Why I’m Not Crazy: On Cherry Pits and Cyanide

Today was a super ice cream social for my workmates and me. Earlier this month we got ice cream coupons to Cold Stone that were two for one. So we buddied up and had a sweet treat!

I ordered Coffee Ice Cream with Black Cherries mixed in. When my order arrived, there was a broken pit near the top. I quickly scooped it out and threw it away. When my buddy asked me what I was doing, I replied that cherry pits have traces of cyanide. He thought I was smoking something.

But I was right.

From the Novia Scotia Museum:

In very small doses, the human digestive tract is capable of breaking down plant cyanides into harmless compounds. Accidental ingestion of a single apple seed or cherry pit, therefore, though NOT recommended, is unlikely to cause any serious trouble.

However, larger doses cause anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headaches & vomiting. In severe poisoning, breathing difficulty; increased blood pressure and heart rate; and kidney failure are follwed by coma & convulsions. Death may then occur rapidly from respiratory arrest.



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