Louisiana coroner claims first THC-related death, but some experts are skeptical

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The coroner of a Louisiana parish is claiming that a 39-year-old woman died from a THC overdose in February.

Dr. Christy Montegut, who has served as St. John the Baptist’s coroner for more than 30 years, announced the supposed THC-related death in toxicology report released late last month, Fox 8 reported. The parish is about 30 miles west of New Orleans.

FILE: A jar of medical marijuana sits on the counter at Western Oregon Dispensary in Sherwood, Ore. 

“I’m thinking that this lady must have vaped this THC oil and got a high level in her system and (it) made her stop breathing, like a respiratory failure,” Montegut told The Advocate.

If true, Montegut’s claims would be the first in the U.S. But many experts remain doubtful given that no deaths – attributed solely to THC – have ever been reported despite billions of cannabis products consumed each year.

“We know from really good survey data that Americans use cannabis products billions of times a year, collectively,” said Keith Humphreys, a former adviser at the White House 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 National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are no reports of teens or adults dying solely from THC — the main ingredient found in cannabis.

Montegut, however, is standing by her report. She told The Advocate that the woman’s autopsy report “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. There was nothing else.”

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