The National Institute on Drug Abuse denied that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol in a statement Monday.
The statement was partially in response to a push by the pro-pot group — the Marijuana Policy Project — to portray alcohol as more harmful than marijuana, according to the Huffington Post.
Last month, the Marijuana Policy Project ran a pro-marijuana commercial at a Nascar race.
"If you’re an adult who enjoys a good beer, there’s a similar product you might want to know about, one without all the calories and serious health problems,” the ad claimed. “Less toxic so it doesn’t cause hangovers or overdose deaths. And it’s not linked to violence or reckless behavior. Marijuana. Less harmful than alcohol and time to treat it that way."
The ad was discontinued soon after it aired.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse said that the pro-marijuana advocates’ claims could not be proved.
"Claiming that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol cannot be substantiated since each possess their own unique set of risks and consequences for a given individual," the institute said in the statement.
PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization, took the side of the Marijuana Policy Project, after researching the issue, according to PolitiFact.com.
PolitiFact concluded that it is “mostly true” that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol, based on death rates and the doses of each substance a person can have before feeling toxic effects.
Marijuana Policy Project communications director Mason Tvert said he thinks the federal government has exaggerated the toxicity of marijuana for decades. He added that he thinks the institute is disregarding science with its claims.
"It is one thing for our federal officials to convey their opposition to marijuana policy reform,” Tvert said. “It is an entirely different and more disturbing situation when they are conveying opposition to scientific evidence."