21 January 2007

Glass and Grass - The Sequel

Back in November 2006 KFx reported that an increasing number of people were finding herbal cannabis which was being adulterated with glass. This adulteration came on the back of the ongoing police clampdown on cannabis-growing in the UK.

Two months later, the Daily Dose, Department of Health and Drugscope have also started to report this contamination - better late than never.

It was cannabis activists - not the Home Office or DoH that took a proactive lead, getting cannabis samples analysed by a friendly toxicologist. These reports were publicised by activists including UKCIA and Cannaprag

This supported the increasingly well-founded assertion that cannabis was being contaminated - probably by some sort of reflective glass beads in a solvent - based spray. It looks like this:

Belatedly, Department of Health realised that this was an issue and on the 16.1.07 released a bulletin. This was circulated to PCTs and others.

Unfortunatley, while this Bulletin highlighted the risk, it didn't see fit to propose suggest any harm reduction interventions.

Frank, the Government-run helpline recycles the same information and also fails to offer any harm reduction information.

So the outcome so far has been ACPO create a shortage of cannabis through operation Keymer. Growing and supply has been concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of illegal suppliers and, in turn they have started to bulk up supplies with contaminants, passing off lower grades of grass as being high in THC with adulterants.

This is a fine example of prohibition and its impact on health. So just as alcohol prohibition results in people choosing to drink toxic alcohol concoctions, so cannabis prohibition has resulted in an unregulated market and the increased availability of highly contaminated soap bar and now contaminated herbal cannabis.

For people left with contaminated cannabis to smoke, here's the choices:

- don't smoke or eat any contaminated drugs at all;
- if you really feel you have to, don't smoke in a straight spliff - use a water pipe, fine gauzes, filtered pipe or another method of smoking;
- don't take large lungfulls from any unfiltered sources such as chillums, pipes without filters, or spliffs;
- take more shallow puffs, don't such to hard - it increases the chance of glass being take deeper in to lungs.

and above all, remember that this situation arose out of prohibition...

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