This week Chelsea Clinton hit the campaign trail on behalf of her mother, Hillary Clinton. While speaking at a town hall meeting in Youngstown, Ohio, Clinton made some comments about medical marijuana.
And some of what she had to say has stirred up controversy in the medical marijuana community. In particular, people have taken issue with her claim that medical marijuana can mix with other drugs to become fatal.
At the town hall meeting, Clinton started out her discussion of medical cannabis with what seemed like supportive language. She said that “anecdotally, we have lots of evidence” that medical marijuana can be an effective way to treat epilepsy and to help people going through chemotherapy.
But things took an unexpected turn when she followed that up with a bizarre warning about medical pot.
“We also have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado where some of the people who were taking marijuana for those purposes, the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking,” she said.
She claimed that cannabis could have some nasty interactions with other prescription drugs. So nasty, she claimed, that it can sometimes kill people.
Is Marijuana Deadly?
There are a couple of big problems with Clinton’s comments. The most obvious are her claim that marijuana can lead to death. Researchers have known for a relatively long time that it’s nearly impossible to die from a cannabis overdose. In fact, way back in 1988, an official report was filed with the DEA about that very thing. The report said that a person would have to consume almost 1,500 pounds of cannabis in 15 minutes to “induce a lethal response.”
But what about Clinton’s claim that marijuana becomes deadly when it mixes with other prescription drugs? That also doesn’t seem to be backed up by any evidence.
In fact, a researcher named Dr. Michele Ross told sources that medical cannabis could sometimes elevate the positive effects of prescription drugs. “Cannabis can synergize with certain medications such as opiates to increase the analgesic, or pain relieving, effects of the drug,” Ross said.
The other big problem with Clinton’s statements is what they imply about the state of cannabis research. When she referred to marijuana research as nothing more than “anecdotal” she grossly misrepresented the reality. Ross said that there have been more than 20,000 published studies of marijuana. She pointed out that there have been more studies done on cannabis than there have on more mainstream drugs like Tylenol and Adderall.