
"A commonly used over-the-counter product like aspirin has a therapeutic ratio of around 1:20. Two aspirins are the recommended dose for adult patients. Twenty times this dose, forty aspirins, may cause a lethal reaction in some patients and will almost certainly cause gross injury to the digestive system...
By contrast, marijuana's therapeutic ratio... is impossible to quantify because it is so high."
Time Magazine stated in a Nov. 4, 2002 cover story:
"No one has ever died of THC [marijuana] poisoning, mostly because a 160-lb. person would have to smoke roughly 900 joints in a sitting to reach a lethal dose."
David Borden, Executive Director of The Drug Reform Coordination Network, wrote MedMJpro/con:
"Death by overdose isn’t the only danger that drugs present, but it is one important measure.
In fact, a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente from 1979-1985 with a follow-up in 1991 found no correlation between marijuana use and death, evidence that even heavy marijuana use for decades does not appear to be associated with major health risks, whereas heavy alcohol users will develop cirrhosis and other potentially fatal conditions."
The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, “Mortality Data From Dawn, 2000,” published 7/01 by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), noted on page 25;
“Marijuana is rarely the only drug involved in a drug abuse death. Thus, in most cases, the proportion of marijuana-involved cases labeled as ‘One drug’ (i.e., marijuana only) will be zero or nearly zero.”
(July, 2001) SAMHSA