Contaminated Cannabis – The Unavoidable Consequence of Prohibition

Eleven years ago, I was confronted with the phenomenon of contaminated cannabis for the first time.

White Widow contaminated sandOne of my colleagues had bought two grams from his private source and wanted to medicate in our editorial office. The medicine smelled and looked good, but visibly, despite the correct weight of 2.0 grams, it looked as if it was at least a half-gram short. When rubbing between the fingers, the bud felt rough, and when licking the fingers after, something crunched between my teeth. Also, the hard-as-stone crystals sunk to the bottom of the zipper-bag. Eventually I assumed the colleague had bought at least half a gram of fine sand. We decided to burn the sanded weed with a Jet-Stream lighter to see if there was any inorganic material left over. After burning the two grams, we had a dark green glass globe weighing about 0.5 grams. The sand used for diluting the bud had been fused into glass.

Startled by this incident, I looked online to see whether or not any other smokers have had similar experiences. At first, I only found reports in British forums where users blamed a substance called “Brix+” for the improper buds. This liquid substance should be blended with the flowers after drying as a “wet cure application,” so the producer stated on the bottle, that they weigh up to 22 percent more. After some brief research in German grow shops, it was clear that Brix had only been offered for a few weeks, it was advertised as a new yield enhancer from Australia. The soaked flowers actually weigh almost a quarter gram more, have lost almost all of their aroma, but appear extremely crystalline after the treatment.

Everything Began With Brix

Brix is a unit of measurement normally used in wine growing that provides information on the sugar content, similar to Oechsle-Grading. Some fertilizer manufacturers from overseas, particularly in the UK, have taken over this  fact, and they praise products that make bud particularly “heavy and sweet,” often in connection with the name Brix.

Once again, some criminals from the cannabis scene took advantage of this by placing the “Brix+” on the market and massively advertising it as a brand new yield enhancer. Our team searched and found somebody to test a sample in a mass spectrometer that had been sent to our editorial office anonymously. The liquid product contained a colorless plastic polymer.

Not too long after the first reports of “Brix+” contaminated cannabis appeared, the product was taken off the shelves of almost all grow shops across Europe. But anyone who thought the problem was solved at that time was not aware of the mechanisms of an uncontrolled black market. After Brix+ was taken from the shelves there was less and less uncontaminated cannabis on the black market, particularly in the imported buds from the Netherlands which became infamous for being dirty. No matter whether talcum, salts, sugar, oregano, fibre hemp, broken glass, or hairspray, dealers were padding their wallets with contaminants.

Cannabis contaminated with lead sulfide

Cannabis contaminated with lead sulfide

The public did not take notice of the phenomenon until 2008, when two people nearly died from contaminated cannabis. At that time, an unscrupulous dealer had the idea of using lead sulfide as a cutting agent. It shines beautifully, weighs a lot and very quickly causes lead-poisoning when smoked. After almost two hundred reported lead poisonings in and around Leipzig, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) decided to test more seized samples.

Lead was no longer found, but a wide range of previously mentioned substances which definitely have nothing to do with cannabis were detected. However, testing cannabis from the black market is generally unlawful, and therefore, consumers have little chance of detecting cutting agents on their buds. If contaminated heroin or cocaine is seized there are public warnings to protect consumers. In the case of contaminated cannabis, potential consumers are not informed; politicians withdraw on the the position that any consumption of cannabis is harmful and should be avoided. The only information available are on Cutting Agent Register pages like the Streckmittelmelder.

The register is still being filled with new content every day. Here, the often helpless consumers can learn how to use a few simple tricks to detect contaminations. An incomplete burning, sparks or a float-test of a bud in a glass water can give hints on cutting agent contamination. But it cannot prevent health hazards caused by black market cannabis or create any consumer protections like in Oregon, Washington, or Colorado. In the south of Germany, where the penalties and profits for cannabis are the highest in the country, most incidents and probable contaminations are reported.

Photos courtesy of DHV (German Hemp Association)

Source & Full Article:

Best Weed Documentary – The Union: The Business Behind Getting High

BC’s illegal marijuana trade industry has evolved into a business giant, dubbed by some involved as ‘The Union’, Commanding upwards of $7 billion Canadian annually. With up to 85% of ‘BC Bud’ being exported to the United States, the trade has become an international issue. Follow filmmaker Adam Scorgie as he demystifies the underground market and brings to light how an industry can function while remaining illegal. Through growers, police officers, criminologists, economists, doctors, politicians and pop culture icons, Scorgie examines the cause and effect nature of the business – an industry that may be profiting more by being illegal.

Written by Brett Harvey

PUFF Topics Coming Soon 

Very excited to announce that we’ll be launching the PUFF Topics portion of this website in the upcoming days.

Our goal with PUFF Topics is to have intelligent conversations that are highly moving to our audience regardless if you partake in smoking pot or not.

It’s my vision to make this project very community driven. This means I’ll be reviewing comments and interacting heavily with those who have graciously given us your valuable time.

As a citizen of a divided nation it’s my desire to put out a peaceful platform in which we can discuss why America should legalize weed and make America and it’s Americans that much closer to the American Dream.

Freedom and justice for all in the land of liberty.

Stay tuned for further details!