In late October 2013, a 31-year-old British national woman reportedly died as a result of cannabis toxicity.
Although a recent review confirmed the coroner’s findings. the exact cause of death remains unclear and several outside organizations dispute claims that the woman’s death was caused by cannabis toxicity.
Death from cannabis toxicity is highly unusual and this is only the second documented case of this kind to occur in the United Kingdom (UK). In 2004, a 36-year-old man from Wales also is believed to have died as a result of cannabis toxicity. While the woman’s official cause of death is disputed by several marijuana advocacy groups and other medical experts, the coroner found no evidence of any serious medical condition or natural cause of death and, therefore, concluded that cannabis toxicity was the most likely cause.
Although very few deaths have been attributed to cannabis toxicity, marijuana has a wide range of toxic health effects and is potentially fatal, even when
used in small doses.
For example, studies have shown that marijuana increases the heart rate and blood pressure shortly after use, which can result in cardiac arrest, stroke, and other acute pulmonary or cardiovascular reactions, especially in individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Although increasing cannabis consumption and the introduction of more potent varieties of the drug could result in other health issues, fatal overdoses will likely remain rare.
A greater concern is that users will combine marijuana with other substances and/or drive a vehicle while under the influence of the drug.
DEA Bulletin BUL-089-14 – Cannabis Toxicity Death, March 2014
DEA Bulletin BUL-089-14 – Cannabis Toxicity Death, March 2014 [4 Pages, 1.1MB]