Caffeine Can Cause Death; Cannabis Can't.

In a shocking story a healthy teenager in the US state of South Carolina has died from caffeine intake. The 16 year old Davis Allen Cripe collapsed on April 26th 2017 at Spring Hill High School after drinking a McDonald's latte, a large Mountain Dew soft drink and an energy drink. He died later that day hospital. According to the coroner, Gary Watts, the teenager had died from consuming too much caffeine too quickly, which led to a "caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia".

While drinking a moderate amount of caffeine is generally considered safe there can be risks. According to the European Food Safety Authority, drinking more than 400mg could lead to increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, tremors, nervousness, insomnia and even panic attacks. Given average caffeine content of drinks this would equate to 4 cups of coffee, 10 cans of Coca-Cola or 2 energy drinks. Though the amount of caffeine in energy drinks does vary, with some having much higher amounts. Some energy drinks even contain alcohol; mixing another dangerous drug in the mix. It is approximated that Davis Allen Cripe may have consumed around 470mg of caffeine over just a couple hours. A McDonald's latte has an average of 142mg of caffeine, a 570ml/20oz Mountain Dew has 90mg, and a 450ml/16oz) energy drink can have much as 240mg of caffeine. 

By all accounts he was a relatively healthy teenager, the coroner was even quoted saying the he was "totally against drugs, he was totally against alcohol...He didn't do any of that." His father spoke out after the announcement, "I stand before you as a brokenhearted father and hope that something good can come from this...parents, please, talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. And teenagers and students, please stop buying them. There's no reason to consume them; they can be very dangerous."




This goes to show the dangers of some substances than are generally considered safe. At Smokers Guide we always promote moderation. You'll find various warnings throughout our books; "smoking tobacco causes cancer", "caffeine may be addictive", "smartdrugs can have negative side effects; educate yourself", etc..

We pride ourselves on being honest about the risks of various substances. You will see "smoking anything can cause lung damage", but you will not see the words "cannabis kills" printed anywhere in our books; for one simple reason - cannabis doesn't kill.

In The Netherlands cannabis shops are known as coffeeshops and in America they are known as dispensaries; but the fact is whether you visit a Starbucks, then a dispensary in Los Angeles or a coffeeshop in Amsterdam and buy a coffee and some cannabis, the coffee is possibly more of a risk to your health than the weed! Around the world you can walk into a shop and buy enough alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or sugar as you want. Despite the known damage these substances can cause, they are all generally socially acceptable and legal. 

As many cannabis activists have stated over the years, there has never been a single death attributed to cannabis, yet it is still illegal in most places. Cannabis is safer than tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and almost any other substance you can name. Even everyday medications like acetaminophen (a.k.a. paracetamol) can be deadly; causing 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and an estimated 458 deaths due to acute liver failure annually.

Cannabis is non-toxic, and researchers have been unable to give animals enough cannabis to cause an overdose. It is estimated that a person would have to consume around 1,500 pounds of cannabis within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response. Basically put; cannabis is the safer option.

Our thoughts go out to the family who lost a child. Sadder still, this was a result of an industry promoted so heavily and so easily accessible to teens and youngsters. Much in the same way alcohol, tobacco and (eventually) marijuana have been heavily controlled with regard to advertising to minors by way of brand names, logos, ad positioning, etc., perhaps so should excessive caffeine, sugar and fatty foods and drinks.  Sugar, or the many numerous chemicals in drinks like Red Bull or Monster may have contributed to this tragedy. Even if he may have had a pre-existing condition, the underlying fact is that an excessive amount of over the counter substance(s) contributed to his death.

We're not advocating you give up on your fav cup of daily Joe but rather holding a mirror to society when it determines what is acceptable for kids, let alone adults, to put in their bodies legally.  The disclaimers you will see throughout our Smokers Guide printed and e-books remind us to keep things in perspective. Be aware and be moderate. :)