Scientists have discovered that cannabis being sold on the streets of Europe contain feces and may be contaminated with E.
Samples sold in Madrid found E.coli bacteria, the vomiting and diarrhea bug that can be transmitted through human feces.
Nearly all samples were too dangerous to be consumed as they pose a “public health risk,” according to researchers.
The study was only conducted in Spain but one expert said the same ‘unusual’ thing could be happing in other places in Europe.
This occurs because of the way the drug is smuggled into countries – by swallowing the drug and excreting it with the help of laxatives.
Researchers said the results are worrying as many people use cannabis to relieve symptoms of certain health conditions.
The team, led by Jose Manuel Perez, collected 90 samples in Madrid and separated into either ingots or acorns. Each sample was divided into smaller pieces and observed under a microscope.
It was found that 93 percent of the acorn-shaped samples were contaminated with E.coli. 29.4 percent of the ingot samples were contaminated.
Some 10 percent of the samples were contaminated with a dangerous fungus called Aspergillus, which can cause severe health problems such as lung infections.
88 percent of the samples were not suitable for consumption based on the amount of E.coli contamination allowed by the US and EU guidelines.
In addition, the odor of every sample and 40 percent of acorns had a scent of feces, and all of these were contaminated with E.coli.
Mr. Perez told El Pais the cannabis is wrapped in small plastic pellets and drug smugglers swallow it then expel them in a toilet with the use of a laxative.
Ian Hamilton, a lecturer in mental health and addiction, said: “This highlights just how much you don’t know what you will be exposed to. The same thing could happen in the UK as has happened in Madrid.”
“We know that some people who have problems with their health use cannabis to try and alleviate the problems they have. This group will be particularly vulnerable to this type of contamination which could make their underlying health problem much worse.
“The risk of exposure to these type of bacteria is always there in an illegal market where some dealers and suppliers don’t have to adhere to any quality control.”
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