Reefer Madness Continues: Can Marijuana Kill You?

(Dr. Mitch Earleywine was elected as the Chairman of the NORML Board of Directors in February 2014)

A recent headline reads: “Can Marijuana Kill You? German Scientists Say Yes.” The article focuses on a study of two (count ‘em, two!) young men who died while they had detectable levels of THC in their blood. I take a lot of pleasure in this kind of melodrama. If prohibitionists are stooping this low, we must really be frightening them. (It’s not completely pharmacologically ridiculous. Marijuana does increase heart rate. In fact, it can jack up heart rate almost as much as an espresso or energy drink. Maybe if you already had a weak heart and a coffee and a bong hit, well, something might happen.)

But I want to point out that we should actually expect literally thousands of reports like this. We should hear about lots of people who have heart attacks on the same day that they commune with the plant. It’s not because cannabis causes heart attacks. It’s simple chance.

I hate for my first blog as Chair of The Executive Board to be this nerdy, but I’ve been teaching statistics for more than 20 years. If that doesn’t make me a nerd, I’m not sure what would. But given how many people use cannabis daily and how many heart attacks occur in the United States, it’s actually a miracle that we haven’t heard about this kind of thing before. We also should expect to hear it a lot more often.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 7,600,000 Americans (over age 12) used marijuana daily or near daily in 2012. In addition, the Center for Disease Control suggests that about 715,000 of us have heart attacks in a year. (Let’s assume those under age 12 are probably not grabbing their chests with a myocardial infarction too often.) In addition, let’s guess that the United States has about 280 million people over age 12. It’s hard to know the exact number, but that’s probably in the ballpark.

With this in mind, we can predict how many people should have a heart attack the same day that they used cannabis simply by chance. That is, even if these two things had nothing to do with each other, we should expect some folks to have a heart attack the same day that they used cannabis just by accident.

Okay. It’s going to get nerdy here, but this is comparable to asking simpler questions. If I had a dime and a nickel, I might want to know what the chances are that I’d flip heads on both. I flip heads 1 out of 2 times on average for the dime, for a probability of .5. Then I flip heads on the nickel 1 out of 2 times on average, also for a probability of .5. So the chances of flipping heads on both is .5 * .5 for .25. So we’d expect to get heads on both coins about 1Ž4 of the time. If I flipped both coins 100 times, I’d get around 25 pairs of heads. Note that there’s nothing causal here. The nickel doesn’t know what the dime did. It doesn’t want to be like the dime. It’s not that the dime caused the nickel to flip heads.

So it’s the same deal for the cannabis-related heart attacks. If 7.6 million people use cannabis daily out of 280 million relevant Americans, that’s a probability of .0271. And if 715 thousand of 280 million have heart attacks, that’s a probability of .0026. Multiply these the same way we did with the probabilities for flipping heads (.0271 * .0026 = .00007). Now .00007 is a dinky number. If there were only 100 people in the country, we wouldn’t expect any of them (well, .007) to have a heart attack and smoke cannabis on the same day. But we’re talking about 280 million people here. So we’d expect .00007 * 280,000,000, = 19,600. That’s over 19,000 heart attacks.

So the question isn’t, “How did these two guys die of a heart attack with THC in their blood?” It should be, “Where are the other 19,598 guys who should have had heart attacks with THC in their blood?” In fact, the absence of this many cannabis-related myocardial infarctions inspired my wife to ask, “Does cannabis protect the heart?”

If we repeal prohibition, we’ll get to find out.

Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, Bravata DM, Dai S, Ford ES, Fox CS, Franco S, Fullerton HJ, Gillespie C, Hailpern SM, Heit JA, Howard VJ, Huffman MD, Kissela BM, Kittner SJ, Lackland DT, Lichtman JH, Lisabeth LD, Magid D, Marcus GM, Marelli A, Matchar DB, McGuire DK, Mohler ER, Moy CS, Mussolino ME, Nichol G, Paynter NP, Schreiner PJ, Sorlie PD, Stein J, Turan TN, Virani SS, Wong ND, Woo D, Turner MB; American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013 Jan 1;127(1):e6-e245.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

68 thoughts

  1. Taking another perspective, just because there was THC in their blood doesn’t mean it contributed to or caused their death. To cite: “the drug, known affectionately as weed, can be detected in the body for weeks and sometimes longer. How long it remains in the system depends on how often or how much marijuana the user has been smoking.” So where’s the smoking gun?

