The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that there was “a potential danger” to consuming cannabis edibles. They cited one case last March when a 19-year-old man committed suicide after eating edibles and jumping off a fourth-story window.
Levy Thamba had eaten an entire cannabis cookie bought legally from a Colorado shop. After showing “erratic behaviour” the Denver coroner’s report says, “The decedent eventually reportedly jumped out of bed, went outside the hotel room and jumped over the balcony railing.”
While the death was attributed to jumping from that height, the coroner’s report lists cannabis as a contributing factor. Because of this, the CDC is now reporting that there is at least one death linked to cannabis consumption.
Jessica Hancock-Allen, an epidemic intelligence officer with the CDC told CBS news: “If you ingest a large quantity of edible marijuana in a short amount of time, you risk over-consumption, and in increased risk of mental health effects.”
Despite the CDC’s warnings, Dr. Robert Glatter, a New York City physician, had a more balanced outlook. “This is not a lethal amount he ingested,” he said, “You could eat several of these cookies and be put into a euphoric state, and possibly have anxiety, but that, in and of itself, would not be lethal.”
“He likely may have had a predisposition or some underlying mental illness we didn’t know about, that became unmasked when he ate the cookie,” he said. “That’s probably the issue here.”
In addition to one cannabis death, the CDC reports over 23,000 deaths from prescription drugs, 390,000 from tobacco, over 88,000 deaths (plus 16,000 traffic fatalities) related to alcohol, and over 10,000 deaths directly attributed to cocaine and heroin.