14/08/2014 16:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mum-Of-Three Died From 'Cannabis Poisoning'


A mum-of-three is believed to be the first woman in Britain to die from cannabis poisoning.

Gemma Moss, 31, who was a regular churchgoer, was found dead in bed after smoking cannabis to help her get to sleep, an inquest was told.

Tests found she had moderate to high levels of the drug in her system after her death last October. Her vital organs appeared normal.

Sheriff Payne, the coroner, said: "The post mortem could find no natural cause for her death, with the balance of probability that it is more likely than not that she died from the effects of cannabis."

Gemma's death was registered as cannabis toxicity and Mr Payne gave a conclusion of death by cannabis abuse.

It was suggested during the inquest that Gemma, who had two sons and a daughter, may have suffered a cardiac arrest triggered by the poisoning.

Deaths directly attributed to cannabis are highly unusual and drug and toxicology experts said it was very unlikely the drug could kill.

In 2004, a 36-year-old man from Pembrokeshire became the first person in Britain to die from cannabis poisoning.

Dr Kudair Hussein, a pathologist, told the inquest in Bournemouth: "The level of cannabinoids in the blood were 0.1 to 0.15 milligrams per litre, this is considered as moderate to heavy cannabis use.

"I looked through literature and it's well known that cannabis is of very low toxicity. But there are reports which say cannabis can be considered as a cause of death because it can induce a cardiac arrest."

The coroner asked Dr Hussein: "You are satisfied it was the effects of cannabis that caused her death?"

Dr Hussain replied: "Yes sir."

Gemma had moved from London five years earlier to escape a 'troubled' life involving hard drugs, friends said.

She had settled in the Boscombe area of the town and joined an evangelical church.

However, before her death she had become depressed and anxious after separating from her boyfriend and took up cannabis again to help her sleep.

She was said to be spending about £60 a week on the drug.

Her mother, Kim Furness, told the inquest: "For years she smoked it every day. When she moved to Bournemouth she stopped for two years and then had a break-up with her relationship and started again. It was one half of a joint to get to sleep."

However, a pro-cannabis campaign group challenged the coroner's verdict.

Peter Reynolds, the leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), told HuffPost UK: ""Science simply doesn't support this verdict. There must have been another factor involved and there isn't any evidence that cannabis was the causative factor.

"Tragically, spontaneous cardiac arrest does occur in apparently healthy people. Cannabis is the least toxic therapeutically active substance known to man."