Coroner claims Louisiana woman died of THC overdose

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FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2019, file photo, a bud tender shows a top cannabis strain at Serra, a dispensary in Portland, Ore. In an attempt to reduce the marijuana inventory in Oregon, the state is moving toward allowing the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to refuse to issue initial marijuana production licenses, based on supply and demand. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(WTVO) — A coroner in Louisiana claims a 39-year-old woman died as the result of an overdose of THC, according to an autopsy.

THC is the main ingredient of cannabis (marijuana).

St. John the Baptist Parish Coroner Christy Montegut said toxicology results showed the woman died from an excess amount of THC, according to the New Orleans Advocate.

“It looked like it was all THC because her autopsy showed no physical disease or afflictions that were the cause of death. There was nothing else identified in the toxicology — no other drugs, no alcohol,” Montegut said. “There was nothing else.”

Montegut, who has served as coroner since 1988, believes the case could be the first death on record caused solely by THC exposure.

But, drug researchers are skeptical of the claim.

“We know from really good survey data that Americans use cannabis products billions of times a year, collectively. Not millions of times, but billions of times a year,” said Keith Humphreys, a former senior policy advisor for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “So, that means that if the risk of death was one in a million, we would have a couple thousand cannabis overdose deaths a year.”

According to The Advocate, Humphreys said it is not uncommon for coroners to conclude large amounts of a drug in a person’s system was responsible for death when no other sign can be found.

“There’s always some imperfection in these kinds of assessments,” he said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse — a federal government research institute — says there’s never been an adult death attributed to THC.

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