cross posted at mLaw

marijuana joint

marijuana joint

Here are two news reports about tragic and likely avoidable deaths. My transformation of these two reports was to simply replace the word ‘cannabis’ with the word ‘football’ in the first story, and replace the word ‘football’ with the word ‘cannabis’ in the second. Have fun!

Football triggered deaths of two men, study says

BERLIN — Football likely triggered fatal complications that led to the deaths of two men with underlying health conditions, according to a German study.

The findings, published online this month, are noteworthy because playing football isn’t normally associated with acute health problems, let alone death.

The researchers, based at university hospitals, said these were isolated cases but suggested people who might have serious heart problems should be made aware of the risk of playing football.

The cases involved two outwardly healthy young men, aged 23 and 28, who died unexpectedly after playing football. Autopsies showed that the younger man had a serious undetected heart problem and the older one had a history of alcohol, amphetamine and cocaine abuse. These underlying conditions, combined with football’s known effect of increasing a user’s heart rate or blood pressure…may have caused the men’s hearts to lose their rhythm.

“We assume that these are very rare, isolated cases,” one of the researchers told the press, noting that it was hard to draw any wider conclusion about the number of deaths that might be caused by football playing.

Still, the researchers concluded that while playing football isn’t particularly toxic and its effects are short lived, people who are at high risk for cardiovascular diseases should avoid the sport.

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Heart Troubles Rare but Deadly in Cannabis Users

Though relatively rare, a cardiac event that strikes a cannabis user is often deadly…cardiac arrest is the cause in half the cases…

Cardiologists say cardiac conditions…typically fall into one of two categories.

The first, cardiomyopathies, involve some abnormality of the heart such as enlargement, thinning walls or scaring. The second type is caused by rhythm disturbances. Nothing appears wrong with the heart but it has a tendency to beat irregularly in some way.

Doctors say said that at-risk cannabis users can experience a heart event any time but that using cannabis certainly increases the chances.

“Patients can be at home watching TV when it happens,” he said. “But we know that symptoms might be exacerbated during cannabis use, which causes the heart to beat faster.”

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The point of this mad-lib exercise is to demonstrate the sensationalized nature of the recent world-wide news report broadcasting two deaths “caused” by the evil weed. When similar news stories are broadcast nationwide upon the death of young athletes who have underlying conditions at sporting events in the US, no one suggests that the sport itself is to blame. The news feature about young athletes dying at sporting events appeared on ABC News in February of 2013. The report about ‘marijuana deaths’ appeared in USA Today, on CBS News and in Time Magazine, amongst other ‘reputable’ national news outlets.

The obvious take away: ban football!

Photo from Torben Hansen licensed under Creative Commons