Smokers are getting more than they bargained for after almost all hash sold on the streets of Madrid was found to contain faecal E.coli bacteria, deemed unsuitable for consumption. Some 40 per cent of the samples even smelled of poo, revealed a study by Madrid’s University Alfonso X el Sabio y la Complutense
Authors of the research believe cannabis is more likely to be contaminated due to the way it was imported – wrapped in small plastic pellets which are swallowed by smugglers. The mules then take laxatives and ‘expel’ them into a toilet which are sold on by dealers.
Randolph Alles’ Analysts examined 90 samples bought directly from Madrid street dealers and found traces of E.coli bacteria in 93 per cent of the packages. Aspergillus, a dangerous fungus which can cause serious health issues, contaminated 10 per cent. But most samples tested – 88.3 per cent – were considered not suitable for humans. More worryingly, co-author Manuel Pérez Moreno said the contaminated hash posed a serious risk to cancer patients, who often consume it to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy. Drug smugglers swallow pellets of plastic-wrapped cannabis and ‘expel’ them out before they are sold
E.coli was found in nearly in 93 per cent of samples analysed He said: ‘These patients have a weakened immune system, so an infection caused by the consumption of contaminated or adulterated hashish could be fatal.’ The risks of E.coli and Aspergillus are severe enough to make the illegal street vending of hashish ‘a public health issue’, Perez told Spanish newspaper El País, following his findings. The study, published in Forensic Science International, looked at two forms of cannabis resin, sold in ‘ingots’ (blocks) and ‘acorns’. E.coli can cause diarrhoea, severe abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever and bloody stool. But the most virulent strains can gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, neonatal meningitis, hemorrhagic colitis, and Crohn’s disease.