Fake news is everywhere now. Both sides spew it and now it’s surfacing about deaths caused by marijuana!
BIG BROTHER HQ—Recent industry media reports cite several strange news stories that have surfaced on highly visible, mainstream media outlets indicating cannabis use as being “connected” to several deaths.
The first story, which was covered by news outlets internationally, quoted recent study results that suggested “regular” marijuana users have three-times increased risk of early death due to hypertension-related illness.
Doctoral student and lead author of the study Barbara Yankey commented on specific study findings in a statement, after the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published the study on Aug 9. “We found that marijuana users had a greater than three-fold risk of death from hypertension and the risk increased with each additional year of use,” Yankey said.
The study’s methodology was almost immediately called into question by an article on Business Insider, which said test subjects were sorted by criteria that categorized anyone who had “tried” marijuana as a “regular user,” as well as not taking other important factors into account, like subjects’ BMI, issues with anxiety/stress, etc. The BI post also pointed out that the study, while attempting to show a link between cannabis and hypertension, did not succeed in showing a direct link between cannabis use and hypertension or complications from hypertension.
Even as President Trump has declared opiate use a “national crisis,” news stories about fentanyl-laced cannabis have also begun to surface; in Massachusetts last December, it was reported by police that a man had accidentally overdosed due to alleged use of fentanyl-laced marijuana.
In February, in Painesville Township, Ohio, the local fire department posted a warning on its Facebook page, alleging three recent opiate overdose victims had claimed they smoked marijuana prior to experiencing severe overdose symptoms. The Facebook post soon went viral after being picked up by local, then national media. However, toxicology reports later found the overdose victims were determined to have also used crack cocaine and other illegal drugs, so that “laced” cannabis could not be singled out as the cause of their symptoms.
In March, the Columbus Free Press updated their coverage of the situation and said, “Update: On February 20, 2017, Painesville Township Fire Chief Frank Whittaker was asked for his comments on the facts behind this article. He said that the department made the Facebook post because they, ‘Can’t get lab results that quickly.’ When asked if he researched the subject before making the post, he replied, ‘No, we took the word of the three who overdosed and their friends.’ When queried as to why, he abruptly hung up.”
Then, in June, a Hamilton County, Ohio coroner reported that she had encountered cases of death caused by cannabis laced with fentanyl, though she also declined to say how many cases she attributed to opiate-laced marijuana. Hamilton County officials later said that news reports had been “misconstrued.”