A WOMAN has died of an overdose of cannabis, a coroner has ruled, making it the first-ever recorded death of its kind, it has been reported.
The unnamed 39-year-old was killed as a result of a vaping an excess of Tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC – the main active ingredient in marijuana and the one which gives users a high.
The woman died of an overdose of cannabis after vaping the drugCredit: Getty – Contributor
According to coroner Christy Montegut, of St John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana, the woman died after vaping THC oil in February.
The coroner, who has been in his post since 1988, says it’s the first death on record solely as a result of excessive THC.
Experts have, however, cast doubt on the ruling pointing out that the amount of THC needed to kill a human being is much higher than that found in the woman’s body.
Dr Montegut is standing by his report and told the New Orleans Advocate: “It looked like it was all THC because her autopsy showed no physical disease or afflictions that were the cause of death.
“There was nothing else identified in the toxicology — no other drugs, no alcohol. There was nothing else.”
The woman’s boyfriend said she went to hospital complaining of a chest infection three weeks before her death but was sent home with over-the-counter medicine.
“I’m thinking this lady must have vaped this THC oil and got a high level in her system and (it) made her stop breathing, like a respiratory failure,” said Dr Montegut.
There was nothing else identified in the toxicology — no other drugs, no alcohol. There was nothing else
Coroner Christy Montegut
A spokesman for Louisiana’s Department of Health said in all other recorded deaths involving THC, the deceased had other drugs or alcohol in their body.
The toxicology report said she had 8.4 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Addiction expert Professor Bernard Le Fol estimated that any dangerous level would be between 100 and 1,000 times higher than the THC level found in the woman’s blood, the Advocate reported.
Former White House drugs policy adviser Keith Humphreys also cast doubt on whether the woman died of a THC overdose.
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He said that with the vast amounts of marijuana consumed in the US every year, it’s hard to imagine that more overdose deaths wouldn’t be occurring if THC was toxic at consumable levels.
“We know from really good survey data that Americans use cannabis products billions of times a year, collectively,” he said.
“Not millions of times, but billions of times a year. So, that means that if the risk of death was one in a million, we would have a couple thousand cannabis overdose deaths a year.”
What is THC and what are the laws on cannabis in the UK?
THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis that makes users feel „high”.
The side effects of the drugs are generally believed to be on the brain, producing anxiety and even hallucinations.
Vaping pot actually increases the rate of short-term anxiety, paranoia, memory loss and distraction, scientists have found.
Because people tend to think that vaping is safer, they might not be so careful about dosing.
Cannabis, marijuana or weed is classified as a Class B drug, putting it in the same category as ketamine and amphetamine.
Being caught with cannabis comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
On November 1, 2018, medical cannabis became available to patients in the UK on NHS prescription.
The drug will be available to patients across England, Wales and Scotland after the Government faced mounting pressure from campaigners.
In the past, cannabis has been classed as a schedule one drug, meaning that it was thought to have no real therapeutic value.
Products are required to contain less than 0.05% THC.
The death is the first recorded one from from an overdose of THC, the coroner has saidCredit: Getty – Contributor
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