Late last week, a plague of pot propaganda began spreading across the Internet, claiming that a 31-year-old mother of two by the name of Gemma Moss died from an apparent marijuana overdose.
Reports from The Telegraph indicate that Moss was found dead in October of last year after smoking half a joint to ease her insomnia. A medical examination conducted by Dr. Kudair Hussein was said to uncover no abnormalities in her vital organs, only moderate to heavy levels of marijuana in her blood stream -- suggesting that cannabis toxicity was the cause of her death, which is exactly how it was recorded with the coroner.
"I looked through literature and it's well known that cannabis is of very low toxicity,” said Dr. Hussein. "But there are reports which say cannabis can be considered as a cause of death because it can induce a cardiac arrest."
Now, while none of us here at HIGH TIMES holds a medical degree, we must tell you; we have never heard of anyone dying from a marijuana overdose… not even close. Sure, we’ve smoked with our fair share of amateurs that will grip their chest, complain they cannot breathe, and in some situations, even proclaim at the top of their lungs that they are in fact going to die. Nevertheless, aside from a handful of these freak outbursts, no one we have ever known has gone down for anything more than a nap after smoking too much marijuana.
But don’t take our word for it. There is a plethora of research available that suggests death from a marijuana overdose is impossible. The most recent being from a study published in the journal Science, in which researchers discovered that when the brain is consumed by high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, it produces an abundance of pregnenolone, preventing the effects of the drug from getting too intense. Meaning, a person can only get so high before the body starts blocking the buzz.
Interestingly, a report published in a 2006 edition of American Scientist, entitled “The Toxicity of Recreational Drugs,” is consistent with recent studies. The report finds that for a person to sustain a fatal marijuana overdose, they would have to consume over 1,000 times the effective dose. To put that into perspective, an individual would only need to drink 10 times more than the effective amount of alcohol to kill them.
Most researchers agree that marijuana users are not physically capable of consuming deadly amounts of the herb, which is the reason there have not been any reported marijuana deaths throughout history… that is until Gemma Moss.
However, many medical experts argue that Moss’ cause of death is extremely questionable, to say the least.
“There’s been no history of any verified reports of a death from cannabis ever, in 5,000 years of history,” said Dr. Alan Shackelford in a recent interview with The Cannabist. “Cannabis can cause an increased heart rate, and there’s a possibility that it could cause a problem with someone with a pre-existing heart disease -- for example, somebody with an elevated heart rate. But there’s no known dose of cannabis that could kill a human.”
Dr. Shacklefield, who is the physician responsible for evaluating patients for medical marijuana at Amarimed of Colorado, says that while he has no clue what killed Gemma Moss, he is “near 100-percent certainty that it wasn’t cannabis that killed her.”
Even the federal government, who appears hell-bent on maintaining marijuana’s Schedule I dangerous substance classification, does not believe marijuana is capable of killing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated in the past that it is not very likely that a person could overdose and die from marijuana.
Incidentally, upon further investigation, authorities found reason to believe that Gemma Moss may have been taking various prescription drugs to combat her depression. Yet, there is no reported evidence to prove Moss was taking these medications at the time of her death.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.