How Much You Have to Take of These Legal Drugs to Overdose

January 24th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

One of the more remarkable statistics about marijuana is its fatal overdose rate: It's literally zero. People have been smoking the plant for thousands of years, and yet there has never been a recorded death from marijuana use. It's said that you'd have to smoke about 1,500 pounds of cannabis within 15 minutes to induce an overdose.

RELATED: Marijuana Could Literally Replace These 5 Prescription Drugs

This fact serves as a particularly effective talking point for legalization advocates, who cite it in debates about the pros and cons of ending the federal prohibition of marijuana. Compared to other drugs — both legal and illegal — marijuana stands out for its relative safeness and nontoxic qualities.

To illustrate this point, let's consider how much you would have to take to overdose on perfectly legal pharmaceutical drugs.

Here's how much you'd have to take to fatally overdose on 5 prescription drugs

1. Vicodin


2. Xanax


3. Adderall


4. Prozac


5. Ambien


The prescription drug crisis in the U.S.

The U.S. is in the middle of a opiate epidemic. Rates of fatal overdose from heroin and prescription painkillers are on the rise, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 44 people die from painkiller overdoses per day in the U.S. alone, and the problem only seems to be worsening. Painkiller addiction sometimes lends to heroin abuse because the substance is cheaper and more potent, experts have warned.

Some argue that marijuana legalization can help curb opiate abuse.

RELATED: Marijuana Might Actually be an Anti-Gateway Drug

ATTN: previously reported on a study that found rates of opiate addiction and overdose were reduced in states that offered access to legal marijuana. In part, that's because cannabis helps treat health conditions — including chronic and neuropathic pain — that lead people to seek painkillers in the first place.

Marijuana could literally replace these five prescription drugs. Read more here: ATTN: for more content about the War on Drugs.

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, October 18, 2015

As it happens, research has produced promising findings about the wide range of medical benefits offered by components of cannabis, such as THC (the main psychoactive ingredient) and CBD (a non-psychoactive ingredient). Marijuana could potentially treat all of the issues for which the aforementioned pharmaceuticals are prescribed.

And since marijuana has never killed anybody, it appears that pursuing research into the substance as a safe and non-addictive alternative to pills that kill could provide further medical benefits.