Fear-mongers like US Attorney General Jeff Sessions often say smoking marijuana leads to abusing deadly drugs like heroin, but the so-called 'gateway drug' theory has been widely debunked. So the likes of Sessions should really be more concerned with a sweet, organic snack at the grocery store that can turn into a gateway to sudden death.
We're talking about the cherry -- the Norman Bates of the fruit world. Sure, it looks harmless on the outside, but there's a killer lurking beneath its innocent facade. Cherry pits contain a chemical called amygdalin, which turns into hydrogen cyanide when introduced to our digestive system. The cherry is basically on a suicide mission to get even with foragers like us.
The pits themselves usually aren't dangerous if you accidentally swallow them whole. But if you chew on them first, or crack them open and eat the tasty seeds inside, you could wind up in the ER -- or even an early grave. That's what nearly happened to Matthew Creme -- a 28 year old British man who tried the seeds last July. Ten minutes later, he was rushed to the hospital with cyanide poisoning -- a condition that can result in cardiac arrest if left untreated.
And that's not the only part of cherries that can kill you. The leaves, twigs and bark of black cherry trees are toxic enough to take down livestock. Yet people are fond of this murderous plant because of its flavorful fruit and the quality of its lumber. Black cherry wood is commonly used for furniture, interior decorating and even musical instruments like guitars. Which, when you consider how deadly the bark can be, is kind of like painting your house with toxic waste or turning a syringe into a kazoo.
What's even more surprising is that there aren't strict regulations on where you can grow these killer trees. They can sprout up in your neighbors' yard or even your own if a strong wind sends the deadly seeds over your fence to terrorize your family -- not unlike the homicidal flora in M. Night Shyamalan's unintentional comedy 'The Happening.'
So instead of trying to bust people for growing cannabis, which has never caused a fatal overdose, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should crack down on carpenters and farmers for trafficking this gateway to an early grave.