Potheads believe that there’s no such thing as marijuana overdose, well, two poison control doctors think otherwise.
In an incident that claimed the life of an 11-month-old baby in Colorado two years ago, the doctors claim to have documented the first known case of death by marijuana overdose; this has sparked a medical debate over the cause of the death.
The two doctors co-authored a case report that was published in the Journal of Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine. Doctors Thomas Nappe and Christopher Hoyte worked on the baby’s care as part of their duties at the regional poison control center.
They allege that damage to the child’s heart muscle, which was listed as the boy’s cause of death, was brought on by ingesting marijuana.
“The only thing that we found was marijuana. High concentrations of marijuana in his blood. And that’s the only thing we found,” Hoyte said. “The kid never really got better. And just one thing led to another and the kid ended up with a heart stopped. And the kid stopped breathing and died.”
The bold statement made by the case report is the first of its kind in the scientific world, “As of this writing, this is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure.”
However, other doctors are very skeptical of the strong language used in the report. “That statement is too much. It’s too much as far as I’m concerned,” said Dr. Noah Kaufman, an emergency medicine specialist based in Northern Colorado. “Because that is saying confidently that this is the first case. ‘We’ve got one!’ And I still disagree with that.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet on pot says simply that “no death from the overdose of marijuana has been reported” and the National Institutes of Health says there is “insufficient evidence” to link THC overdose to fatalities. The claims pose a threat to the steady march toward marijuana legalization in the US.
The report that an overdose death happened in Colorado has the potential to change the way people think about the steady march toward marijuana legalization in the US.