AN increase in homegrown marijuana during lockdown has led to 60% of the cannabis consumed nowadays containing higher levels of toxic and infectious substances.
According to a study carried out by the NGO Controla Club and the Valencia Health Departnent, following the rise in cultivation of cannabis, more infectious substances and mould are now being consumed, and experts have warned about the increased health risks from the higher levels of toxins.
Director of projects at the NGO, Juan Barcala, told Cadena Ser radio that the presence of toxic substances in 60% of the marijuana consumed added to the toxicity of the canabis itself, is made even worse, because the drug is not percieved as being dangerous by the sector of society which is at risk. Barcala explained that the study found that among potencial consumers, there had been a progressive increase in the consumption of marijuana compared to hashish. In times of lockdown it was easier for some people to grow their own, than to get hold of hashish which requires a more complicated process of production, he said.
For the study, 13 – 25 year-olds were surveyed about their cannabis habits and the results were quite shocking, showing that 63.42% of the young people questioned had smoked cannabis at some point. However, this figure is much higher than the national average of 37.5% for 15 and 64 year olds, according to the National Drug Plan.
With respect to how often cannabis was consumed, the study found that 34.93% of the youngsters who took part had consumed cannabis in the past 30 days, that the average age of starting to smoke marijuana was 14.85 years and that 6.8% said they smoked an average of 1 to 3 joints a day.
The study also found that one in every five cannabis users reported having suffered after effects including fainting and low blood pressure, followed by panic attacks, cardiac arrhythmia, tachycardia and problems sleeping.