The doctors behind the case report, Doctors Thomas Nappe and Christopher Hoyte, worked on the baby’s care as part of their duties at the regional poison control center. They claim that damage to the child’s heart muscle, which was listed as the boy’s cause of death, was brought on by ingesting marijuana.
“The only thing that we found was marijuana. High concentrations of marijuana in his blood. And that’s the only thing we found,” Hoyte said. “The kid never really got better. And just one thing led to another and the kid ended up with a heart stopped. And the kid stopped breathing and died.”
If correct, the phenomenon Dr. Hoyte claims to have documented would remain the only time a marijuana overdose is known to have caused a human death.
Other doctors are deeply skeptical of the strong language used in the report.
“That statement is too much. It’s too much as far as I’m concerned,” said Dr. Noah Kaufman, an emergency medicine specialist based in Northern Colorado. “Because that is saying confidently that this is the first case. ‘We’ve got one!’ And I still disagree with that.”
It’s widely accepted as fact that marijuana overdoses are not fatal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet on pot says simply that “no death from overdose of marijuana has been reported” and the National Institutes of Health says there is “insufficient evidence” to link THC overdose to fatalities.
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