It’s possible that Dr. Christy Montegut has either made a breaktthrough medical discovery, but it’s a lot more likely that he’s just super wrong.
The coroner of St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana has claimed that a woman he examined died as a direct result of THC ingestion, which would make her the first person to do so on record in the history of these United States.
Montegut caught flack from other medical professionals, the international press, and a whole lot of other people after declaring that a 39-year-old woman died earlier this year from vaping THC oil.
“It looked like it was all THC because her autopsy showed no physical disease or afflictions that were the cause of death,” Montegut told the New Orleans Advocate newspaper.
“There was nothing else identified in the toxicology — no other drugs, no alcohol. There was nothing else… I’m thinking this lady must have vaped this THC oil and got a high level in her system and made her stop breathing, like a respiratory failure.”
But many have questioned whether the medical finding that “this lady” had “like a respiratory failure” is all that sound. The woman’s THC level was only 8.4 nanograms per millilitre (by comparison, Colorado’s legal limit is 5 nanograms).
Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, told The Independent that the mere presence of a substance in a person’s blood does not necessarily indicate that it caused their death. Rolles also added that, if this woman did die directly of cannabis use, she would be the only one in more than 250 million cannabis users in the world.
Adding some doubt to Montegut’s claims, the woman’s boyfriend has said that she had been admitted to the hospital with a chest infection and sent home three weeks before she died.
But Montegut has stood by his findings. “100 per cent sure of the readings we’ve found,” he told WWL-TV.
“I definitely did some research before I came to the conclusion that this was the cause of death,” he said.Photo via Flickr user Purirl deVry