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Media renews calls for marijuana prohibition in "Reefer Madness" hysteria after pot-related suicide

Marijuana edibles

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(NaturalNews) Following a tragic incident in which a young man killed himself after consuming five times the safe level of edible marijuana, media outlets raised the question of whether recent legalization measures should be rolled back. Unfortunately, such a slant reflects neither the facts of the case nor the real chemical threats to consumer health.

Twenty-three-year-old Luke Goodman was on a two-week family ski vacation in Colorado when he and his cousin, Caleb Fowler, purchased edible marijuana candies. According to Fowler, Goodman began eating peach tart candies, each containing 10 mg of THC, the active "high"-producing ingredient in marijuana.

A single candy is the recommended dose for an adult. But Goodman felt no effects and ended up eating five. After a few hours, he became jittery and incoherent.

"He would make eye contact with us but didn't see us, didn't recognize our presence almost," Fowler said. "I had never seen him like this."

When Goodman's family members later left the condo, he stayed behind, got out his gun and shot himself.

Pharmaceutical drugs are far more lethal

This tragic story of recreational drug misuse has been turned by some into a warning about the intrinsic dangers of edible marijuana. A CBS affiliate quoted Goodman's mother as saying, "I would love to see edibles taken off the market... I think edibles are so much more dangerous."

The same story calls Goodman's death "the third death in Colorado linked to marijuana edibles." But while the second case it cites was indeed ruled marijuana-linked by the coroner, the third
case is that of Richard Kirk, currently facing a first degree murder charges for killing his wife. A 911 call from his wife indicates that Kirk was hallucinating after eating marijuana candy... and taking prescription drugs.

Indeed, prescription drugs kill far more people each year than street drugs. According to a report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, in 2007 prescription medicine killed three times more people than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines combined. Notably, out of 989 drug-related deaths, not a single one was attributed to marijuana. Yet opioid painkillers killed 2,328 people, while anti-anxiety drugs killed 743. Alcohol was found in the body in 4,179 cases and directly caused at least 466 deaths.

Even over-the-counter drugs can be dangerous. In 2013, bottles of Tylenol started carrying a new warning label in response to lawsuits and pressure from the federal government. Tylenol is the primary cause of sudden liver failure in the United States; it sends up to 80,000 people to the emergency room each year and kills at least 500.

Responsible usage, not prohibition

However tragic, Goodman's case is one of blatant edible misuse. Indeed, the candies he purchased bore a warning which read, "The intoxicating effects of this product may be delayed by two or more hours... the standardized serving size for this product includes no more than 10 mg."

The risks of edible marijuana are comparable to that of alcohol, which can easily be taken in lethal quantities. Indeed, even caffeine can be lethal -- although unlike marijuana edibles, energy drinks high in caffeine carry no warning labels. Yet media outlets are not calling for alcohol or caffeine to be banned.

If not by prohibition, then how can people be protected from marijuana misuse?

In June 2014, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote of an eight-hour bad trip induced by marijuana edibles. In response, Elise McDonough wrote in High Times, "Dowd's panic attack was due to her ignorance about the basics of edibles safety, and her rookie mistakes could have been avoided with five minutes of Googling. To help other cannabis virgins avoid making those same mistakes, we've compiled our 10 Commandments of Edible Cannabis Safety."

The "10 Commandments of Edible Cannabis Safety" can be found at HighTimes.com.

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