Tylenol 56,000 – Cannabis 0
Yesterday, a 10 year old boy was rushed to the hospital after getting his hands on cannabis infused gummy candy. The details are murky. The event happened in New York State where the medicinal cannabis laws are strict and availability is limited. The boys father was arrested and has a court date for “child welfare endangerment”. That seems fair if not inequitable. Few arrests are made when children are hospitalized for ingesting something they shouldn’t have. Nobody thinks children should be able to get their hands on any medication . It’s certainly risky and part of the argument against medical cannabis is “kids will get their hands on it”. That’s a weak argument, medications of any kind shouldn’t be unsecured especially if there are children in the equation. As it turns out, the boy was fine. One of the great strengths of cannabis is “there is no lethal dose”. Were it any other medication, even aspirin, the results could have been tragic. Of course the issue might be medicine that looks like candy? By that logic we should also indict Flintstones chewables. So what’s particularly noteworthy about this story? So what did happen to the curious lad? According to the doctor “he got high”.
One of the most intriguing aspects is how the media continues to vilify cannabis. Were it any other medication, there is no story. The local CBS affiliate did their best to sensationalize the story. The headline read “boy overdoses on medical marijuana”. While the story didn’t say so, the word “overdose” indicates death, perpetuating the myth that people can die using cannabis. The idea of “overdose” is absurd. At 10 years old, there is no “dose” that’s appropriate without a qualifying condition and the supervision of a doctor. To put this into context, Tylenol misuse results in 56,000 ER visits per year, 2,600 hospitalizations, and nearly 500 deaths. In the wrong hands, and misused, Tylenol is dangerous. Yes, it’s way more dangerous than cannabis. That still seems to be something said in fringe culture circles but it’s true. People also seem to be surprised teetering on shocked to learn that factoid.
We have a long way to go fighting the culture war with cannabis. The facts are still very disconnected from cultural beliefs. The story was local but got plenty of pick up around the web. Overdoses is a horrible problem but not caused by cannabis. The use of the word might be good for ratings and it’s music to the ears of drug warriors but it’s factually inaccurate. The simple truth is cannabis is safer than most things in a common household medicine cabinet and vilifying it does nothing to mange its appropriate use. At High Sobriety, we support facts over fear.
Author: Joe Schrank, Editor-in-Chief