Colorado doctors claim infant died of marijuana THC overdose

By Nick Givas

Two poison control physicians from Colorado believe an 11-month-old child died due to a fatal overdose of marijuana.

The medical report was published by “Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine” in March and was authored by doctors Thomas Nappe and Christopher Hoyte. This is the first time they have publicly commented on the case from two years ago, according to KUSA Wednesday.

The study claims the boy had no history of medical problems but became “lethargic” for two hours before having a seizure. Nappe and Hoyte believe the child’s heart muscle was damaged, triggering the seizure which led to cardiac arrest.

The doctors said the child was well nourished and generally healthy, but a toxicology screen revealed the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol-carboxylic acid (THC). Nappe and Hoyte believe the THC caused the damage to the child’s heart.

Nappe and Hoyte discovered the boy was being housed in an “unstable motel-living situation” and said his parents admitted to possessing drugs, including marijuana.

“As of this writing, this is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure,” Nappe and Hoyte wrote. There has yet to be a reported overdose from cannabis, according to the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“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. Hoyte said the child’s condition never improved and things only got progressively worse before his heart stopped.

Inflammation of the heart muscle, also known as myocarditis, can be caused by a viral infection or immune disorder, but these were ruled out in the report. Despite evidence the child ingested some form of THC, Nappe and Hoyte stipulate the cause of death could have been from some other underlying cause.

Their claim about the fatal nature of cannabis was challenged by emergency medicine specialist Dr. Noah Kaufman, when he told KUSA he was skeptical of their theory.

“There’s so many things that cause the problem that this poor baby had, that we’re not even close to saying it was definitively a marijuana overdose,” he said. “Allergies can cause this.”

“I’m going to have to call ‘BS’ on this one,” Kaufman concluded.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Cannabis Training University