Government health officials release a new report, warning that marijuana infused edibles pose a great risk to people’s lives.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) felt a responsibility to inform people on the matter as new details regarding the death of a young 19 year old man have surfaced. They released a statement saying that “This case illustrates a potential danger associated with recreational edible marijuana use”.
The victim, Levy Thamba Pongi, died last year in Colorado after consuming a dose of marijuana cookie six (6) times higher than the recommended one. What that means is that he ate an entire cookie. The result? He ended up jumping off of a fourth-story balcony.
Marijuana edibles include cookies, brownies, chocolates, lollipops, mint-flavored and neon-colored drinks, and other products. It’s easy for people who are new to the drug to exceed the recommended dose, as well as eat or drink too fast, and the consequence of such a behavior is usually a trip to the hospital, or even death.
Among the non-lethal side effects people can expect to experience massive anxiety attacks or a state resembling psychosis.
It’s important to know that eating marijuana affects people differently than smoking it. When someone eats marijuana, the THC is absorbed into the bloodstream a lot slower and the intoxication lasts considerably longer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed Pongi’s case and found that the overdose that led to suicide was most likely accidental. The experts recommend that marijuana edibles should be clearly labeled with the recommended dose and sold in limited portion sizes that are in accordance with that dose.
Levy Thamba Pongi was an exchange student who came to the United States from the Republic of Congo. He was found to have no history of drug use and no history of mental illness. In March 2014 he decided to visit Denver with some of his college friends. The working theory is that the trip was meant to be a marijuana experience all along.
As anyone aged 21 and over can legally buy marijuana edibles in Colorado, one of Pongi’s friends purchased the above mentioned marijuana cookie. The seller warned the youngsters that they should only eat roughly one-sixth of the product (10 mg of THC per serving) and that it can take up to 30 minutes for someone to feel the effects of the drug.
However, after 30 minutes of not feeling any effects, Pongi decided to eat the entire cookie, which adds up to a dose of 65 mg of THC. Witnesses said that he had an erratic behavior, with the police report revealing that he told his friend: “This is a sign from God that this has happened, that I can’t control myself. It’s not because of the weed”.
Roughly two and a half hours (2h 30 min) after eating the marijuana cookie, Pongi jumped out of his bed, went outside his hotel room (which was on the fourth floor), and jumped from the balcony. He died of trauma upon impact, and the autopsy report revealed that marijuana intoxication was the chief contributing factor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also warns that people who choose to consume drugs aren’t the only ones at risk. If the labels on the packages aren’t clear, the marijuana snacks risk being eaten by children who confuse them with regular cookies, brownies or candies.
Unfortunate as it is, young Pongi’s case is not the only example of people overdosing on marijuana infused edibles and dieing.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician from New York City, gave a statement saying that there is no lethal amount of marijuana that you can ingest. Even if someone were to eat several cookies they would not die from having consumed the cookies themselves. The problem is that these products affect the psyche and bring forward whatever mild or severe underlying mental health issues a person may have.
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