Society

Doctors Doubt 'Cannabis Poisoning' as Reason For Death of British Mom Gemma Moss

| by Allison Geller

Doctors have cast doubts on the claim that a British woman, Gemma Moss, died of “cannabis poisoning” after smoking half a joint.

British newspapers including the Mirror, The Daily Mail, and the Telegraph had a field day over a supposed coroner’s report that cited marijuana as the 31-year-old’s cause of death last October.

“The postmortem could find no natural cause for her death, with the balance of probability that it is more likely than not that she died from the effects of cannabis,” said the coroner, Sheriff Payne.

"In 40 years I have never come across deaths from cannabis alone…This case serves as a warning that cannabis can cause immense harm,” David Raynes of the National Drug Prevention Alliance told the Telegraph.

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Moss, a mother of three, was reported to have collapsed in bed and suffered a cardiac arrest after smoking half a joint. She had smoked marijuana frequently before, but not in the two years before her death. She picked up the drug again when experiencing anxiety over a break-up.

Her cause of death was recorded as cannabis toxicity, making her Britain’s first woman to die from marijuana.

But some experts are skeptical of the veracity of these claims. The New York Daily News asked several area doctors to share their thoughts.

"From half a joint? That's ridiculous," said and Dr. Yasmin Hurd, a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

"It would be very, very, very unlikely to get a lethal dose of the marijuana if wasn't adulterated with something," agreed Dr. Bradley Flansbaum, a hospitalist at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that the death-by-weed “flies in the face” of medical research.

"You would need to literally consume a third of your body weight in marijuana," Tvert said. "There are no acute marijuana deaths."

And Peter Reynolds, the leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), told HuffPost UK that Moss' spontaneous cardiac arrest could not be pinned to pot.

"Science simply doesn't support this verdict. There must have been another factor involved and there isn't any evidence that cannabis was the causative factor," Reynolds said.

Sources: TelegraphMirror, New York Daily News HuffPost UK