According to a study conducted by two analysts, a large percentage of cannabis available on the streets of Madrid are contaminated with fecal matter. In addition to this, some samples also contained the aroma of fecal matter as well.
José Manuel Moreno Pérez, a pharmacologist from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, collected 90 samples of cannabis available on the street with the intent of discovering if it were fit for human consumption, according to BBC News.
And what he found was that many of these samples contained unacceptable levels of fecal matter.
Collecting hashish samples, Pérez then sorted the samples into their shape identifier in order to determine whether the shape of the cannabis samples were any indicator of contamination levels. After examining the samples, it was found that a staggering 94 percent of the acorn-shaped samples contained dangerous levels of E. coli bacteria. The samples identified as ingot-shaped also contained the same bacteria in 29.4 percent of samples. E. coli is the bacteria that is usually identified with fecal matter.
In addition to the fecal matter identified in a large number of samples, 10 percent also tested positive for Aspergillus. This is a fungus that is considered detrimental to human health.
As a result of this, the analysts considered 88.3 percent of cannabis sampled as not fit for human consumption.
— British Pharmacological Society (@BritPharmSoc) April 4, 2019
This contamination is likely a result in transportation methods used to smuggle drugs in and around the country. As Pérez explained in an interview, acorn-shaped cannabis sold in Madrid and its surrounding areas are usually smuggled in via the method of ingesting cannabis pellets and then expelling them into the toilet afterward by use of laxatives.
The results of this study are especially worrying for those who are using cannabis via hashish for the treatment of cancer symptoms. E. coli can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pains, and fever, all of which can be considered life-threatening to those who have cancer. In addition, Aspergillus is particularly dangerous to those with low immunity or have certain lung conditions.
“These patients have a weakened immune system, meaning that an infection caused by the consumption of contaminated or adulterated hashish could be fatal,” Pérez said.
In Spain, it is illegal to buy, sell, or import cannabis. People are also not allowed to use cannabis in public. However, it is “technically legal to grow it for personal use, provided it is not publicly visible, and to consume it in private,” according to BBC News.
This study was co-authored with Pilar Pérez-Lloret, Juncal González-Soriano, and Inmaculada Santos Álvarez. It was published recently in the journal Forensic Science International.