Metadata: Death is a sure thing in life, however, it is impossible to predict, with accuracy, how a demise will occur. This brings us to the question ” How many people have died from smoking weed”?
Marijuana enthusiasts posit that the strongest evidence against the use of marijuana is, perhaps, the fact that it contributes to global warming — which is said to destroy the ecosystem and ultimately causing people to die annually. While this claim about marijuana-related deaths might appear funny, it is largely true.
Why Are We Concerned with Marijuana Related Deaths?
Whenever a death occurs, three things are of importance – where the person died, the time of death, and what caused the death. Why do we bother with the third? A coroner is hired to ascertain the death so as to be able to allocate more resources to preventable deaths.
For example, when road accidents account for a high number of deaths, an increased budget for overhead bridges and, perhaps, stricter regulations for seat belts emerge. The same applies to swimming pool deaths and fencing. This is also the reason behind free breast cancer screening for women over 45. However, the quest for answers to deaths related to marijuana was something else entirely.
Marijuana Related Deaths in Different Countries
The Chinese, since 5000 BCE, have kept a detailed record of how cannabis is being used medicinally and till now, there’s no recorded case of death resulting directly from the use of marijuana. In Germany, the only recorded cannabis-related death occurred just recently and the victims were not who you’d have expected.
The toxicological exam confirmed that both men (in their twenties) were under the influence of marijuana (which caused cardiovascular complications) as at the time of their death. Surprisingly, these men were going about their simple lives when death occurred. One died while using public transportation, the other was found dead in his home.
Another British woman was reported to have died from smoking weed. The woman, Gemma Moss, overdosed due to marijuana poisoning.
The Inherent Evil With Smoking
Smoking is bad. Tobacco kills almost 500,000 yearly, yet it is rare to find someone who died from an overdose of tobacco. Mostly, death will occur in form of lung or neck cancers and these are adverse effects of smoking, not necessarily tobacco. Similarly, smoking marijuana might put you at risk of respiratory complications and it is avoidable when you cook the plant or ingest in via some other methods.
Can You Overdose on Marijuana?
There’s a very long answer to this question. The short answer is no. all things being equal, it is impossible for you to overdose on weed. This means that considering overdosing on marijuana is definitely not going to get you accolades. In fact, you won’t be aired on “1000 ways to die.” Why? Because it is practically impossible for you to consume 1500 pounds of weed in ten to fifteen minutes. Or, is it?
Why Can’t You Overdose on Marijuana?
By overdose, the general meaning which will be adopted is “taking a lethal or toxic amount (usually above the prescribed threshold”. Can you overdose on morphine, heroin, cocaine, alcohol? Yes! There are several recorded deaths. Why does the rule apply to some and not to others? Let’s find out.
Opioids, heroin, etc. are ingested through receptors which are present in the brain stem. While this might not appear important at first, it might help to consider that this is the part of the body concerned with important activities such as breathing. Have you noticed that many people who overdose on these drugs mostly die from asphyxiation?
Cannabis, on the other hand, is absorbed by THC receptors and these receptors are not present in the brain stem. When ingested, they are absorbed by other parts of the body- the organs, tissues, etc. thereby making it practically impossible to overdose on it.
The ‘First’ Case of a Marijuana Related Death
In 2017, a news about the first recorded marijuana-related death made the front-page of blogs and reputable websites and proponents of the legalization of marijuana rode the wave to pass their message. The report which circulated was about the death of an 11-month-old who died after exposure to cannabis.
The boy’s death was said to have been caused by damage to the heart muscle and this was as a result of marijuana ingestion. According to the doctor, they only found marijuana in his bloodstream. High concentration of marijuana and this caused his heart to stop.
The co-author of the report, Dr. Thomas Nappe, of St. Luke’s University Health Network stated that his report was taken out of context and he was quick to dispel the rumor.
How Harmful is Marijuana?
Now that we have safely established that it is impossible for marijuana itself to kill you, we can go on to a mantra which might help the case against marijuana. “Guns are not deadly, the people who shoot humans are the criminals.” The ongoing gun violence in America brought about this quote and it seems to reverberate worldwide, except with the Democrats.
The premise is that we have millions of gun owners who do not perpetrate violence with their ammunition and only a select few go on a killing spree. This makes a lot of sense and can be applied to marijuana.
Weed is not harmful, however, if you choose to engage in harmful activities after ingesting weed, you’re to be blamed, not weed. This rationale is also underpinned by Dr. Jerome Avorn, a professor of medicine at Harvard medical school. He claims that the toxic effects of marijuana are still relatively safe and it’s only harmful when people do stupid things like driving after taking marijuana.
Death after Marijuana Edibles
Marijuana-related deaths are quite complex to analyze. Imagine someone decides to run over people on the streets with a car intentionally? Would you put the blame on the car? I leave that to your imagination. The same way, we shall present the case for or against marijuana below and you’re free to pass judgment.
Levy Thamba Pongi
In March 2014, Levy Thamba Pongi ingested marijuana cookies while studying abroad. After a while, he became very aggressive and irrational. It didn’t take long for him to jump off the balcony in his hotel. In all fairness to the man, the cookie had not been tested for contamination or potency, neither did Levy have any record of drug or alcohol abuse.
A month after Levy’s incident, a man ingested marijuana edibles and then went into the room, picked up his gun, and shot his wife, Kristine Kirk.
March 2015, a man consumes marijuana edibles. According to the report, he consumed more than 5 times the recommended dosage and then after this, he took his gun and committed suicide. While it is possible that there are other cases of marijuana-related deaths, it will be hard to attribute the blame solely to the use of weed.
Panic attacks, death from ingesting carbon monoxide, accidents from driving impairments, and other related symptoms of ingesting marijuana are also valid causes of death.
On almost every marijuana-themed forum online, the issue of synthetic marijuana is being discussed and it is beginning to attract more attention. For the record, synthetic marijuana is nothing like marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana is a leading cause of death worldwide. Unlike marijuana, this actually causes you to stop breathing and this can quickly escalate. Experts posit that the legalization of real marijuana will bring an end to this menace.
How About Other Regulated and Legal Substances?
Well, the difference is crystal clear. Alcohol is a minimally regulated substance. Deaths due to alcohol poisoning are put at about 2200 yearly. The record shows that about 88000 people have died as a result of heavy consumption too. This figure doesn’t account for those who had alcohol-related deaths such as drunk driving and other accidents. If we include this, the death toll might triple.
Illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin cause approximately 20000 deaths yearly. The figure increases to almost 30000 for drugs like Valium and other painkillers. Should we discuss the menace of tobacco? The world-renowned killer of men and slayer of youths? We probably shouldn’t.
To reiterate, “How many people have died from weed?” We’re not sure of the exact number, but there are fewer than 100 officially reported deaths. A research analyst once pointed out that the only thing harmful about marijuana is getting caught trading or taking marijuana. A valid conclusion would be to avoid doing anything you might regret after consuming cannabis. You’ve learned that it affects your judgment on the wheels, don’t smoke weed and drive. Don’t have preconceived notions of ills and then perpetuate it under the influence.
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