As the presidential primaries heat up, the debate over marijuana legalization is primed to take center stage. So there's no better time than the present to report on the grave dangers of smoking too much of the green stuff.
Case in point—last Friday night, police in Austintown, Ohio were called to the home of a 22-year-old man who complained he was "too high" after smoking weed.
According to the police report, when officers arrived on scene they found the man “on the floor in the fetal position” and noted that he “was surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy cookies." Yes, it seemed like a classic case of When Snacks Attack.
The man told police he couldn't feel his hands but declined medical treatment and chose to remain at his home with his snacks. Inside the man's car, police found a glass pipe, two packs of rolling papers, two roaches, and a glass jar of marijuana, according to local news reports.
No charges were pressed, and the Austintown police told Fusion that the man is doing fine.
The Austintown police also explained that they encourage people who may have overdosed on a drug—any drug—to call for help rather than fear being charged with a crime. (In many states this is known at the Good Samaritan Law, though the scope of each law varies by region.)
As comical and perhaps cliche as it is to imagine this poor guy surrounded by Doritos and Goldfish, the incident—which has begun to go viral—only serves to underscore how silly it is when lawmakers villainize marijuana as a "dangerous" drug for adult users.
According to the most recent data from the CDC, in 2013, there were 46,471 drug-induced deaths, 29,001 alcohol-induced deaths, and 16,235 deaths related to prescription pain killers. That same data notes there were ZERO deaths caused by cannabis. Zero.
Of course, that number did skyrocket all the way up to one recently. This past summer the CDC released a report on the first death in Colorado in which marijuana intoxication was considered a "significant contributing factor." In that case, a 19-year old male in Denver jumped four stories to his death after eating too many marijuana cookies. The man ate the proper amount of cookies initially, but after 30 to 60 minutes passed and he didn't feel anything, he ate several more.
Rather than highlight the dangers of marijuana use, however, this case further emphasizes the need for education surrounding the drug—not prohibition.
"Although the decedent in this case was advised against eating multiple servings at one time, he reportedly consumed all five of the remaining servings of the THC-infused cookie within 30–60 minutes after the first serving, suggesting a need for improved public health messaging to reduce the risk for overconsumption of THC," the CDC report stated.
Of course, more education would be easier if cannabis wasn't vilified by the some conservative lawmakers and other presidential hopefuls.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.