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German study finds cannabis use triggered 2 deaths

BERLIN (AP) - Cannabis use likely triggered fatal complications that led to the deaths of two men with underlying health conditions, according to scientists in Germany.

The findings are noteworthy because cannabis isn't normally associated with acute physical problems, let alone death.

The researchers, based at Duesseldorf and Frankfurt's university hospitals, said these were isolated cases but suggested people who might have serious heart problems should be made aware of the risk of cannabis use.

Their study was published online this month in the journal Forensic Science International.

The cases involved two outwardly healthy young men, aged 23 and 28, who died unexpectedly after smoking cannabis.

"To our knowledge, these are the first cases of suspected fatal cannabis intoxications where full post-mortem investigations (...) were carried out," the researchers said.

Autopsies showed that the younger man had a serious undetected heart problem and the older one had a history of alcohol, amphetamine and cocaine abuse.

These underlying conditions, combined with cannabis's known effect of increasing a user's heart rate or blood pressure when lying down, may have caused the men's hearts to lose their rhythm.

Dr. Benno Hartung, one of the study's authors, said the cases were among 15 deaths the scientists reviewed between 2011 and 2012. In 13 of them, other factors likely were to blame.

"We assume that these are very rare, isolated cases," Hartung said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday, noting that it was hard to draw any wider conclusion about the number of deaths that might be caused by cannabis use.

Still, the researchers concluded that while cannabis isn't particularly toxic and its effects are short lived, people who are at high risk for cardiovascular diseases should avoid the drug.

Dr. David Nutt, who is chairman of Britain's Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs and wasn't involved in the study, said the researchers had presented an "exceptionally complete collection of evidence in support of their theory that, unusually, cannabis was the trigger for these two tragedies."

"People with vulnerable hearts should be informed of this risk with cannabis," he said.

Nutt added that alcohol and tobacco use are responsible for a large share of premature deaths in Europe each year. An additional strain to the heart during strenuous activities can have similarly fatal consequences in people with underlying conditions, he said.

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gyumaoh March 14 2014 at 6:15 PM

LOL @ a bunch of loser stoner commenters that can't handle science fact.
Keep on tokin' guys, especially if you have heart problems!!

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shirley February 28 2014 at 12:15 PM

imbombming fliuid u should check forstuff like that im tellin u they didnt just die from smoking a joint im a doctor n it was laceed or something theres never been a death from weed there was people with the same problums backin the 60's so u sare tellin me for over 54 almost 55 years people with the same probloms heart that is they all where just lucky no theres someone bring this up well more like making it up so they wont or dont want to pass the new law for shopes in the area put shopes in the area n watch crime b ne's n other drug use go down i guantee it i give my word on it plus the government will make a hell of alot of money IF U GUYS WITH UR SHOPES PAY UR TAXS THATS WHY NOT ONLY DO U GET SHUT DOWN BUT HERTS EVERYONE ELSE THAT NEEDS IT B/C U MADE 12,000,000.00 LAST YEAR N CANT PAY THE 2,000,000.00 IN TAXES U STILL MADE 10,000,000.00 THATS MORE MONEY THENU POSSIBLE NEED IN JUST ONE YEAR SO PAY IT PLEASE IT NOT EVERONE GET PISSED AT THEM NOT THE IRS OR GOVENMENT WHITCH I HATE THEM TOO WELL EVEN MORE I LOVE THE SHOPES BUT U CANT NEVER HAVE TO MANY LOL SO START BUILDING N GET SOME KUSH GREEN SOUR N SOME BLOW N CHANG N 10MM BULLET N M-CAT ALSO PUT THAT IN UR CAR OUT BACK THANKS LATER BY ZACH MYERS TORONTO,OHIO 43964 424 3440

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1 reply to shirley's comment
hanbffe February 28 2014 at 6:47 PM

Haha look at the way you talk. U R NOOOOOOO DOCTOR

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rlpjr2 February 28 2014 at 8:57 AM

Yeah right!!!! Some underlying cause could not be from the Marijuana no way.... I am a medical Doctor and Chemist and know this for fact!! Completely unfounded study and false research...

