Illegal selling of hashish on the street is a public health problem
The first scientific study of Madrilenian cannabis resin reveals that the vast majority of it contains traces of bacteria from human faeces and presents a serious risk to the health of smokers.
What does the study say?
The forensic study of 90 cannabis resin samples from traffickers in different areas of Madrid, from Majadonda to Alcobendas, was conducted by a team from the Universidad Complutense.
"Overall, our results showed that most (88,3%) hashish samples were not fit for consumption," concludes the study published in the Forensic Science International Review. "Therefore, the illegal sale of hashish on the street is a public health problem."
Manuel Pérez Moreno, a pharmacist at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and co-author of the study, was asked to find the product to be tested. He explained that when he bought drugs from traffickers in the street, it usually came in two forms: acorns or olives and ingots or platelets.
Although foreign elements were found in both, with respect to microbiological contamination, 93% of the olives were contaminated with E. E. coli coli compared to 29,4% platelets.
The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) normally lives in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most varieties of E. coli are harmless or cause relatively short diarrhea.
But some particularly unpleasant strains, such as E. coli O157: H7, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
In addition, the study found that 10% of samples contained aspergillus, a type of mold that is usually harmless, but can trigger serious infections if people with weakened immune systems, lung disease or asthma, inhale their spores.
Perez told El Pais that the contamination was due to the way the drug was smuggled into Spain: the resin is rolled into small balls (acorns), wrapped in cellophane and ingested.
"Once in Spain, they take laxatives to expel the acorns. And that's what goes on sale, "said the pharmacist who added that 40 percent of acorn samples actually smelled faeces.
The problem does not just come from inhalation, but also from the preparation of the drug to smoke it, he said.
"Hash is constantly handled in the hands," says Perez. "The seal filters are hollow. Not only do you suck the smoke, but you also suck up particles. "
The laws in force in Spain prohibit the sale and cultivation of cannabis and limit consumption and possession to private spaces - which means that the drug can be consumed in one of the many private cannabis clubs that have been opened. last ten years.
Nearly one-third (31%) of the Spanish population aged 15 to 64 years admits to having used cannabis at some point in their life, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Health.
But a growing number of people are turning to the drug for therapeutic reasons, and the results of this latest study reveal the dangers for them of buying on the street.
"In recent years, the number of people with cancer who smoke cannabis to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy has increased. These patients have weakened their immune system, so an infection caused by the consumption of contaminated or falsified hashish could be fatal, "warn the authors.
The report concludes that the average amount of faecal bacteria in each gram of resin is 500 times greater than the maximum limit set by the US Marijuana Law or the European Regulation for Fruit and Tea.