Docs Behind '1st Fatal Marijuana Overdose' Report Say Chill

They 'are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed' an 11-month-old child
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2017 2:20 PM CST
Docs Behind '1st Fatal Marijuana Overdose' Report Say Chill
   (Getty Images/Yarygin)

The Colorado doctors behind those reports of the first documented fatal marijuana overdose would like everyone to please chill out. Dr. Thomas Nappe tells the Washington Post they "are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed" an 11-month-old child two years ago. Nappe says he's disappointed news reports have mischaracterized the conclusion reached in a case study authored by himself and Dr. Christopher Hoyte. He says they simply recorded a possible link between cannabis and myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that killed the child. The case study states "this is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure.” But Nappe warns that "associated with" does not imply marijuana caused the death.

The sensationalizing of the case study may be due in part to an interview Hoyte gave to KUSA. “We extensively ruled out almost every other cause that we can think of,” Hoyte said regarding marijuana and the child's myocarditis. "We found no other reason why this young kid ended up having inflammation on his heart.” He added: “We just wanted to make sure that we’re not going to call this a marijuana-related fatality if there was something else that we could point at. And we looked and looked and couldn’t find it." Noah Kaufman, an emergency room physician already skeptical of the case study, says "you just can't make those statements because ... it can be sensationalized." "It's not based on reality," he says. "It's based on somebody kind of jumping the gun." (More marijuana stories.)

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