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sept2749 February 28 2014 at 7:58 AM

Heart condition and poly drug abuse huh? and you think the pot killed them. Whoever ran this study is a moron. Furthermore it is irresponsible to print the results of a study that does not show the number of people in the study OR were there just 2. That is not a study it is anecdotal crap that proves nothing at all.

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SwtSunShower February 28 2014 at 7:22 AM

I never heard such BS in my life.

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signsbycat February 28 2014 at 3:56 AM

Who ever wrote this article is the worst kind of human that exists on this planet. These people promote fear of things in our precious life that are fun and safe. I only hope karma will take of such ignorant humans.

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Sharon February 28 2014 at 3:25 AM

Increased heart rate and higher blood pressure when you lay down after smoking cannibus???????????????? Hahahahahahahaha only people who trust hear say but don't experience it everwould even consider that as the cause. Guys you missed something and you picked , just by chance, the most controversial argument in America right now. You just so happen to make "with evidence" a published article on the dangers. I bet you got paid handsomely for that. The first time I believe the Pharmacutical companies ar actually concerned about this continuing to be pushed and chosen state after state as a source of non-pharmacy proven natural pain relief. Regardless of the money our government could make and settle our debts, the Pharmecutical companies and their investors could potentially lose billions in revenue not to mention what stocks would fall on Wal Street. If a person could grow their own. Some people could come out of debt and have a life while managing their sickness. Medication prices have become astronomical.....something that should be illegal, communicating death threats, attempted murder and illegal assistance to help a suicide.......Pay or suffer,if you don't come and pay me once a month and pay for this medication I will let you do with out.....if you vomit until you tear your throat from stomach problems......just bring me your money and we will help you, watching you leave in agony...oh well....if you kill yourself because their is no life when you live in agony and you can't pay those prices. Sorry about your luck.
Cannibis can naturally be grown for free and depending on the blend will kill pain with no sicknes, Calms an upset stomach due to Chemo, GERD etc, Increases the appetite in patients who don't want to eat after Chemo/Radiation, reverses Anorexic behavior, bring sleep to ppl with sleepless nights, there are even some to do multible things while keeping you Alert, Awake and Aware so that you may function on a job. No missing work because your doseages or medication keep you asleep and require a notebook to keep up with. Better have Insurance for co-pays ....which means you better not get hurt or get sick....no money no medication or care. There would be less crime once the change is accepted of making it legal for medicinal useage. It cuts those pharmacutical companies hard and deep. I don't think they should be the ones allowed to sell it either. They have kept it away from people that could really benefit and have a better quality of life for themselves because they didn't have land...they had labs and they need biologists, scientists, physicists, lab techs, equipment, testing and then they want lots of profit too shove pills .
I think this Articles Doctors were paid off, you will see more and more of this as time goes on and states transistion. I just wish for relief in cheaper ways for all the people that could benefit and better their quality of life.
God looked after us....plant a seed. :)

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WolfSong03 February 28 2014 at 3:05 AM

why even reprt this..??? trying scare tactics?

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SwtSunShower February 28 2014 at 7:24 AM

OF COURSE it;s a scare tactict. People need to look at the ratio of ALCOHOL related deaths as opposed to this,,,well this is nonsense. It was not the weed...it says they both had underlying healrh conditions. Anything could have triggered this.

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CaptainRoadKill February 28 2014 at 3:01 AM

HA!!! I bet that was one hell of a hang over!!!

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straight2spam February 28 2014 at 2:49 AM

I`ve remember way back in the seventies,when we use to smoke a thin joint was very strong and clean,yes like panama red,mexican gold weed,jamaican brown good stuff.Now in these day no such thing.

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swimminsid February 28 2014 at 3:02 AM

really because science clearly states otherwise since our genetic manipulation has created strains three times the strength of anything in existence pre 90's.....you're getting piss weed bro

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