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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pediatric Death Due to Myocarditis After Exposure to Cannabis


Since marijuana legalization, pediatric exposures to cannabis have increased.1 To date, pediatric deathsfrom cannabis exposure have not been reported. The authors report an 11-month-old male who, followingcannabis exposure, presented with central nervous system depression after seizure, and progressed tocardiac arrest and died. Myocarditis was diagnosed post-mortem and cannabis exposure was confirmed.Given the temporal relationship of these two rare occurrences – cannabis exposure and sudden deathsecondary to myocarditis in an 11-month-old – as well as histological consistency with drug-inducedmyocarditis without confirmed alternate causes, and prior reported cases of cannabis-associatedmyocarditis, a possible relationship exists between cannabis exposure in this child and myocarditisleading to death. In areas where marijuana is commercially available or decriminalized, the authors urgeclinicians to preventively counsel parents and to include cannabis exposure in the differential diagnosis ofpatients presenting with myocarditis.

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