It makes sense when you think about the best way to get hash across the border…
Before you read this article, go get your best cannabis, roll it into a joint or put it in a bowl, light it up and start smoking it. Don’t read the next sentence until you’ve done that. Now, depending on where you’re reading this from, it might be possible to guess how much poop there is in your cannabis. If you spit out your joint, pick it up, it’s probably fine. Relax. The people buying street bud and hash in Spain need to worry, however. Shockingly, according to a 2019 report published in Forensic Science International, there are some types of cannabis in Spain that are showing disturbingly high instances of fecal contamination.
How Does Cannabis Become Contaminated With Feces?
To understand how feces can get into cannabis, one needs only to understand simple biology. That is, much of the street bud that is sold in Spain is brought into the country illegally. Apparently, smugglers are swallowing some types of hashish and using laxatives to expel the products before sale. Further explanation is likely unnecessary. But to be completely clear, they eat the hash, they poop the hash out, then they sell you the pooped out hash.
Obviously, this would be concerning if it were just one person possibly consuming feces with their cannabis. However, the results of the 2019 study were much more stark. According to the group of four researchers, if treated with the same standard as food and tea, 88.3% of their samples were not suitable for human consumption.
The researchers collected 90 samples from street vendors across the region of Madrid. They found that the shape of the product was connected to its contaminants. For example, they found that nearly 65% of the ingot-shaped samples were spoiled with “foreign elements”. If the product was acorn-shaped, just over 30% of them received the same diagnosis.
But, the acorn-shaped products carried a unique trait: many of them smelled like feces. And, it gets worse. Ninety-three percent of the acorn-shaped products tested positive for E. coli. Of course, every single one with the horrible smell tested for the potentially dangerous microbe.
It’s gross that the researchers found the need to make a comparison, but they noted that the acorn-shaped products seemed to pose a greater risk than their ingot-shaped counterparts. However, they did specifically mention that 100% of the acorn-shaped products weren’t suitable for consumption while just 58.8% of ingot-shaped products shouldn’t be consumed.
What Could Happen If You Consume Spain’s Street Bud?
The researchers of that study made it perfectly clear that Spain’s street hash—at least in that part of Madrid—isn’t fit for consumption. In fact, they stated that it “constitutes a public health issue”. However, the possible consequences of consuming contaminated cannabis depend on the “foreign elements.” Street bud contamination is not very likely.
Here are a few things to be cautious of with the hash products.
According to a 2013 review in the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, E. coli can produce Shiga toxins that can cause both hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and the potentially-fatal sequelae hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). So, one hit off of a contaminated hash product and you could face the consequences of a strain of E. coli colonizing the mucosa of your intestines. E. coli is a persistent bacteria. It can survive in a diverse range of environments and even resists powerful acids.
However, E. coli isn’t the only thing to look out for when consuming street buds in Spain. Some of the products contained a potentially dangerous type of fungi: Aspergillus.
Aspergillus come in a variety of species. Likewise, the symptoms they present vary based on the person they infect.
A report from 2015 outlined how this fungus and its related entities manifest themselves. Aspergillus can potentially cause problems in the lungs, create fatigue and fever in cancer patients, and even disseminate through the bloodstream into distant organs.
How to Avoid Poop Hash in Spain
If you’re looking for clean, medicinal cannabis products in Spain, you only need to join a ‘social club’. The social clubs in Spain are the private equivalents of Amsterdam’s coffee shops. Once you’re a member, you can purchase a range of cannabis products, including pure flower, hash, and cannabis oil.
Some of the best social clubs have their own genetics teams and grow operations. In those cases, you know you’re avoiding any potential downsides of Spain’s street bud.
Or maybe stay away from the hash altogether?