The grit weed story of 2006-7

Soft Secrets magazine report
Processed weed

Guardian Newspaper report
12th January 2007

French studies
10th January 2007

January 2007

The story which dominated the end of 2006 and the first few weeks of 2007 for UKCIA was the issue of contamination of herbal cannabis with microscopic glass beads.

We first began hearing of this back in late summer 2006. Following "Operation Keymer" - a series of high profile raids against cannabis grow-ops - there was a widespread shortage of cannabis all over the country for the first time in a good few years.

No doubt this was the simplistic aim of the police raids and to that extent they were very successful. However, within a couple of weeks of the raids, we began hearing of herbal cannabis which seemed to contain "sand" or "grit", it became known as "Grit weed".

At first we thought this was fairly benign, the sand was being added to increase the weigh, making the cannabis more expensive but otherwise it wasn't thought to be a serious problem. We don't think that anymore.

Posts to our now defunctforum identified this "grit" as being small pieces of glass. We then began getting photographs of this "grit", which was very good at reflecting light and so showed up well in flash photos

On Christmas day we received the first solid evidence of what this contamination was. It was shown to be small glass beads used for sandblasting and reflective road marking paint which had been sprayed onto the bud, penetrating deep into it

ITV Wales - Wales this Week - report January 2007

Analysis of the contasmination in "grit weed"

A press release was issued by the defunct website "Cannaprag" on 1st January, which resulted in an article in the Eastern Daily Press paper.

On January 5th we received another analysis - this time using a scanning electron microscope. This revealed some of the particles were 10 micron or less. This is very bad news, these particles are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs where they could cause enormous damage.

Electron microscope image of the glass beads

Electron microscope image of the glass beads sprayed into the cananbis bud

A further press release from the defunct Cannaprag site on 7th January which is sadly no longer online resulted in an item in the Guardian and on 10th January by research from France confirming the contamination - and the fact that the French government were at least monitoring the situation if nothnig else since at least September last year. These analysis results confirm the research posted here. It also indicates other forms of contamination involving sand and "glass wool"

An alert was finally issued by the British dept of health on 16th January