  2. Let’s not forget, sudden death due to cardiac arrest occurs 325,000 times a year in the U.S. alone. That’s people without a cardiac history, or any symptoms. It would stand to reason some of those people would also simply by random chance, have ingested cannabis that same day. I’d say with numbers like those, it’s a stretch to believe you could find zero incidence of cannabis use. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/sudden-cardiac-death

  3. I offer this tale of woe for the marijuana prohibitionists…a true story:

    I’ve been smoking pot for about 47 years, with breaks of months from time to time, but pretty consistently. Over the years I’ve noticed the development of some disturbing physical issues. They include wrinkles, hair loss, weakened vision, creaky joints, bunions, and I don’t care to stay up and party all night like I did in my 20’s. It follows logically that Marijuana must have caused these things to happen to me.

    Soooo, beware all you young people who are convinced that marijuana is not very harmful. I thought that too, and now I look like a much older man…and the same has happened to every other person I know who has smoked the devil’s weed for 40-50 years.

  4. “We also should expect to hear it (death from marijuana) a lot more often.” I’m sure we will, and the media will parrot it with soundbites.

    Thanks for your efforts on behalf of NORML, Dr. Earleywine.

  5. How did an article like that ever pass peer review? One assumes that all scientists are trained to understand statistics and probability. Shocking.

  6. People also have water and food in their system when they die, so I guess we should all stop eating and drinking too. Unless they prove that the death was directly related to the THC in the blood it’s just a scare tactic.

  7. The more important question would be: Is the level of THC today vastly different from what it once was in the 70s?

    There has been studies where the % of THC today than from the past is literally night and day. People with emotional instability can be worsened with potent marijuana, possibly causing psychosis and/or schizophrenic like symptoms.

    In other words, people are cultivating marijuana for the potency of getting high and not for medical purposes (which would be CBD to my knowledge).

    Just recently there was an article on Yahoo about ‘wax’ which is a super-concentrated form of THC residuals which according to them, is so potent that it will leave you high for more than a day (24 hours). God knows how much more damaging this may be to our ‘psyche’ let alone the fact that more studies are needed in this area. That is the endgame for marijuana’s future and possible legalization. Thank you~

  8. The more important question would be: Is the level of THC today vastly different from what it once was in the 70s?

    There has been studies where the % of THC today than from the past is literally night and day. People with emotional instability can be worsened with potent marijuana, possibly causing psychosis and/or schizophrenic like symptoms.

    In other words, people are cultivating marijuana for the potency of getting high and not for medical purposes (which would be CBD to my knowledge).

    Just recently there was an article on Yahoo about ‘wax’ which is a super-concentrated form of THC residuals which according to them, is so potent that it will leave you high for more than a day (24 hours). God knows how much more damaging this may be to our ‘psyche’ let alone the fact that more studies are needed in this area. That is the endgame for marijuana’s future and possible legalization. Thank you~

  9. Nerd. Lol

    So we shouldn’t be looking at the 2-3 reported deaths from marijuana, but we should be looking at the possible 842,000+ lives saved by this plant since 1970. All while considered a schedule 1 drug with no medicinal value and possession illegal by the federal government, and still many states.

  10. Definition: the act of making definite, distinct, or clear; a defining.

    Given that the current definition of marijuana is NOT scientific, but rather is
    argle bargle mixed with truthiness, then that definition is the source of our impediment. More to the point, it should never be legalized because it is such a sorry definition. For instance, when we proclaim the benefits of marijuana, the growers think we are talking about a plant, the pharmacistically inclined think we are talking about a drug, and the LEO’s refute us as they are trained to hear “marihuana”, because all of that is in the current definition:

    (16) The term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.,
    whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part
    of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture,
    or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include
    the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake
    made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt,
    derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin
    extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such
    plant which is incapable of germination.

