A pair of Colorado doctors has put forward a report of what is believed to be the first documented death of a child due to cannabis.
In their case report, which was published in UC Irvine’s journal of Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine, Dr Thomas Nappe and Dr Christopher Hoyte noted that ‘to date, paediatric deaths from cannabis exposure have not been reported’.
They also wrote that since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado state, there has been an increase in the number of children exposed to cannabis. The recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 has been legal in the state since 2012.
The baby boy who died was 11 months old.
The child was irritable the day before he died, and wasn’t as active as usual. He was also retching.
The next day, the baby boy was lethargic for two hours after he woke up, then had a seizure.
When he arrived at A&E, he was unresponsive and had no gag reflex.
He had gone into cardiac arrest after the seizure, and despite doctors’ attempts at resuscitation, died not long thereafter.
The infant is not believed to have had any pre-existing conditions. According to the doctors, he was a normally developing, well-fed baby boy.
After the 11-month-old's death, it was determined that he had died due to myocarditis, which was most likely caused by the cannabis in his system. His parents admitted to possessing the drug.
Myocarditis is a disease in which the heart’s muscle becomes inflamed and damaged.
The disease usually occurs in otherwise healthy people. Myocarditis can be caused by a viral infection or autoimmune disease or, in rare cases, an adverse reaction to drugs.
The doctors recommended that more parents be educated on how to prevent their young children from being exposed to marijuana. They also suggested that urine tests should be used at A&Es in places where cannabis is legal when children are showing signs of myocarditis, to see whether marijuana is involved.
What a terrible tragedy. Our heart goes out to the baby boy and his family.
What do you think of cannabis, mums? Is it worth legalising for medical reasons, or does it pose too much of a risk?