On January 30th newspapers reported the death of a 31 year old mother in Bournemouth had died as a result of cannabis poisoning, acting irresponsibly and disrespectfully.
I would like to start this by stating that there is more than enough readily available evidence to discredit Dr Hussein’s claims that cannabis was the cause of Gemma Moss’s death.
Today I would like to address the moral aspect of this debate, and question whether the opinion of a doctor can be used as evidence when the definition of an opinion is ‘a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge’.
My first thoughts were with the family, and how they feel about this conclusion. Are they aware that the LD50 (the dose of a substance required to kill half of the members of a tested population in a set period of time) for cannabis is so incredibly high that scientists have failed to administer a lethal dose to rats in experiments designed to determine the LD50 of cannabis?
Gemma’s family deserve a truthful answer concerning the cause of her death, especially if a conclusive and honest answer would put a stop to Gemma’s name and life being exploited in a very public domain. If this means admitting uncertainty over the cause of death, although still painful for everyone involved it would at least be honest.
To make such a radical statement as ‘Gemma Moss becomes the first woman in Britain to DIE from cannabis poisoning’ at an inquest, I would like to think that you would require an abundance of scientific evidence, or at least consistent anecdotal evidence from various sources for your theory to be seriously considered. For this exact reason any question of cannabis being the cause of death in previous cases has been quickly dismissed, which I hope will be the case here.
Unfortunately despite the doubts raised, the media has brazenly printed that Gemma, a ‘devout Christian mother-of-three, 31, becomes the first woman in Britain to DIE from cannabis poisoning after smoking a joint in bed’. Many cannabis activists
, consumers, doctors
, scientists and members of the non-smoking public will realise that in every case prior to this there has been an added factor that has in fact caused death, even if cannabis has been present at the time, and that this is not true. Many people however will not (Reefer Madness
was a great example of how misdirection on a mass scale can cause an almost irreversible effect on a community).
This kind of widespread misinformation and misconception towards cannabis is actually the main cause of the ‘paranoia’ often described as one of marijuana’s own ‘risks’. When this kind of anti-cannabis propaganda surfaces, the misinformed public eye turns on cannabis dealers and users, and the resulting strain on relationships has an effect on many people. Added pressure to stop cannabis use gives ordinary people who do use it a valid reason to worry about the new found negativity effecting their family, home and work lives.
Many people who use cannabis experience so many positives and so few negatives from the plant that they often forget that it is even classed as a ‘drug’. I can speak from my own personal experience that this type of propaganda has always put a strain on my relationships with family, and I often have to just hope that they will eventually see that I’m more than just what I smoke.
It would be very easy to blame the media entirely for the public aftermath of Gemma Moss’s death, and while they have played a big part in sensationalising one man’s opinion, it was this man’s opinion that gave them their story. I find myself questioning if Dr. Hussein is qualified and knowledgeable enough to, alone, pass judgement on what seems to be an extremely unusual case? Is he aware of the studies into the LD50 of cannabis and it’s apparent impossible lethal dose?
We are at a point where scientific research is debunking many myths about cannabis, and people are really fighting for their right to use it in any way that they feel necessary. The impact of someone making such a controversial and unfounded claim in such a public way is huge and I wonder if Dr. Hussein himself realises the significance of what he has done and the effect that his statement has had on our society. I also hope that qualified and educated people who recognise this as a very strange series of events will come forward to help enable an honest and unbiased inquiry to take place.
I’m sure that the truth will come out, as it always does, and in this difficult time our thoughts here at DorsetCC are with Gemma’s family and friends.
David Smith – Dorset Cannabis Club
Please read the response of the death of Gemma Moss on NORML UK.