    Marihuana exists only to be prohibited. If it were legal, then what would be the point of the existence of that definition?. The truly constitutional definition is the scientific one. To repeal cannabis prohibition, we must call for this scientifically provable definition of marijuana:

    (16) The term “marijuana” means all parts
    of the smoke produced by the combustion
    of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    It establishes a reasonable distinction between cannabis and marijuana, for the
    purposes of controlling that “other substance” which the non-smokers, as well as
    their children can recognize and understand. Categories with regulations can be established by the States based upon the THC content, similar to the THC-based definition of hemp.

    Like gay marriage exists only to be prohibited when the goal is legal marriage by
    gays, so to does marihuana exist only to prohibit cannabis. The courts have repealed those anti-gay marriage laws because there is no constitutional justification for them. Likewise, there is no constitutional justification to call cannabis “marihuana”, when the goal is to restore the legal use of cannabis.

    If we want to smoke cannabis, then we must select a desired variety, and per the scientific definition, individually act to create marijuana. Marijuana doesn’t kill, and should be rescheduled, but in the meantime, the rhetoric would be cleared up.

    We must tell our representatives in Congress to redefine marijuana. Let this be the year that we all take action to change that definition.

  11. Also – were these people maybe smoking resin/tobacco mix doobies? Tobacco smoking spikes BP, we know already. Compare with eating resin or oil in brownies & cookies, on pizza or crumbled up in a hot chocolate. Smoking generally, putting air & smoke thousands of degrees centigrade, into your lungs, is always a bad idea. Nomming the stuff or inhaling cooled vapours, much much better.

  12. One thing for sure we know that alcohol produces the deaths – depending on the individual’s circumstances that can be even from a low dose (considered safe for most people).
    It is highly suspicious that this apparently lethal effect from cannabis has only been noticed once it has started to be legalised (although not in a legalised area as far as we know). I can’t believe that this effect has not been observed before. Do they think that it is a new phenomenon or just something that has been missed before ? If it is something new then it is best monitored under a legal regulated system.
    A peanut is more likely to kill you so maybe we should start a peanut prohibition movement.

  13. Marijuana can kill you only if a 4 ton pallet of Kush fell on top of you !
    Science will educate the weak minded people. I prefer science over the
    mindless babble of some Politican who is getting paid by the alcohol industry
    to keep it illegal.

  14. The question I would ask is how accurate,and 100% precise are these pathologist verdicts regarding ‘cannabis’ being the undoubted cause of death in these ‘heart’cases?

    For example are all other possible causes of death,and other contributory factors completely eliminated from their verdicts? Furthermore can their ‘professionalism’ be questioned?

    Of course the question that begs an answer is have they been persuaded by parties with an ulterior motive to sway towards a death by cannabis verdict?

  15. Very interesting story Mr. Earleywine!!!

    As someone who has been using marijuana almost daily since the early 70’s, there is a significant chance that if I every die of a heart attack, or any other way, tests would show cannabis to be in my blood…

    I’m pretty sure that the thousands of other times I used it without incident would be completely ignored by the prohibitionists who would choose to tie my death to the marijuana… Idiots!

  16. First of all, congratulations to you Mitch Earleywine. Its good to know that there’s someone with a sense of humor at the helm. I must say that this article has given me the best laugh over a morning cup of coffee. And for my two cent, I’m siding with your wifes suspicion of it helping the heart.

  17. Cannabinoids help the body assimilate oxygen, most people with heart attack or stroke have a “higher” chance of a full recovery, when supplamenting with cannabinoids as cellular survival & oxygen sustaination/deprivation go hand in hand.
    neuroprotectivity = SAFE

  18. These scientists only said that they don’t know what exactly killed them, but that the two guys had thc in their blood. So the corollary is that marijuana is deadly.
    They didn’t even test the weed for synthetic cannabinoids or other cutting agents.
    Great scientists!!

    Greetings from Germany

  19. Not only would I question where the other 19,598 guys, but also what was used in the experiment.

    If it’s anything close to rigged like Nixon’s version of the cannabis experiment, the conductors will steam out that cannabis causes the damage but without relaying the details.

    I think there was laced cannabis in the experiment, and though cannabis was present in the deceased, no one would likely volunteer the details about the product in question.

  20. Beautifully written. And a very valid question: Does cannabis actually protect the heart? The facts say it does. Facts do not lie.

