The media is being plastered again this week with another round of “Pot Kills” propaganda; this time from a team of German researchers claiming to have uncovered evidence proving marijuana can snuff out stoners.
The study entitled “Sudden Unexpected Death Under Acute Influence of Cannabis,” which was published in the latest edition of Forensic Science International under the guidance of Dr. Benno Hartung, asserts that after conducting post-mortem examinations of 15 known marijuana users, the cause of death for two men could not be explained by anything other than… you guessed it, marijuana.
News sources like the United Kingdom’s Mail Online were quick to bastardize this story last week, spreading a certain level of fear led with the ridiculous headline, “Smoking Cannabis CAN Kill You.” However, on Wednesday, the head of the German Association for Drugs and Addiction decided enough was enough, emerging to discredit the study.
“Cannabis does not paralyze the breathing or the heart," said Jost Leune, in response to claims that two men died as the result of cardiovascular complications caused by smoking marijuana. "Deaths due to cannabis use are usually accidents that are not caused by the substance, but to the circumstances of use,” adding the claims made by the study authors were “exaggerated.”
In the study, researchers concluded that two men -- one a 28-year-old with no pre-existing medical conditions, the other, a seemingly healthy 23-year-old -- died from a rapid change in heart rate called cardiac arrhythmia likely caused by smoking marijuana, according to researchers because factors like alcohol use or liver damage were not present.
“It’s a diagnosis of exclusion so you have to rule out all other possibilities,” said Hartung in a recent article with New Scientist. “Even though it may be rare, I hope others investigate death by cannabis intoxication in other cities. Particularly in light of the increased use of cannabis for pain relief.”
As we witnessed in the misguided case of the late Gemma Moss -- the young woman that was found dead earlier this month after supposedly smoking half a joint – although there appears to be an insurgence of so-called medical professionals prepared to use marijuana as a scapegoat for unexplained deaths, the research contradicts them.
A recent study published in the journal Science finds the body’s production of a chemical called pregnenolone is what prevents the possibility of a fatal marijuana overdose. Another study, published in a 2006 issue of American Scientist finds a pothead would need to consume 1,000 times more than the effective amount to flirt with the possibility of an overdose death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse concurs, stating it is not likely a person could die from a marijuana overdose.
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.