DENVER (CBS4) – A college student who jumped to his death from a hotel balcony ate more than six times the recommended amount of a marijuana cookie.
The police report on Levy Thamba Pongi’s death states it was likely the first time the 19-year-old had ever used marijuana. That coupled with the amount he ate could have caused a kind of psychosis.
Pongi, a native of the Republic of Congo, jumped from the 4th floor of a motel balcony on March 11.
The coroner ruled marijuana intoxication as a significant contributing factor to his death.
Pongi ate six servings of a marijuana edible cookie manufactured by Sweet Grass Kitchen.
His friends were interviewed by police and said as far as they knew Pongi had never tried marijuana before the night he died.
“Right off the bat 15 percent of people can have a psychotic reaction and someone who has never used before is at an even greater risk,” said addiction expert Dr. Christian Thurstone.
Thurstone is an addiction expert with Denver Health and said unlike smoking marijuana which makes its way quickly to the brain, ingesting it means it takes longer to impact the body and to feel a high.
“Using edibles it can be very easy to over-consume a marijuana edible,” said Thurstone.
In this case, Pongi’s friends said the dispensary clerk “advised they divide the cookie into six pieces and eat one piece at a time.”
They also said after 30 minutes “Levy said he didn’t feel anything and he ate the entire cookie immediately.”
Before the end of the night his friends said Pongi began to act strangely and paranoid and then began to destroy things in their hotel room.
One friend told police he “tried to grab Levy because Levy was getting ‘crazy’ destroying lamps and TV. Levy ran out of the room and jumped off the balcony.”
A toxicology report found Pongi had a THC level of 7.2 nanograms in his blood. The level Colorado considers to be marijuana intoxication is 5 nanograms.