St. John the Baptist Parish Coroner Christy Montegut says that the official cause of death, according to the toxicology reports, is an "excess amount of THC," in the blood.

The Advocate reports that an unnamed 39-year old LaPlace woman, who died earlier this year, is the first such case in which the psychoactive substance found in marijuana was listed as the sole cause of death.  Montegut says that the autopsy found "no physical disease or afflictions that were the cause of other drugs, no alcohol." According to Louisiana Department of Health spokesman Robert Johannessen, every other fatality in Louisiana that involved THC saw it combined with other drugs.

Now, health experts are challenging that finding.  The toxicology report shows that she had 8.4 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.  Experts estimate (because no specific amount has been found) that due to the drugs extremely low toxicity, the likely dose would fall somewhere between 800 and 8,000 nanograms.  That means that a person would have to smoke more than 20,000 joints at once in order to die from THC toxicity.

It seems that the record will stand - since THC levels fall rapidly in the blood, it is basically impossible to "double check."

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