Cannabis is pretty much one of the least lethal plants on this planet. Even raw potatoes are more toxic! Nicotine, on the other hand, is possibly as toxic as cyanide (with some caveats).
The median lethal dose of nicotine is 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg, or 40 to 60 mg in an average human being. There is essentially no comparison between the two in terms of toxicity. There are also a huge number of other chemicals in tobacco that are poisonous, such as arsenic, benzene, cadmium, methanol, toluene and many more.
There’s a lot of literature out there saying things like ‘one joint is equal to 5/10/20/insert whatever number of cigarettes per day’. This is pretty much a myth. Yes, burning plant matter and inhaling smoke can lead to health problems (e.g. bronchial epithelial ciliary loss, bronchitis), but it seems that there is a lot of conflicting evidence on how carcinogenic cannabis is. Why is this? One simple answer is nicotine.
Cannabinoids in cannabis smoke may actually protect against carcinogens, perhaps by inhibiting some of the activity of the liver enzyme CYP1A1. Tobacco, meanwhile, activates some activities in this liver enzyme and increases the carcinogenic effect of the smoke.
There are no cases of death via cannabis overdose alone. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S., with around 16 million Americans living with a disease caused by smoking.
If there’s one thing I and many other people in the cannabis industry are afraid of, it’s cannabis going down the same route as tobacco, alcohol and big pharma. However, one of the cornerstones of these industries are “repeat customers”. The only way cannabis can become big business is by severely restricting growers’ rights – something which many states throughout the U.S. are doing, sadly, which in my mind is a severe curtailment of citizens’ freedoms as well as patient rights.
How possible it is to enforce this in the long-term, I do not know, but all such restrictions will lead to us back to a black market, and is a step back for legalization. Allow people to grow their own, and monopolies become much harder to form.
See the original article at Cannabis Culture