  21. Like you say it is random, chance, dependent on a lot of factors coming together. Because for my personal study, with a Starbucks drink venti size and multiple times of green hits thru out the day no fatal result yet for years.

  22. So these two young guys had serious underlying health problems, and this jackass goes for the least likely factor?

    Man, talk about Occam’s Razor.

  23. BAM!!! Whatcha got to say to that all you fear mongoring, scaredy cats of a plant that’s still never killed anyone. Your times up. Time to face the truth of the the situation. Many many lies have been told about this amazing plant. It’s too classic, all you hear on the news right now is guys claiming “the harms” , “the dangers” ooohhhhh so scary. How about some specifics on these harms and dangers? What, can’t really find any? Why not? Well just in case you weren’t listening from before, it is because marijuana doesn’t kill you!!! Have a nice day. And blaze it, vap it, drip it, dab it or munch it, how ever you enjoy your cannabis, help keep spreading he knowledge of its wonderful truths.

  24. Oh no that’s way too much logic for a prohibitionist. Please take that down to the 1st grade reefer madness level to try to communicate with them.

  25. Someone is putting a lot of effort into digging up these obscure stories lately. This should have never made the national news and I’ve seen a handful of other low-grade scare pieces show up in the last couple of weeks.

    Meanwhile, something like this barely gets mentioned in anything beyond local news. – http://www.herald-citizen.com/view/full_story/24617524/article-Former-deputy-arrested-for-theft–tampering?

    It’s one of America’s fine drug warriors who’s been indicted on 30 counts, so far, for… well, basically shaking down the public. Mostly the out-of-state public on a major state highway which during the drug warrior bonus season included traffic to/from Bonnoroo. He was using seizure laws to confiscate money and personal property. Which he kept. Except for the personal property he didn’t want, he sold that back to the people in exchange for a cash donation to the drug fund. Which he pocketed. And there was a little false imprisonment and whatever official oppression means. None of which seems to be as newsworthy as a German study with dubious credentials that found a couple of guys with severe pre-existing cardiovascular problems died while high.

  26. Welcome to where even nerds make cool sense compared to the transparent lies of prohibitionists statistics. (Not naming any liars; like Greg Abbott).
    Glad to read that we have a doctor on board to help us deflect the mountains of propoganda we have to weave through this election season.
    Here are my favorite statistics:

    Annual Cause of Death in U.S. Related By;
    (Reported by CDC and Drugsense.org):
    Tobacco: 450,000
    Alcohol: 110,000
    Prescription Meds:110,000 (and rising)
    Caffeine: 10,000
    Marijuana: 0 (in all recorded history)

