STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Drug Enforcement Administration
In The Matter Of
MARIJUANA RESCHEDULING PETITION
Docket No. 86-22
OPINION AND RECOMMENDED RULING, FINDINGS OF
FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION OF
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
FRANCIS L. YOUNG, Administrative Law Judge
DATED: SEPTEMBER 6, 1988
of Judge Young's "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision."
Page 56 & 57 http://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/MEDICAL/YOUNG/young4.html
3. The most obvious concern when dealing with drug safety is the
possibility of lethal effects. Can the drug cause death?
4. Nearly all
medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not
such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature
describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.
5. This is a remarkable statement. First, the record on marijuana
encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. Second, marijuana is now
used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world. Estimates
suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely, albeit
illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical
supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the
extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible
medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.
6. By contrast
aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths
7. Drugs used in
medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating
indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will
die as a result of drug induced toxicity. A number of researchers have
attempted to determine marijuana's LD-50 rating in test animals, without
success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals
enough marijuana to induce death.
8. At present it
is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In
layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana 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 .9 grams. A smoker would
theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about
fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.
9. In practical
terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related