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A forensic doctor and toxicologist has called on the government to hold a referendum on whether marijuana use should be fully free or should be controlled, warning that its side-effects could be fatal.
Smith Srisont, a forensic doctor at Mahidol University’s Ramathibodi Hospital, issued the warning in a post published on his Facebook wall on Monday night.
He cited a finding by world-renowned toxicologists, Olaf H Drummer, Dimitri Gerostamoulosa, Noel W Woodforda, in a study titled “Cannabis as a cause of death: A review”, published in the “Forensic Science International” in 2019.
“I would like to issue the following warning as a forensic doctor and forensic toxicologist … Users of ganja have a chance (a chance means not often but it can happen) of dying suddenly because of cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction, irregular heartbeats and stroke,” Smith said in his Facebook post.
“I would like to emphasise that the deaths were not caused by allergy to marijuana or overdose but from side-effects.”
Smith said the study found that 13 people, whose ages ranged from 17 to 52 years, died of marijuana side-effects. In some cases, the patients did not have a medical record of chronic illness, no toxic substance was found and in all cases the level of marijuana use was not too high.
He said the study also found 35 patients, who were between 15 to 53 years old, had to be rushed for emergency medical care after they used marijuana. They had no co-morbidity and in some cases, they were found to suffer from myocardial infarction and irregular heartbeats.
Smith said he has learned that similar cases to the finding have also happened in Thailand.
“I was personally told by a doctor, who performed the checkup. The patient had never used marijuana earlier. He tried it once and suffered chest pain and was rushed to Police Hospital. The hospital found he suffered from myocardial infarction but he was saved in time,” Smith said.
He added that another study, whose details were not elaborated, found that the chance of myocardial infarction was 4.8 times higher after smoking marijuana. He said the study was carried out among 4,000 patients but did not give more details.
Smith also pointed out that after the United States decriminalised the use of marijuana, the rate of people suffering from myocardial infarction had increased.
The doctor said he would like the government to hold a referendum on whether the use of marijuana should be liberalised because there are both supporters and opponents of its use.
He called on the Public Health Ministry to issue warnings on the fatal side-effects of marijuana use and advised people to see doctors immediately if they experience certain conditions.
The doctor also called on the government to punish shops that use marijuana as ingredients in foods and beverages without notifying buyers.
Published : June 21, 2022
By : THE NATION