Photo: Sean Gallup (Getty)

If you need another reason to advocate for the legalization of marijuana—a new study shows why weed sold illegally on the street is more likely to have unacceptable levels of feces in it.

Scientists at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid gathered 90 samples of cannabis from street dealers in and around Madrid, then tested the products to determine if they were “suitable for human consumption.”

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The results, published in the latest issue of Forensic Science International, found that 83 percent of the tested samples were not suitable. Because they had too much shit in them.

Specifically, the samples had traces of Aspergillus fungus and E.coli bacteria. The researchers deemed the shit-weed “a public health issue.”

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After buying the weed, the research team split it all into two groups based on the shape of the package the drugs were sold in—packages in an acorn shape and packages shaped like a block. The study showed that 29.4 percent of the block-shaped samples had traces of feces, while 93 percent of the acorn-shaped samples had traces of feces.

Speaking to Spanish newspaper El País, one of the researchers on the study, pharmacologist José Manuel Moreno Pérez, explained the reason he believes the acorns are far more likely to have shit in them: Smugglers often swallow the acorn-shaped bags, which they call “bellotas,” then travel from Morocco to Spain. “When they get to Spain, they take a laxative and expel the bellotas,” Pérez told El País. “And then they’re put on sale.”

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The study mentions that cancer patients are increasingly medicating with cannabis and that these patients may have weakened immune systems that can make them more vulnerable to contaminated drugs.

The paper warns smokers who may think burning weed sterilizes the bacteria. “There are no filters on joints,” Pérez told El País. “You are not just breathing in smoke, but also particles.”

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And when users handle the shit-weed, they could get bacteria on their hands.

Even though the researchers only tested marijuana in Spain, the swallowing method is also used by smugglers who bring drugs into the United States.

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[Forensic Science International via BBC]