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Q: A friend recently attended a lecture on Dangerous Drugs given by a police officer. The officer indicated that the anti-nauseant properties of cannabis actually made it dangerous. The scenario, which he claimed to have been witness to, involved a user who choked to death on his own vomit because the cannabis impaired his ability to expel the vomit completely. My initial reaction was "This is total BS," but is there any possibility that this has happened?

A: It sounds like the officer was confused or misinformed. The effect he is proposing, where an individual is unable to expel vomit, is the reduction or suppression of the gag reflex. This is not at all the same as anti-nausea effects. While some chemicals do reduce gag reflex, Cannabis is not one of these. According to the U.K. Home Office (basically the British department of Domestic Affairs):

"Unlike sedative intoxicants such as alcohol, cannabis does not cause
respiratory depression or suppress the gag reflex even when extremely

[U.K. Home Office Report on Cannabis]

This also reflects our understanding of the current state of research and available literature.

However, many people report that the combination of Alcohol and Cannabis is more likely to induce vomiting than either one alone. Alcohol, as a depressant, DOES suppress the gag reflex at higher doses, so anything which increases the chances of vomiting is less than ideal. But obviously this is not at all the same thing as "the anti-nauseant properties of cannabis being dangerous". A search of pubmed returns no additional information about Cannabis and the suppression of the gag reflex.



Asked By : Octopus Rex
Answered By : fire
Published Date : 5 / 5 / 2002
Last Edited Date : 5 / 5 / 2002
Question ID : 2966

Categories: [ Cannabis ] [ Effects ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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