False Alarm: Still No Record Of A Cannabis Overdose


Through all of the ‘Reefer Madness’ propaganda cannabis activists have held fast to one fact: cannabis has never killed anyone. Really, there are zero overdoses on record from eating or smoking the flowers or products made from them. Science actually supports the fact that the chemical compounds in cannabis do not affect the same areas of the brain which other drugs that lead to overdose commonly do. With this fact firmly in place, a wave of shock and confusion swept the community when a news story claimed that we had finally seen the first cannabis overdose.

After a few days have gone by the MD’s behind this major claim have stepped up to let us know the truth. What happened is that Thomas M. Nappe, DO and Christopher O. Hoyte, MD co-authored a case report gathered from their time working at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, CO. In the very first line of the report, the doctors state that there has been an increased number of pediatric exposures to cannabis. That same sentence also states very clearly that pediatric deaths from this exposure have yet to be reported. Later in the report, after explaining the specific case they explain that they have reported the first pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure. By this, the doctors were implying that this was the first case of pediatric death case where cannabis was present in the infant’s system. This statement in no way states with fact that the first cannabis overdose has occurred.

The issue with this study really started when a news source ran with the story that a child was killed due to cannabis exposure after jumping to conclusions on the somewhat confusing wording. Luckily, just days after the news story broke, the doctors involved stood up to state that this was all a big misunderstanding. This is important since the cannabis community has fought for decades in an attempt to make this medicine accessible to patients everywhere. One fake news story like this could spread like wildfire and set the movement back decades.

So, to set the record completely straight, there is still no record of a cannabis overdose. This story simply comes down to a combination of confusing verbiage and a lack of fact-checking.

November 23, 2017

by Cara Wietstock

Profile photo of Cara Wietstock
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.


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