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Man jumped to his death after 'just one puff of powerful cannabis joint'

  1. torachi
    14663.jpg A doctor's son threw himself to his death from a sixth floor window after taking just one puff of a powerful 'skunk' cannabis joint, an inquest heard today.

    Ahmed Shammam, 23, began behaving erratically and frothing at the mouth after taking a 'deep puff' of the joint in the early hours of July 30 this year.

    Friends frantically tried to stop him as he ran in to the bathroom and out the window, falling 75 feet to his death.

    The electrical engineering student, who suffered hypersensitivity and claustrophobia, called out for his mother before plummeting to his death.

    He died instantly of a ruptured aorta, but received multiple injuries on impact, Westminster Coroner's Court heard.

    Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: 'This is the first time where I have come across something where it's a reaction to a very small amount.'

    Consultant pathologist Professor Sebastian Lucas said that toxicology reports at first showed no signs of the drug.

    It was only when it was sent back for a second check traces were found in Mr Shammam's blood. No traces were found in his urine, as it had not yet been processed by his body.

    Only 2.5 mg of cannabis were found - any lower and it would have shown no trace, said Professor Lucas.

    He added: 'Cannabis can sometimes make people do very strange things very quickly.'

    Mr Shammam, a Libyan national who had been in London for just four days, had spent the evening dining with his three pals close to the flat in Evelyn Court, Stourcliffe Street.

    No alcohol or other drugs had been consumed, and Mr Shammam was a strict Muslim.

    Recording a verdict of accidental death Dr Radcliffe said: 'On returning back to the flat it appears the cigarette was smoked by Mr Shammam that was described as being composed of strong skunk.

    'His friends reported that Mr Shammam took a long deep puff and then his behaviour became odd and erratic.

    'He frothed at the mouth, he rushed in to the bathroom and went out of the window to the area below the flat.

    'Whether this is an acute reaction Mr Shammam suffered as a result of the psychoactive substance in the joint, or whether this is a reaction to another substance in the joint we will never know for sure.

    'We know that cannabis is psychoactive and can cause pyschological disturbances.'

    Police Sergeant Ian Benjamin said: 'I think his friends were trying to prevent him going out the window.

    'I think they tried to physically try to stop him. But the window was low to the ground and they wouldn't have been able to stop him.

    'They said he called out for his mother.'

    In a statement read to the court, his father Professor Omran Shammam, a medical doctor in Libya, said his son had planned to study business after completing his studies in Dubai.

    He said: 'He was a very bright student and had received a scholarship from the Libyan Government to study at the American University in Dubai.

    'He had two older sisters and four younger brothers.

    'The family have always been very close. We are all inconsolably distressed by his death.

    'The incident came as a complete and utter shock and has devastated his family and friends.

    'He was much loved and had a bright future ahead of him. His loss has left a big hole in our lives.'

    Shammam was on a summer break from his studies at an American University in Dubai, for which he had received a grant from the Libyan Government.

    The inquest heard how he had spent time in America before flying in to visit friends in the capital. He was due to fly to Barcelona before returning to Libya to spend Ramadan with his family.

    Last updated at 5:13 PM on 17th December 2010



  1. Enlightenment
    Wow that's awful. Probably his first time smoking marijuana it sounds like. I guess it goes to show if you suffer from some sort of anxiety in any form, marijuana can amplify it dramatically. Even just one hit. The whole frothing at the mouth thing makes me wonder though if something else was involved, and whether it would've showed up in his blood if the THC barely did. I guess we'll never know.
  2. mmmbreakfast
    Afoaf thinks another substance was probably involved
  3. SlightlyBitter
  4. Enlightenment
    My pet capuchin seems to think that there had to have been something. Say hypothetically there was. If the blood tests barely showed a sign of THC in his system because he only took one, long drag of the joint, what are the chances that, say, PCP would show up at all? SWIM is pretty ignorant in this area of things. Even if they did screen for every substance, what are the chances that it would show up?
  5. bubbly nubs
    SWIM can believe that maybe it was only cannabis involved. Foaming at the mouth could easily be "cotton mouth" to the extreme. It also states he suffers from hypersensitivity, which is (as far as I know) something to do with the immune system, which cannabis suppresses. I have no idea how much this has to do with anything but its some sort of link...

    SWIM has a friend, who when he consumes even ONE puff of cannabis will get quite paranoid and very anxious. Its not so far fetched that this young man could suffer quite sever paranoia after consuming THC, enough to cause him to jump out of a window, fearing only god knows what.

    Dont be so quick to denounce the power of cannabis.
  6. torachi
    I'm thinking this might be the point of the article, there's a chance the cannabis joint thing is being blown up, possibly in a dirty way to cover something up, or because the press doesn't have much to go on.

    It would be a convenient time to tack on the weed to the incident for prohibitionists.

    But then again, maybe thats just paranoia. Its possible nothing dirty is going on here except a very tragic chain of events.
  7. coolhandluke
    foam at the mouth and cotton mouth are very different. if you are foaming at the mouth there is frothy foam coming out of your mouth (at least that what i always pictured, like a rabid dog or something), cotton mouth is just someones mouth being dry, and if some spit is to be had, its a very small amount of white foam. also cotton mouth doesn't happen instantly after one hit off a joint.

    he could have had some strong psychotic issues which were brought out by a single hit of high quality (skunk) marijuana, but it seems unlikely to me. i think the media is just trying to throw the marijuana angle in to spice the story up a little.
  8. C.D.rose
    I think there are way too many unknowns here to make a conclusion one way or the other. Technically, I wouldn't see why exposure to a certain substance - be it something contained in cannabis or the famous "laced weed" (which usually is a myth) - could provoke a severe claustrophobic reaction. That being said, seeing the sources where this is coming from (Daily Mail, theCuriousPresbyterian.wordpress, etc.), I do obviously have my doubts as to the sincerity of the argument. Had he been caught selling an ounce, he would probably be denounced as a member of a ruthless Arab drug-gang.. Nonetheless, cannabis is a powerful substance (or a powerful mix of substances) that should not be underestimated.

    My main argument would once again be: I don't favor legalization because cannabis is "harmless", but because prohibition adds more, unnecessary harms to the ones that are already there, and which people are obviously willingly taking. Had he been in a safer environment, this tragedy may have been prevented.
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