One Tablespoon of This Drug Could Kill You, and You Consume It Every Day
In 2014, an 18-year-old Ohio high school student named Logan Stiner was busy preparing for the finals stretch of his senior year. Finding himself struggling to keep up, he reached for the powdered version of an incredibly common substance, which his friend had purchased from Amazon. Ingesting this substance tragically ended up costing him his life.
The substance in question was caffeine, a substance that’s sold in its concentrated, powdered form online and even in some stores. After overdosing on an incredibly small amount of the powdered caffeine, Logan began to experience an irregular heartbeat and eventually seizures before ultimately succumbing to the overdose.
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This incident, as well as several others around the country, prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put companies selling and packaging caffeine powder on notice. The FDA told these companies that their powdered caffeine product poses “significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers.”
What does that mean for your daily cup of coffee? Read on to find out…
The Dose Makes the Poison
Now, before you begin worrying that a can of Coca-Cola or a cup of coffee is going to kill you, it’s important to remember one basic fact: It’s the dose that makes the poison.
It doesn’t matter what substance you’re taking about, even something like water, if consumed in a large enough quantity in a short period of time, can lead to an overdose and the loss of life.
Of course, the risk of taking a lethal dose of water is many orders of magnitude lower than overdosing on the powdered form of caffeine.
How Much Caffeine Is In Your Cup o’ Joe?
To understand doses of caffeine, let’s take a look at one of the most common ways people take in this drug: a good ol’ cup of Joe!
Varying depending upon the kind of coffee and how strongly it’s brewed, a cup of coffee will have anywhere from 65 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. This small amount is nowhere near what is required to overdose on caffeine.
By contrast, the amount of caffeine in one tablespoon of powdered caffeine is simply staggering. Depending upon the company that manufactured the powder, one can find up to 5 grams (5000 milligrams) in only one tablespoon, which is considered to be a dose capable of killing almost any adult.
To put this into context, this means that one tablespoon of powdered caffeine can contain the equivalent of up to 75 cups-of-coffee’s worth of caffeine. If you’ve ever had one-too-many cups of Joe in the morning, then you likely understand how a dose of caffeine like this would almost certainly have fatal consequences!