Illegal selling of hashish on the street is a public health problem
The first scientific study on 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 samples of cannabis resin from traffickers in different neighborhoods of Madrid, from Majadonda to Alcobendas, was carried out by a team from Complutense University.
"Overall, our results showed that most (88,3%) of the hashish samples were not suitable for consumption", concludes the study published in the Forensic Science International Review. “Therefore, the illegal sale of hashish in the street is a public health problem. "
Manuel Pérez Moreno, pharmacist at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and co-author of the study, was tasked with finding the product to be tested. He explained that when he bought drugs from traffickers on the street, it usually came in two forms: in the form of acorns or olives and ingots or wafers.
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 bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) normally live 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 the samples contained aspergillus, a type of mold that is usually harmless, but which can trigger serious infections if people with weakened immune systems who suffer from 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's on sale, ”said the pharmacist who added that 40 percent of the acorn samples actually smelled like feces.
The problem is not only with inhaling, but also with preparing the drug for smoking, he said.
“The hash is constantly being handled in the hands,” explains Perez. “The seal filters are hollow. Not only are you sucking in smoke, but you are also sucking in particles. "
Laws in force in Spain prohibit the sale and cultivation of cannabis and limit consumption and possession to private areas - meaning that the drug can be consumed in any of the many private cannabis clubs that have been opened in these past few years. last ten years.
Almost a third (31%) of Spain's population aged 15 to 64 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 of buying on the street.
“In recent years, the number of people with cancer who smoke cannabis in an attempt to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy has increased. These patients have weakened their immune systems, so an infection caused by consuming contaminated or adulterated hashish could be fatal, ”the authors warn.
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.