Doctors thought woman who ate marijuana cookie was suffering a stroke

An elderly woman recently rushed to hospital fearing she'd suffered a stroke turned out to be high from eating a marijuana cookie baked by a "questionable character". 

The bizarre case is detailed in a new case report published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

The 64-year-old showed up to the emergency room complaining of "acute right upper and lower extremity weakness and altered speech". 

Doctors immediately suspected a stroke, as she was speaking very slowly and feeling weak, particularly in her right leg. But a CT scan showed no signs of bleeding in the brain, and an X-ray, MRI and an electrocardiogram also came up blank.

After a short time, the high wore off. Doctors probed further, and she soon mentioned eating "a cookie that was brought to their senior center social area by one of the other seniors to share".

"The patient's husband noted that this person was of questionable character," the case report said.

A drug test showed there was THC - the ingredient in marijuana that gets you high - in her system. 

It's lucky the high wore off when it did - if not, the doctors may have used a stroke treatment known as tissue plasminogen activator, which can cause haemorrhages in the brain if used at the wrong time.

It's not clear why the effects of the marijuana so closely mimicked those of a stroke, but the doctors suspect she may have coincidentally had a minor stroke at the same time. This would be "an intriguing co-occurrence" the doctors said.

Research published in February 2019 found marijuana has the potential to trigger "myocardial infarction, stroke, arrhythmias, and sudden death" in older users already suffering cardiovascular disease. 

The patient in this case was released shortly afterwards, suffering no ill-effects.


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