New Jersey-based 22-year-old Michael Ziobro tragically passed away suddenly on April 10, according to his obituary. He died of a heart arrhythmia, but some of the blame has been directed towards cannabis.
“Did marijuana kill this young man?” Today.com asked on August 17. “Doctors may never know for sure.” Determining the cause of death, however, is relatively easy using modern autopsy procedures. Ziobro’s death certificate does not list cannabis as the cause of death, the article admitted.
Ziobro’s medical examiner quickly deflected the blame from cannabis to genetic disorders. Dr. Junaid Shaikh is the Union County Medical Examiner. “Although there is scarce research that indicates smoking cannabis can evoke cardiovascular complications, one is unable to attribute the ‘Cause of Death’ was due to smoking cannabis,” Shaikh wrote in a letter. The letter was a response to an inquiry launched by state senator Thomas Kean. “In my opinion, it is highly warranted that family members consult a geneticist and possibly consider cardiovascular genetic testing for hereditary causes of cardiac arrhythmia,” Shaikh added.
Two baggies of cannabis were found in Ziobro’s room, which led the grieving parents to explore every possibility. Ziobro consumed the cannabis medically to battle irritable bowel syndrome. Over half of all sudden heart attack cases in adults under 40 are caused by inherited hereditary arrhythmia characteristics.
Even the DEA admits that no one has ever died of an overdose directly related to cannabis. “No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported,” the 2017 resource guide Drugs of Abuse states conclusively. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees. Moreover, in order to lethally overdose on cannabis, Ziorbro would have had to consume over 1,500 pounds of cannabis within 15 minutes.
Can people die while they happen to be under the effects of cannabis? Absolutely. But cannabis isn’t poisonous or toxic by any stretch of logic and it’s not strong enough to stop breathing or to physically cause death.