    Your analysis, Dr. Earleywine, reminds me of a paper I wrote on marijuana in a statistics class in College. It was Dr. Gabriel Nahas, an Egyptian anesthesiologist who used stratified sampling in Senator Eastland’s Congressional hearing report that lead to the Constitutional treason we call the Controlled Substance Act. Stratified sampling is arguably circumstantial evidence in court because the polls are contrived and/or voluntary, or in other words, not a “random” sample of a population.
    One of my favorite testimonies from Dr. Nahas is where he testifies before Congress, (during the original hearings that prompted Nixon’s War on Drugs), that “smoking marijuana could make you homosexual.”
    Now I dont care what kind of weed Dr. Nahas was smoking, but if he went from smoking weed to smoking cock, Ive got news for him, he was gay BEFORE he smoked any marijuana. His statistics sound to me more like he was sampling from some fruity pebbles and started cherry picking his evidence a little too much through Lollipop valley if you know what I mean. (is that even a square in Candyland? I dont know, but you get my point).
    Not to mention the illogical, immoral argument that marijuana should be outlawed even if it DID “make” people gay. Does that really require jail time? I cant make this stuff up people. Its in the archives of the Library of Congress, and it is the historic Congressional hearings of our great nation’s present day cannabis policy. (Not the part about lollipop valley, I mean the testimony by Dr. Nahas that marijuana makes people gay).
    Everyone that smokes marijuana knows that thc uninhibits subconscience thought to create, imagine and do things you already enjoy but prohibit from thought or action due to the daily stess and constraints of the work day schedule, either from internal fear or external prohibition. So if you skipped a meal before a toke you get the munchies, (especially with weed both high in CBDs AND THC). So if you were already gay and in the closet, I suppose a hit of weed would appear to “make” you… What you already were.
    Marijuana is naturally anti-prohibitive- but for feelings and decisions an individual was already producing before inhaling, ingesting, vaping, sucking, or whatever it is one chooses to do in their own free time.
    It is both misleading and irresponsible to use random causes of death, work related accidents or even equate vehicular competence for people positive with THC and say the ends justify the means without understanding the science or analyzing what else may be influencing an individual’s decisions. THC’s effects last only two hours but stay in our fat cells up to 30 days or more. Our laws must determine WHEN someone was under the influence not just IF to create accurate statistics.
    What’s even more abhorrent is that this unscientific excuse for evidence for prohibition by Dr. Nahas was accepted by Congress while the Shaffer Commission’s detailed account of scientific evidence testified before Congress that marijuana reduced tumors in mammals was thrown out and has been bottled up for more than four decades now! A federal denial of a treatment for cancer? Now THAT sounds like a cause of death!
    And to answer your wife’s question, Dr. Earleywine, YES, by relatively far majority, marijuana is absolutely good for the heart. (How does the heart measure happiness? Let me count the grams…)
    The heart contains cannabinoids, and when stimulated with more CB2 creates homeostasis in the entire cardiovascular, endocryne and endocannabinoid systems. (Evolution and Ethnobotany, Robert C. Clarke). Dialation of the blood vessels causes increased blood flow and higher metabolic rate as cannabinoids are also stimulated in the lungs, liver, intestines and other organs. Cannabinoids stimulate our organs to function properly, increasing nutritional absorption. This means Michael Phelps can hold his breath longer and store more energy while he swims.
    And while someone with weak blood vessels or a weak heart may be vulnerable to spikes in blood pressure, cannabinoids play vital roles in reducing instestinal growths that cause high blood pressure by making us anemic such as tumors, fibroids, pollups and general damage to the intestinal wall due to insufficient digestion… Or media aggravation by allowing our hearts to tolerate the Republican primary debates. Furthermore, marijuana strengthens blood vessels by providing all the essential, nutritive amino acids to the tissue walls required by the human body, especially when ingested or vaporized.
    In conclusion, even if one could prove marijuana accelerated heartbeat in a heart attack victim with weak blood vessels, the majority of clinical evidence outlines an overwhelming majority of benefits that strengthen the human heart’s overall health. Hell, that just made my heart happy just to write all that down. And I didnt even have to smoke it; We can even get high and healthy on other people’s uninstitutionalized, uninhibited cannabis education. You can go ahead and drug test THAT, Robert DuPont.

  27. They had levels of THC in their blood maybe, but they were smoking Spice, which caused the heartattack.

  28. This post was exactly nerdy enough! So many people in this country lean heavily on arguments back by unsound “post hoc” fallacies implying causation where there is none.

  29. Personally, it protects the heart. I have heart disease and my family has heart disease. My brother who was 5 years younger died a couple years back. The difference is I smoke marijuana and he never did. To boot I smoke cigarettes and my brother never smoked cigarettes. The reason I smoke cigarettes is to mask the smell. Once it is legal I will quit smoking cigarettes.

    I talked with my cardiologist and she told me hoe it besides raising the heart rate lowers my blood pressure which protects my heart.

    🙂

  30. I love reading this…..because they have no record of anyone dieing from cannabis , its now becoming clearer that they are now looking for the first case to say it can kill…..So far i find this story of the 2 men who died with cannabis in their systems to be sad but yet a disapointment that the label applied here is Marijuana has claimed its place as a killer…..
    Both men had other contributing factors other then cannabis that were valid in the sad ending of their lives.
    Please see, that if they had cannabis in their systems and were almost hit in a head on collision the out come may or maynot have been the same, or if they had rode the most terrifing roller coaster in the world…..or any other self destruction situation that mey have over loaded these 2 young men into haveing the result of lose of life…….Its just sad that now because its known that we have no record of any one who has perished because of cannabis that we now will have a department who is sitting by trying to seek out the blame game with cannabis……
    its no wonder the world is the way it is……we have given up our spot as explorers to become collective blamers…..

    as always
    thanks for reading
    chris

  31. This was a fun analysis but the predictable counterargument will be that most heart attack victims are over whatever age most heart attack victims are over while people under that age are over-represented in the numbers of daily cannabis users. So basically I’m suggesting that the data need to be corrected for age and possibly other factors.

