Marijuana Deaths: How Many Are There?

Culture / Health

It’s a new year and we’ve been searching for an answer to an age-old question: How many people have died overdosing on weed?

Anna Wilcox
Jan 12, 2016

It’s a new year and we’ve been searching for an answer to an age-old question: How many people have died overdosing on weed? The short answer? Zero.

Unsurprisingly to marijuana lovers around the world, there has yet to be a single reported death linked to cannabis overdose. In fact, you would have to consume  20,000 to 40,000 times your average dose in order for marijuana to kill you. That would be about 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes.

That’s not to say that taking 40,000 hits is the sole way to risk death while under the influence of weed. Smoking 800 joints in one sitting would put you at risk of dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. But, that isn’t exactly the plant’s fault, is it?

National Overdose Research

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In their findings on overdose deaths, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that drug fatalities are on the rise in the U.S. Most notably, deaths caused by heroin and benzodiazepines (prescription anti-anxiety drugs such as Ativan or Xanax) with 6 and 5-fold increases since 2001.What’s missing from NIDA’s 2015 report? A single record of a fatal cannabis overdose.

Shocking, right?

Global Overdose Deaths

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Statistics on deaths from weed overdose are oddly missing from U.S. national drug reports. But, the recent 2015 United Nations World Drug Report had a few comments cautioning global citizens against the plant.

According to the report, the number of people admitting themselves for treatment for cannabis use disorders is on the rise. They explain: “The evidence suggests that more drug users are suffering from cannabis use disorders and there is growing evidence that cannabis may be becoming more harmful.”

Umm… Excuse me? How can that even be possible?

To say that marijuana is “becoming more harmful” speaks to the anxiety about high-THC strains in mainstream culture and medical communities. The higher the THC content in the strain, the more likely a person is to admit themselves into an emergency room or seek treatment for marijuana use.

What Is a THC Overdose?

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Unlike its counterpart CBD, THC by itself increases anxiety and paranoia in some people. After a night (or perhaps many nights) of smoking some top-shelf herb, some users may find themselves feeling a little overwhelmed, anxious, or paranoid. This is what we’d call a true THC-overdose.

This kind of overdose might make some people uncomfortable for a short time. Yet, there is still no record of anyone ever dying after smoking some high-potency bud. Check out our Antidotes for THC Overdoses if you’re been hitting it too hard and are feeling a bit anxious.

With all the hubbub about the safety of the cannabis plant, the World Drug Report fails to report any marijuana deaths. In fact, the report shows that most drug-related deaths are due to opioids. including heroin and prescription drugs such as Morphine. Opioid overdoses make up 40.8% of worldwide drug deaths.

Let’s face it. It’s 2016.

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By now, the complete lack of marijuana fatalities should be a huge neon sign when it comes to the politics of drug legalization. By comparison, 80,000 people die from alcohol related diseases annually. Over 25,000 Americans died in 2014 alone because of drugs prescribed to them by their doctors. On top of that, over 18,000 Americans died from *again* legally prescribed pain-killers.

With years worth of data on drug fatalities, it would seem like common sense to step back and ask: If no one is dying from marijuana, why is it still illegal? Unfortunately, we still seem live in a world that’s a little more than nonsensical.

Help spread the word about non-lethal weed by sharing this article, and let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments  below. After all, the only way to combat ignorance is with education.

Anna Wilcox
Jan 12, 2016