United Kingdom: NHS Reports Cannabis As Cause of Death

335The tragic news of a Mother’s death has taken an unusual turn in the UK. According to reports the sole cause of death was smoking half a joint.

The Telegraph reports:

A mother-of-three is believed to have become the first woman in Britain to die directly from cannabis poisoning.

Gemma Moss, a 31-year-old churchgoer, collapsed in bed after smoking a cannabis cigarette that led her to have moderate to high levels of the class B drug in her system.

Tests of her vital organs found nothing wrong with them although it was suggested she might have suffered a cardiac arrest triggered by cannabis toxicity.

Miss Moss’ death was registered as cannabis toxicity and a coroner recorded a verdict of death by cannabis abuse.

Deaths directly from cannabis are highly unusual. In 2004 a 36-year-old man  from Pembrokeshire became the first person in the UK to die from cannabis toxicity.

David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: “It is extremely rare and unusual for a coroner to rule death from cannabis abuse.

“In 40 years I have never come across deaths from cannabis alone. There   have been cases where it has been combined with other drugs or alcohol.

“It has often been said that cannabis doesn’t cause death. Users usually pass out before they can take enough cannabis to kill them.

“This case serves as a warning that cannabis can cause immense harm.

“Cannabis is know to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Cannabis   these days is designed to be much stronger than cannabis used in the sixties   to meet demand of users who want a stronger hit.”

Miss Moss, a devout Christian, had frequently used cannabis during her adult   life but had stopped for two years before her death last October.

She started using it again to help her sleep after becoming depressed and anxious due to breaking up with her boyfriend.

An inquest heard Miss Moss smoked half a joint a night to help get her to sleep.

Her friend, Zara Hill, said she and Miss Moss smoked about £20-worth of cannabis together in the week before her death.

Miss Hill told police that Miss Moss smoked as much as £60 pounds-worth of the drug a week, although this was disputed by her family.

On the night of October 28 2013 Miss Moss, who had two sons, Tyler, 15, and Tessiah, eight, and a daughter, went to bed after rolling a joint.

She was found unresponsive in bed the following morning by Chloe Wilkinson, the girlfriend of Miss Moss’ teenage son.

She summoned an ambulance to the flat in Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset, but Miss Moss was pronounced dead at the scene.

Half of a joint was found underneath her body and a wrapper containing brown and green leaves of the class B drug was discovered in her handbag.

A post mortem examination revealed that there were no obvious signs of abnormality in Miss Moss’ body.

But Dr Kudair Hussein, a pathologist, told the inquest in Bournemouth, that there were moderate to heavy levels of cannabinoids in her blood.

He said: “The physical examination and the examination of various organs including the heart and the liver showed no abnormality that could account for her death.

“The level of cannabinoids in the blood were 0.1 to 0.15 milligrams per litre, this is considered as moderate to heavy cannabis use.

“I looked through literature and it’s well known that cannabis is of very low toxicity.

“But there are reports which say cannabis can be considered as a cause of death because it can induce a cardiac arrest.”

Mr Sheriff Payne, the Bournemouth coroner, asked Dr Hussein: “You are satisfied it was the affects of cannabis that caused her death.”

Dr Hussain replied: “Yes sir.”

Full story here.

The Disinfonaught filing this story is probably as surprised as you are by the news. I can’t help but be drawn to the closing part of the above article which cryptically reveals:

“She suffered from depression and was on prescription drugs to try and deal with that although it would not appear she was taking them at the time of her death.”

Our thoughts are with the family as regards this tragic death but the pathologist concerned is likely aware of how questionable his analysis of its cause will be for some.

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here: http://thecultofnick.libsyn.com/

63 Comments on "United Kingdom: NHS Reports Cannabis As Cause of Death"

  1. Jay Converse | Feb 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm |

    I call bullshit on this one.

  2. Ffejtball | Feb 1, 2014 at 11:27 pm |

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

  3. Seems legit.

  4. That mom needs to smoke a bowl and chill the fuck out. Check out that old-school metal chamber pipe in the picture.

    • 1captainhooker1 | Feb 1, 2014 at 11:54 pm |

      Wow – I haven’t seen a zeppelin since the 90s.

      • Conspiracy Carrot | Feb 2, 2014 at 10:26 am |

        I had one until a couple years ago. With the sneak-a-toke metal cap, they are good for driving or cycling. Been meaning to pick up another, in fact.

        • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 10:33 am |

          they heat up fast though. don’t burn your fingers trying to get that last smolder!

    • InfvoCuernos | Feb 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm |

      Remember back when weed sucked so bad, you had to use a screen? I don’t of course, but I read that in a book once…

  5. they never bothered to research the cause of death for pot smokers before NOW with Pot Smokers claims it has never causes death what did you expect ?

    • Anarchy Pony | Feb 1, 2014 at 11:51 pm |


      • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 3:46 am |

        insert punctuation in various places in sentence to alter meaning in hilarious ways….
        “They never bothered to. Research the cause of death for pot smokers
        before NOW with Pot Smokers. Claims it has never cause[d] death, what? Did
        you expect!?”

        • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 7:52 am |

          “They never! Bothered to research the cause of death? For pot smokers before NOW with Pot Smokers? Claims it has! Never! Causes death? What!? Did you? expect!”

      • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 8:19 am |

        Don’t I feel like an asshole now, having looked at ‘James’ profile to read “Disabled Vet
        College Grad
        Father of 6
        Biggest kids of the bunch”. Oh well, I’ll eat whatever is thrown.

        • Calypso_1 | Feb 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm |

          Meh. Let’s run with it.

          They never bothered. To research the cause of Death.
          For pot? Smokers before, NOW with Pot Smokers.
          Claims it has; never causes.

          Death, what did you expect ?

          • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm |

            They, never bothered, to research the cause. Of death for pot smokers! Before NOW! With Pot Smokers–claims it has never causes–death, what did
            you expect ?

          • Bothered, they never research[ed] death. Before now, Pot claims death, [be]cause Pot expect[s] what you did. To the smokers! Never has smokers! It has! Of, for, with… Causes?

          • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm |

            You took some artistic liberties there. Allowing for word rearrangement would involve a new level of commitment I don’t think I am prepared for…

          • Calypso_1 | Feb 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm |

            If we are going that far, I think interpretive dance is in order.

          • Calypso_1 | Feb 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm |

            They never! …bothered… to… research.
            The cause of? Death.
            For pot smokers – Before.
            Now! w/ Pot!
            Smokers claims? It has never.
            Causes death? What?!
            Did you?

          • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm |

            Can’t… shake…. the image of… William Shatner…

          • Mick-Doscious | Feb 12, 2014 at 8:49 pm |

            Reading all replies in Captain Kirk mode. 😀

  6. The fact that I luv all things ‘cool britannia’ notwithstanding, the pot there leaves quite a bit to be desired…mainly BC they prefer spliffs or hashish mixed with tobacco.

    So I’m gonna go with the decades worth of science on the issue. If cannabis would cause cardiac arrest in people who didnt have pre-existing conditions, it would have shown up in the data. Also, I’m certain some Right-Wing nut would’ve presented it in order to SAVE THE CHILDREN! …from legal cannabis in CO. Nor would it efficacious to have such a vast medical marijuana mkt for ACTUAL illnesses like cancer-not restless leg syndrome.

    I realize i’m no physician, but the coroner is and this is what attests to, sooo…

    • M00nface | Feb 2, 2014 at 5:19 am |

      “…the pot there leaves quite a bit to be desired…”
      You should hook up with me next time you’re on this side of the pond…

      • Hey MOOnface, thanx for the hospitality! Actually I should be moving there by this summer! i’m really excited – just keep your fingers crossed for me.

  7. Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 1:29 am |

    Once again the cannabis is proven to be a powerful narcotic with fatal properties. This mother should have tried alcohol to help her sleep; it’s much safer.

  8. BuzzCoastin | Feb 2, 2014 at 1:50 am |

    death by cannabis abuse

    it’ll be the death o me yet

    • Rey d'Tutto | Feb 5, 2014 at 2:46 am |

      The closest I’ve ever heard or seen anything about “Cannabis toxicity” to is when a friend of mine coughed so hard & long after a toke that he passed out.

  9. Hoarfraust | Feb 2, 2014 at 1:52 am |

    As legit as saying sex killed someone or a rollercoaster ride did. A bad heart is a bad heart.

    • It mentions that she had just suffered a bad break up. How do we know she didn’t die of “heart break”…it was reported last year that it is indeed possible.

      • Calypso_1 | Feb 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm |

        There have been studies showing that many heart attack survivors identify the MI with a specific emotionally traumatic event. There are oscillatory networks in the amygdala that contribute significantly to cardiac response to emotion. MI has also been shown to be triggered by seizure like activity in the amygdala.

  10. Craig Bickford | Feb 2, 2014 at 3:26 am |

    This is a contrivance. If you notice, there is no scientific cause related in the article. As an example, It’s one thing to say cause of death heart attack, then on coroner/ME reports the secondary explanation of that COD listing is a break down of what contributed to, and ultimately was the root cause that supports the stated cause of death condition to occur. That information is not included in this story, and as such can be labelled domestic drug propaganda as far as I am concerned. Now I will concede that a death like this could take place, under the circumstances they are asserting are contributed to this death, but you have to prove it, not assert it for anyone with critical thinking skills to come to the same understanding. This example is not how a cause of death is officially related on documents and in communications when a person wants to deal with or become informed of the real medical classifications related to how cause of death is described. I see no reason to assume that this information is valid in any way. The way I could identify this is in the opening paragraph of the original story where the phrase “it was suggested she might have suffered a cardiac arrest triggered by cannibis toxicity’ is used. That means there is an assertion in play, not a factual explanation. A cardiac arrest can be determined by a death inquest or autopsy, and it can be factually identified and recorded and has very clear cut and text book signs and indications that show that such a adverse medical state developed in a persons organ at the time of, or prior to their expiration That is not the language that is presented here. Later we read; ‘A post mortem examination revealed that there were no obvious signs of abnormality in Miss Moss’ body’, and earlier we have the statement that her organs were tested and “nothing was found wrong with them’. Clown shoes. if you can’t even construct a proper disinformation job, why even try.