  32. I know this is off subject however; referring to governor Jerry Browns comments on this Sundays news. I would like to ENCOURAGE governor Brown to stick it up his production.

  33. Thanks for your efforts with NORML, Dr. Earleywine.

    Check this out folks.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mbvd/police-chief-cites-satirical-websites-37-deaths-as-evidence

    “I had not seen the spoof before, but it was self-evidently a parody,” Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) said. “In the absence of real data, Internet hoaxes are becoming marijuana Prohibition’s last stand.”

    The chief makes $147K/year. I’m from Maryland. I have to chip in with my taxes to pay for this willful ignorance.

  34. We need not report on anything Russia publishes. They are a communist nation, of which its people are repressed, and brainwashed.

    The artical was complete bullshit. On one hand they say both had unfound preexisting major medical conditions. Then the next sentence those medical conditions in no way had anything to do with the heart attack that killed them. One had major heart condition – unknown to the individual. The other was a cocaine and herion user for over half his life. Cigerret user over 3/4 of his life.

    Not to mention the autopsy s were only performed to see the results of using SPICE not marijuana!!!

    Marijuana has never killed a human EVER!!!! Keep searching for one case, you will be searching a long time.

    Legalize marijuana Now!!!!!

  35. Now prohibitionists will quote this article claiming that 19k people die each year from Cannabis induced heart attacks. Any takers on this bet? The claim will be that these 19k people were already at risk and that marijauna could have played a role… thus implying to the masses that if you are at risk (and you may not know that you are), marijuana could push you over the edge. This claim will work in a similar fashion to the “if you are at risk of psychosis… drugs will make you psychotic” claim.

  36. It figures this scaremongering would come from Germany, home country of much of the world’s Big Pharma and chemical company giants.

    Free Robert Duncan! Is there a campaign to keep him out of prison I can donate to? I’ll tell you it really pisses me the fuck off that the feds are getting away with this shit they’re pulling with Robert! Barry, pull some strings and keep him out of jail!

  37. Dear Dr. Earleywine, I do believe they died from being alone and possibly ingesting marijuana. However, like folks can sometimes keel over dead while having sex; should sex be banned? I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying these guys died from smoking weed. They did somehow stress their systems too much, perhaps even with previous drug use the researchers have no way of knowing about. Literally, these guys smoked up and keeled over with their open bags still sitting there. Had they gone out to a movie, it might have killed them too. Their hearts miss-beat and lost rhythm, caffeine can easily cause this in sensitive individuals.

    Also, they started with 15 “marijuana related” deaths not two.

    However, these guys were alone. You can also say being alone killed them as had they had some other folks around, they could have called 911 or whatever system they have in Germany. Simple CPR might have saved them.

  38. Better order a few million body bags to Colorado.
    Oh? it’s been legal for 2 months already? Never mind.(my attempt at sarchasm)

  39. What I’m trying to say is while marijuana might be to blame for killing these two guys, I have a very strong feeling they might have died from arrhythmia from almost any cause. Oh and I see the one guy did die on a bus, but we don’t know if he smoked right before he died. Clearly the one fellow did. Even with this detailed investigation, we still don’t know that marijuana actually caused the arrhythmia. It might have been related to a negative emotional state they were in at the time. I don’t think you can find this out by doing an autopsy!

  40. Sudden unexpected death under acute influence of cannabis Forensic Science International
    (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.02.001

    “We assume the deaths of these two young men occurred due to arrhythmias evoked by smoking cannabis; however this assumption does not rule out the presence of predisposing cardiovascular factors.”

    The authors of these case reports admit they did not rule out “predisposing cardiovascular factors” which is most the common cause of sudden death.

  41. Welcome to NORML Nation, Dr. Earleywine! Very insightful and entertaining (because of all the numbers, not in spite of them) inaugural blogpost. And thank you — THANK you — for employing the botantically appropriate term “cannabis” in lieu of the slang “marruhwanna.” I’m looking forward to your near-future contributions to the cause of Correction of Cannabis Prohibition.

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