Two Colorado doctors claim they have documented the first case of a person dying from consuming too much marijuana.
Drs. Thomas Nappe and Christopher Hoyte shared their findings in the journal, “Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine.”
Nappe and Hoyte wrote in their study that the first person to die from a marijuana overdose was an 11-month-old boy.
The child, who died in 2015, was rushed to the emergency room after having a seizure. The boy’s guardian told doctors that the child had been retching, was “irritable” and lethargic in the days leading up to his hospitalization.
A team of doctors, which included Hoyte and Nappe, examined the boy for medical conditions but found he was otherwise healthy, KUSA reports.
The child soon became unresponsive in the hospital and was given a breathing tube as his condition worsened.
The doctors said the boy’s heart stopped and, despite efforts to resuscitate, the child died.
Following the death, doctors found the child’s blood and urine contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, they wrote in the journal.
Hoyte and Nappe also discovered that the child had myocarditis, which causes the heart muscles to become inflamed and stop working.
The doctors, who noted that myocarditis is rare in children, said they tried to find causes that contributed to the boy’s heart issues, but they couldn’t find anything.
They believe the child consumed a lot of cannabis very quickly and the marijuana overdose caused the myocarditis, which ultimately killed him.
“The only thing that we found was marijuana. High concentrations of marijuana in his blood. And that’s the only thing we found,” Hoyte told KUSA. “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.”
Hoyte and Nappe said a review of the child’s history found “an unstable motel-living situation” and his parents allegedly confessing to using drugs, including marijuana.
“In the age of legalized marijuana, children are at increased risk of exposure, mainly through ingestion of food products, or ‘edibles,’ ” Hoyte said. “I feel very comfortable with the workup that we did and how much we ruled out in this particular case.”
It was not revealed if anyone was prosecuted related to the child’s death.