Did Someone Die from Overdosing on Cannabis? (we're skeptical)
DENVER – In a report that was published last March in the Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine Journal, two doctors say the death of an infant that died two years ago was from myocarditis resulting from marijuana exposure. The report is being debated by other physicians in the medical field.
The report was written by two doctors from the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, Dr. Christopher Hoyte and Dr. Thomas Nappe, who treated the 11-month-old infant at the poison control center prior to his death.
They say that the boy had myocarditis, which means the heart muscle was inflamed, causing it to stop beating. Myocarditis is usually caused by a virus or bacterial infection, but since the doctors saw no evidence of an infection and found trace amounts of THC in the blood, they concluded that the myocarditis resulted from cannabis exposure. The report stated that “The only thing that we found was marijuana. High concentrations of marijuana in his blood. And that’s the only thing we found. As of this writing, this is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure.” They believe that the child was exposed to a high-potency single dose of marijuana anywhere from 2-6 days prior to his death.
Emergency specialist Dr. Noah Kaufman disagrees with the report, saying “That statement is too much. It’s too much as far as I’m concerned, because that is saying confidently that this is the first case. ‘We’ve got one!’ And I still disagree with that. There’s so many things that cause the problem that this poor baby had, that we’re not even close to saying it was definitively a marijuana overdose.” He added, “Allergies can cause this. What if the kiddo was allergic to the carnauba wax, or whatever is in the gummy that’s not the marijuana?”
Hoyte and Nappe say that due to their analysis, professionals in the medical field should screen any patients with myocarditis symptoms for THC if they live in an abundant marijuana state and that parents be advised of the dangers of potent marijuana concentrates because edibles are several times stronger than marijuana flowers.
There has never been a death from an overdose of marijuana, according to The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institutes of Health, who states that no sufficient evidence exists that cannabis has ever caused a death.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.