How Dangerous Drugs Really Are?

Most of us grow up being told not to do drugs, because they’re very dangerous. But, most of us also grow up being exposed to people who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and many of us pick up the same habits as we age. So drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is, for the most part acceptable in our society, while smoking weed tends to be looked down upon, especially by the older generation and doing shrooms, peyote or especially acid, is typically looked at as a dangerous and a degenerate thing to do. If only society could appreciate the irony of such conviction. Because the truth is, most people’s perception of drugs is really distorted and this leads to irrational decisions then it comes to using drugs or dealing with other people who use these drugs.

And I’m not just rambling, I have scientific evidence to support my claims. I want to discuss David Nutt – a famous British psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist who specializes in the research of drugs and his work. Nutt is also a former drugs expert and adviser to the British government. He’s known for having said that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than ecstasy and comparing ecstasy’s dangers to the dangers of horse riding.

David and his team of highly skilled researchers called the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ICSD), have put up a chart which shows how dangerous certain commonly used drugs in the UK are. There’s two main types of criteria – harm to the users and harm to the society. And each type of harm is also divided into smaller categories. This chart has been created back in 2010, so it’s nothing new, but most people aren’t aware of it. 

Drugs in this chart range from 0 (no harm) to 100 (greatest possible harm). So a drug that scores 100 is twice as harmful as a drug that scores 50.

Anyway, here it is:

Well, what do you know. Alcohol comes up on the top. Of course, when considering the harm of drugs to users and society, we have to acknowledge the fact that there are many different variables that have to be factored in, like the genetic makeup, age, illnesses and health, addiction potential and many more. So, to different people different drugs pose different dangers.

But, the conclusion is pretty clear, alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs out there. If we there to take a look at the drugs that are most harmful to the users, what comes up is heroin, crack and meth. But, if we were to take a look at the dangers these drugs pose to the society, alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug, followed by heroin and crack.

Tobacco is also very high on the list, it doesn’t cause nearly as much damage to the society, it doesn’t cause quite as much harm to the user, but, because of nicotine, it does have a bigger potential for addiction when compared to alcohol. And the higher the likelihood of addiction, the greater use of a drug there is which can lead to more damage down the road.

Here’s another chart which shows a very detailed chart of drugs and their dangers with the criteria being displayed:

This chart goes in depth showing the different types of damage that these drugs cause. Personally, I find some of these claims counter-intuitive and disagreeable, but this chart is based on statistics and scientific knowledge about these substances and their effects.

And here’s another chart that I want to show:

This one shows the scale of active and lethal doses as well as the dependence potential. 

The reason why I want to show these charts, is because I want people to understand that just because a drug is legal – doesn’t mean it’s safe. And if a drug is illegal that doesn’t mean that this drug is very harmful.

Caffeine is generally more dangerous than LSD, magic mushrooms and marijuana. A cup of coffee has a greater potential to hurt you on a direct physiological level than acid, shrooms and weed. And it’s more addictive, especially when compared to LSD and psilocybin.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know this information and consume legal drugs that are very dangerous, like alcohol and tobacco, while dismissing and demonizing a lot less harmful illegal substances, like LSD, psilocybin and cannabis.

Why Are Some Drugs Legal And Others Are Not?

The main argument for banning certain drugs while having others legal is the harm of that drug. But as I have clearly shown, most drugs are actually less harmful than alcohol which is legal, while many psychedelics and marijuana is illegal. Why is that?

That’s because there often are alternative motives to banning certain substances.

Marijuana, for example, is a drug that has an enormous amount of medicinal benefits as well as recreational properties while being relatively safe. But, because it’s an incredibly cheap, if legal, replacement of many alternative pharmaceutical drugs that need to be manufactured and not grown, making it impossible for regular people to make them, it’s in the interest of pharmaceutical industry to keep it illegal, making sure that people who need medicine will buy expensive one in a form of pharmaceuticals. And that’s just one of the reasons behind the legal status of marijuana.

And then it comes to LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT and other drugs alike, reasons tend to be even more complicated, but they almost have nothing to do with the physical harm to the user that these drugs can induce. Because the physical harm is almost non-existent.

The most likely reasons are the psychological effects that these psychedelics can produce. They can help treat depression in a single good session, which, if used in psychotherapy, would make SSRI’s – anti-depressants obsolete.

Plus psychedelics tend to increase peoples intelligence levels, reduce their submissiveness, evaporate their preconceived notions of reality as well as different biases. This makes psychedelics dangerous as they have the potential to disrupt the regular way of life in our world.

If you took a look at the hippy movement, it has been largely inspired by the psychedelic revolution. This is what made them hippies. And hippies are definitely not the model productive model citizens that every government would like to have.


In the end I just want to say that the current drug laws in most countries are irrational when looking from the perspective of direct harm that certain drugs have to the user and society.

Also, the society itself is, for the most part, mislead and ignorant of true effects and harms of many illegal drugs, while being dismissive of harms of alcohol and cigarettes. This is due to the years of indoctrination and misinformation that was coming mainly from the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries, because many now illegal drugs are less harmful, more pleasurable and easier to make or grow which means that if they were legal, they would take a big portion of the profits from all these industries.

Fortunately, more and more honest scientists are coming out with scientific data showing true harms and effects of certain drugs, which exposes the hypocrisy of so many drug laws. Because if the argument for banning drugs like LSD, psilocybin or cannabis is their harm, while alcohol and tobacco are legal, and because of science, we know that acid, mushrooms and marijuana are a lot less dangerous to both the user and society than most legal drugs.

But, the change is slowly but surely coming as marijuana is becoming legalized all over the world, there’s plans for making MDMA part of the PTSD psychotherapy, psilocybin mushrooms are being acknowledged for their ability to treat depression and psychedelics overall are slowly being reconsidered and seen as medicine rather than poison.

So, do the world a favor and help to spread this information and you will become a part of the change which will help people to live healthier, less risky and just overall better lives.