Contaminated cannabis claims in Connecticut are mostly false
Late last year, I reported on the possibility of the first ever reported case of an overdose related to fentanyl-laced marijuana in Connecticut. According to state officials, the Department of Public Health’s report linking nearly 40 overdoses in the state to fentanyl-laced marijuana turned out to be false. There was one confirmed case related to a cannabis “overdose,” but likely resulted from accidentally contaminated product.
Initial reports indicated that 39 overdoses involved patients who claimed to have only smoked marijuana and denied any opioid use. They all required naloxone for revival. While there was an additional case in Plymouth where the sample tested positive for fentanyl, it was the only submission containing the deadly opioid. State officials determined that the fentanyl-laced marijuana was likely an “accident” and the contamination was an “isolated incident.”
Fear propaganda tactics are often used by opponents of marijuana’s legalization. Claims of laced cannabis are almost always untrue. In the Plymouth case, officials claim that the marijuana was likely contaminated by the dealer using the same instrument to process the cannabis that they used for their fentanyl.
Drug overdoses are on the rise across the country while millions of Americans currently suffer from opioid-use disorders. It’s important for marijuana users to remain cautious. Anything bought off the street has the potential of being cross-contaminated; that’s just the reality. If you live in a state that has legalized the recreational sale of marijuana, it’s always safer to buy from dispensaries because their products are tested for contamination. If you live in a state where marijuana remains illegal and are forced to buy your plants from the street, proceed with caution.
Marijuana users want nothing more than the ability to enjoy their product in peace. While the threat of contaminated marijuana exists, it remains extremely unlikely that dealers are intentionally contaminating their products. The reported case in Connecticut should be a reminder to everyone that anything is possible, however. The only way for marijuana users to safely consume cannabis is to legalize the plant at the federal level and allow the product to be tested regularly.