‘The Reefer Madness’ Survey shows marijuana safer than most drugs


Jack Lambert

Despite many negative attitudes towards marijuana, it was found to be the second safest drug according to a Global Drug Survey.

Miles King, News Reporter

The results of a recent Global Drug Survey (GDS) suggest that cannabis is one of the safest drugs with a low number of users requiring emergency medical attention.

The survey polled roughly 115 thousand people living in 50 different countries. The GDS asked if users required emergency medical assistance regarding nine substances: marijuana, synthetic marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, mushrooms, methamphetamines, LSD, alcohol and amphetamines.

Marijuana polled as one of the lowest, with only 0.6 percent of users reporting a need for emergency aid. The only substance listed lower than pot, mushrooms, yielded just 0.2 percent of users.

The substance causing the most hospital visits was methamphetamines at 4.8 percent, according to the survey. Synthetic marijuana, chemically created substances that mimic the effects of pot, were listed second behind meth at 3.2 percent. Alcohol at 1.3 percent rounded out the top three.

Brittany Choyce, owner of the Green Shelf dispensary in Ellensburg, thought alcohol and ecstasy would be the most dangerous. She was surprised that methamphetamines were rated the highest.

However, she was not surprised that synthetic pot was placed second.

“Synthetic weed is scary,” said Choyce, who also mentioned she does not sell any at the Green Shelf.

Alcohol and amphetamine users may not be completely aware of the risks involved with those substances, according to Choyce. Both substances are federally legal while pot, a less dangerous substance according to the survey results, is federally illegal.

“It seems like the survey results are indicating we need to give a little more attention to risk mitigation of prescriptions and alcohol,” Choyce said.

Noah Moore, an employee at the Green Shelf, has personal experience with amphetamines.

“I’ve realized I’m a totally different person when on amphetamines,” said Moore. Amphetamines are prescription drugs that help with disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Moore discontinued his use of the prescription, citing a friend whose life had been ruined by dependency on the substances.

Moore guessed that alcohol would be the most dangerous according to the survey.

“I thought cocaine would be near the top,” Moore said. Cocaine came in near the middle at just 1 percent of users seeking emergency medical attention.

Moore was also surprised to see synthetic marijuana closer to the top of the list; however, he mentioned a friend who became addicted to synthetic pot and eventually joined a rehabilitation program. The synthetic pot would often put him into seizure, according to Moore.