Marijuana death report misinterpreted, authors say

Two doctors widely credited with uncovering the first-ever documented case of a fatal marijuana overdose say that's not what happened.

"We are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed that child," Thomas Nappe told the Washington Post.

Dr Nappe and co-author Christopher Hoyte's case report on the death of an 11-month-old Colorado baby was first published earlier this year. It made headlines last week after Dr Hoyte gave an interview, in which he said the "only thing that we found was marijuana - high concentrations of marijuana in his blood".

The baby died of a heart attack.

"Given the existing relationship between cannabis and cardiovascular toxicity... the authors propose a relationship between cannabis exposure in this patient and myocarditis, leading to cardiac arrest and ultimately death."

Dr Nappe says their report was intended only to alert the medical community there might be a link worth studying - and was not a scientific study or research paper intended to show a causal link between marijuana and death.

"We're not saying definitively that marijuana caused the myocarditis," Dr Hoyte told marijuana aficionado website Cannabist on Saturday (NZ time).

"All we are saying is we didn't find any other reasons. So we need to study this further."

The young child's home life was "unstable", and his family were living in a motel at the time of his death.

No one has ever been known to die from overdosing on marijuana. In contrast, at least 20 Kiwis' deaths have been linked to synthetic products that are meant to mimic the effects of marijuana in 2017 alone.