Photo by h.koppdelaney
Humans indulge in activities that alter both the content and the experience of their own consciousness. Drugs are a means for achieving a number of particular, often recreational, changes in conscious experience. However, drugs are also a large contributor to, and facilitator of, human suffering and health problems. The best health advice anyone can give to most people most of the time regarding recreational drug use is this: “Do not use drugs”. Many people however, including me, do not find this advice particularly attractive, or even sensible. Assuming that a person wants to enjoy the mind-altering effects of psychoactive substances, two questions follows: which drugs are dangerous to use? And, more importantly - how can one know which drugs are more dangerous than others? The answer to both questions, of course, can be found through the illuminating lens of the scientific method.
“It is important not to confuse illegality with dangerousness. The reasons why drugs are assigned particular legal statuses are mainly cultural and political in nature, not scientific. Now, does it not make sense, given the scientific understanding of relative drug harm, to correspond a drug’s legal and social status with the harm one can prescribe to it? It is of a great moral concern if risks of harm on particular psychoactive substances and their legal status remain unrelated.”