By 19 Action News Digital Team
Updated: 04/03/2014 2:26 pm EDT
The death of a college student is sparking new concerns about the risks of marijuana use – even now that the drug is legal in Colorado.
An autopsy revealed 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi died after falling four stories from a hotel balcony.
The report said the teen had just tried a marijuana cookie for the first time and was acting unusual which eventually lead to his decision to jump off a fourth floor balcony while high.
The edibles do have a different effect on people,” says Dr. Scott Bentz with Denver’s St. Luke’s Medical Center
Dr. Bentz notes that even with legalization, many people don’t realize that the body will react differently between eating marijuana and smoking it.
Emergency room medical staff say that they are seeing more cases of people coming in with bad reactions like paranoia and that with edibles it is easier to overdose without even realizing it.
“You may eat a brownie thinking you should feel something in 10, 15, 20 minutes, get impatient, and eat more and more and more but really the full effects won’t kick in for about two to three hours,” says Dr. Bentz.
Joseph Evans, who’s job it is to test marijuana products for their potency, confirms that people not be aware of how much THC they are actually consuming.
“It’s not always what it says it is. We see many different types of concentrations, it can be under, it can be over,” says Evans.
It’s not clear how potent Pongi’s edible was but it’s clear it was too much for him to handle and is now a reminder for everyone about being careful even when using a drug that’s now legal.
Pongi was an engineering student in Wyoming from the Republic of Congo.
He was visiting Denver for spring break with three other friends.
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