Michigan doctors respond to claims of marijuana overdose

Local reaction to pot

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH - In Colorado where recreational marijuana is legal, two doctors are starting a debate on whether someone can die from a marijuana overdose. They claim that is exactly what happened to their patient, a baby boy.

"It can cause anxiety, it can cause dysphoria or depression, it can cause insomnia," Psychiatrist Dr. Carmen McIntyre said. "Some of the things that people are looking for in marijuana, are actually problematic for the sorts of disorders that I treat and certainly the side effects can be problematic."

Which is why Detroit area psychiatrist Dr. McIntyre doesn't typically recommend medical marijuana to her patients

"I'm not saying I would never ever see a scenario for it, they have certainly not through the literature been proven to be more effective than anything else we have available, but every individual body and brain is unique," McIntyre said.

But she believes calling the 11-month-old's death a marijuana overdose, premature. 

"It's interesting, it's something to think about but I don't think they've proven causality, they have simply demonstrated a correlation," McIntyre said.

Dr. Richard Piazza with the Society for Healing Arts Institute, is skeptical.

"As far as I know, there is no LD-50 which is the lethal dose of marijuana ever been recorded in medical history," Dr. Piazza said.

He thinks the child had a preexisting heart condition. 

"There is one possibility which is probably not going to make it to the final diagnosis on the death certificate. I'm sure it's probably going to be a congenital cardiomyopathy which either lead to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), or some other condition which lead to a cardiopulmonary event with marijuana in the system," Piazza said.

Piazza doesn't believe it's possible to overdose with cannabis.

"There is no way that the good lord would put cannabinoid receptors in the human body to be stimulated by marijuana, he wouldn't have invented that if there was a way it would hurt you," Piazza said.

He's dedicated his career to medical marijuana. 

"I pray that the first person never is found that marijuana hurts, because I left traditional medicine to do this because I believe it to be true. I believe we can cure cancer, I believe we can make seizures go away, I believe we can make Alzheimer's disease go away," Piazza said.

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