  11. Testing Onetwo | Feb 2, 2014 at 4:34 am |

    I know you like your pot, but don’t go to these extremes defending it. What is called for here is a mature response not the same old stoner propaganda. Any substance with power to heal has the power to harm. The only perfectly safe substance is a substance without power.

    • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 8:10 am |

      Stoner propaganda… nice. In the 90 years since the dirty hippies have slandered us for putting forward our thesis of reefer madness, I’m glad we can hit them back for their own stalinist efforts to push their narcotics on us.

    • Mick-Doscious | Feb 2, 2014 at 9:16 am |

      “Stoner Propaganda” (ROFL) vs. Reefer Madness….hmmm, wonder which of the “two evils” is greater?

      • Testing Onetwo | Feb 2, 2014 at 10:26 am |

        It’s a plant. It’s not a panacea it’s not a toxin. Both sides are so wrapped up in their tiny little conflict that they have lost all perspective.

        When you choose a side you have already lost.

        • Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 10:39 am |

          That’s right brother. May we never lose sight of the fact that inhalation of all substances with power inevitably leads to death. The only solution is to avoid everything, at all times.

  12. Gjallarbru | Feb 2, 2014 at 8:07 am |

    Geez, even if the cause of death is right, how many deaths does alcohol cause a year with just DUIs? Yet we leave that stuff on the market, but are hypocritical enough to leave pot illegal.

    And, like many on this thread call bullshit on the cause of death too.

    • Matt Staggs | Feb 2, 2014 at 9:23 am |

      Or Oxycontin. I always find it funny that when I’m on a corporate wifi connection that news on cannabis legality is blocked as “drugs,” but Oxy, etc., is just dandy.

      • Gjallarbru | Feb 2, 2014 at 9:50 am |

        That is weird news to me, as I’m rarely on wifi outside my home. And when I am, it is to find some very specific info for a localized time sensitive need. So I don’t do much research away from home.

        I don’t consume marijuana or any other drugs, my meditations being strange enough as they are. Nonetheless, I’m all for legalized marijuana to simply to eliminate that much hypocrisy in the western world. Still, I’m curious about DMT, mostly to see if my meditations would be weirder, or just longer… Hell, let’s make DMT legal too, since we basically have the compound in the body anyway.

        Of course, your post brings up the point that both pharmaceutical and the booze industry sees marijuana as serious competition, and that is a whole other story…

      • InfvoCuernos | Feb 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm |

        I read (on the interweb, so you know its true) that a few anti-depressants are carcinogens.

  13. I live in Colorado. Pot is legal. People are dropping like flies here. Cemeteries are popping up next to pot stores but they can’t keep up with the deaths. How likely is it that this comment is bullsh!t? How likely that this article is true? (Actually in the last 33 days of legality not one health problem has been reported.)

  14. Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 10:19 am |

    Excuse me, but the cannabis tree’s marijana fruit is proven to not only
    induce heart attacks in the arteriosclerotic sufferers, but also mental tribulations in the weak willed.

  15. Adam's Shadow | Feb 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm |

    By the way, does anyone else find it unusual that her occupation/personal description is listed as “churchgoer?”

  16. festernaecus | Feb 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm |

    “Woman dies of unknown causes, authorities arbitrarily blame substance with no known history of fatalities.”

  17. festernaecus | Feb 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm |

    Dude. The joke is sailing right over your head, and you’re looking like a tool.

  18. The Design Flaw | Feb 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm |

    This is as fanciful as saying pot brought someone back to life.

    I wonder how many people died from alcohol poisoning that day…

  19. Rhoid Rager | Feb 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm |

    While it’s true that internal alcoholic consumption by those with the gout and excess bile secretion causes discomfort and sometimes death; you are still discounting the numbers of lives saved through external alcoholic consumption, via sanitary products and lotions.

  20. リカルド 忍者の心 | Feb 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm |

    Oh man, maybe I should sell my guns and buy some kilograms of pot, then half a joint will be cheaper than a bullet!!

  21. Justin_Khase | Feb 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm |

    I’m sorry you guys but this HAS to be bulls***…

  22. I’m trying to figure out if _you_ are actually the troll here.

    Surely no real person could be this humourless and/or dim…?

  23. This whole thing flat out stinks of fear from those seeing how the wind is blowing regarding general tolerance towards the weed, and in fact most non-alcoholic perception alteration concoctions (technical term). So naturally they invoke their standard fearmongering procedure – they shout as loud as they can about something that is flat out crap but most people will just see the headline and believe (or so they think). It was all over the Metro, a free giveaway trash paper that almost everybody in Leicester comes into contact with even if they don’t want to. I was discussing the story with a straight laced woman at work who agreed with me that it was all bullshit. I bet salt causes more deaths. Can we have a hysterical fearmongering panic about that please?

Comments are closed.