Society

Teen Jumps To Death After Eating Entire Marijuana Cookie

| by Mackenzie Fleming

The death of a teen vacationing in Colorado last year was determined by officials to have been largely due to marijuana intoxication.

Reports say 19-year-old Levi Thamba Pongi, a Wyoming college student, was visiting Denver on spring break in March 2014 when he jumped to his death after eating an entire marijuana cookie. The cookie contained about six servings of tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana responsible for its effects, according to Live Science. 

The incident began when Pongi received a store-bought marijuana cookie from a 23-year-old, who could legally purchase recreational pot in the state. The friend had been told by a sales clerk to divide the cookie into six pieces. Each piece would contain the recommended serving size of THC, about 10 milligrams, Live Science reports. 

After initially following the recommendation, Pongi reportedly waited 30 to 60 minutes and did not feel anything. Not feeling the desired effects, he then apparently ate the rest of the cookie. 

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"Because of the delayed effects of THC-infused edibles, multiple servings might be consumed in close succession before experiencing the 'high' from the initial serving, as reportedly occurred in this case," a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said.

According to the CDC report, in the hours following, Pongi showed erratic speech and aggression. Pongi’s friend told investigators the teen “exhibited hostile behavior” after eating the cookie, including pulling things off walls, The Associated Press reported.

About two and a half hours after eating the entire cookie, Pongi jumped off a balcony on the fourth floor of his building. He died as a result of the trauma from the fall.

His death was ruled an accident by Denver police, but the investigation remained open, AP reported. 

Pongi’s body was tested by the medical examiner’s office for about 250 different substances, but his blood tested positive for only THC, according to AP. An autopsy revealed his blood levels of THC to be 7.2 nanograms, above the legal limit for driving a car in Colorado. The autopsy report listed marijuana intoxication as a “significantly contributing factor.”

Pongi, a native of the Republic of Congo, was studying engineering as an exchange student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, AP reported.

"The Northwest College campus community continues to grieve after Levi's death," the college said in a statement. "All of us were deeply saddened by this tragic incident and feel for his family."

Source: Live Science (2), USA Today (AP) / Photo credit: AP