Cannabis is usually a pretty safe drug—even the World Health Organization says so. But that doesn't mean it is always safe. There are a number of contaminants that are sometimes found in cannabis. And if you happen to be in Madrid, the contaminant you're most likely to find in your cannabis resin is actually human feces. And it's not just trace amounts: Cannabis resin in Madrid contains more feces than THC, thanks to prohibition.
Feces contamination is so prevalent in Madrid cannabis resin that a recent study estimated that "88.3 percent of the [resin] samples were not suitable for consumption."
But how did all of Madrid's cannabis come to be, well, covered in shit? It largely comes down to prohibition and the lack of safety testing.
Cannabis is still illegal in Spain, so the country doesn't have a regulated market for marijuana. Because of that, much of the cannabis that's sold on the streets of Madrid has been smuggled into the country. In the case of resin, smugglers often roll it into small pills, wrap them in cellophane, then ingest them in order to get it across the border. Once in Spain, the smugglers, ahem, poop out the resin, then sell it to consumers. According to the study, you can literally smell the feces on as much as 40 percent of these resin capsules.
Of course, if Spain did have a regulated cannabis market that tested its products for any potential contaminants, this problem would be largely avoided. In fact, if you live in a state with legal cannabis, you've probably already benefited from safety screening. Some 50 pounds of cannabis was pulled from shelves in Michigan due to E. coli contamination just a few months ago, and a massive amount of California cannabis was found to be infested with mold back in 2017, leading the state to implement some very strict regulations.
So, yes, black market cannabis is often more affordable than the stuff you can get from legal dispensaries, but that price difference is in part because of the safety testing the legal stuff has to go through. And at the end of the day, would you rather roll the dice on smoking weed laced with actual feces, or pay a few extra bucks for flower that you know is clean?
h/t The Local