Pubdate: [Thu, 17 Oct 1996]
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Author: Matthew M. Elrod

Concerning the recent discovery of a "hashish cache" by Scarborough youths,
(Scarborough schools warn pupils ..., Oct. 10, 1996), I was surprised by
the statement of Police Superintendent Jim Branford, "If taken in a large
enough quantity ... it could kill someone.".

If someone is killed from an overdose of hashish it will be the first death
attributed to hashish overdose since the first written account of cannabis
use, circa 3000 B.C.

In animal studies in the 1970s, a lethal oral dose of cannabis was not
attainable in monkeys and dogs. Enormous dose levels were administered -
levels equivalent to a 154-pound human eating approximately 46 pounds of
marijuana or 10 pounds of hashish at one time. Evidence from animal and
human studies indicate that the ratio of lethal dose to effective dose is
much more favorable than that of many other common drugs including alcohol
and barbiturates.

I understand the concern of Scarborough parents. It is disturbing that
cannabis and hashish, unregulated and distributed by the black market, can
so easily fall into the hands of our children. On the bright side,
Scarborough parents should be relieved the youths did not discover a
kilogram of valium or tobacco.

Matthew M. Elrod