The Civil Guard found the laboratory in the first house, at the beginning of the 12 records of the Extinde Operation, on January 24. Was a blow to drug trafficking in marijuana in Alicante with international implications, and whose results increase police alertness and health concern about the high concentrations of the psychotropic THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) that are being detected in cannabis sold in Spain.
In a luxury house on the residential periphery of Alicante, the guards seized a complete installation arranged on the upper floor: laboratory tables, powerful magnifying glasses, hanging marijuana branches, devices for chemical analysis, a library of dozens of books on cultivation and hybridization, and blocks in which narcos noted how they raised THC and decreased the smell of their plants.
The occupants of the house, now in the Valencian prison of Fontcalent, they were not botanists; nor hippies of the counterculture of the 60s and 70s, but a hard version of marijuana, from the 21st century: Polish ex-military disciplined by its commander, Sebastian Przybylski, hooligans of KS Krakow, shaved, muscled and tattooed as his fellow right-wing counterparts in his country, with a history of drug trafficking and acts violent on soccer fields.
Most likely, official analyzes of marijuana intervened in Extinde will ratify the police find: this band for export to the United Kingdom and other countries had chosen Spain as a base of experimentation to obtain an effect marijuana, rather than sedative, authentically lysergic.
As has been happening throughout 2019 and even in 2018, a increasing proportion of seized plants reach 30% THC in their composition. It is the gold of the Maria’s business, the component that causes the consumer’s trip and, already, the most toxic by excess in the grass sold in the streets, five times more powerful than what was the majority ten years ago.
The cannabis in its wild state has a 5% concentration of that component. With less than 4%, it is hemp. If, in the 70s, street marijuana had 5% THC, now two-thirds of the marijuana sold has between five and 15%, and strong marijuana, with more than 15 percent THC, occupies and a 36% market share, according to the annual statistics of the National Institute of Toxicology (INT).
Your statistics go two years behind reality on the street. The average of marijuana seized in the three main operations of 2019 against illegal plantations in Almería – the most important one, Operation Acantha, last July – already evidenced a very important presence of bud samples with up to 38% THC.
According to INT, in 2017 the 34.5% of the marijuana intercepted in judicialized police operations belongs to the range of 15 to 25% of THC. Ten years ago, that particularly potent marijuana existed, but only on a market margin: 18 percent. And in 2019 the market sector of that most toxic marijuana is 39 percent, according to Civil Guard sources, about the average of its seizures in the southern half of Spain between May and December, and waiting for reports to come out INT’s most recent.
Draws attention to power of the drug seized by the Civil Guard in September 2018, in an empty building in Sareb, the public holder of wrecked real estate assets of the 2007 bubble. According to the prosecutor’s investigation, the drug traffickers occupied almost all the construction, in Viator (Almería): three low, two levels of three floors each and an attic converted into vertical plantation. There were plants up to 40 percent THC, according to the prosecution. And at 5.4 euros per gram.
“In ten years we will see in today’s young consumers the effects of the new enhanced seeds – warns the captain of the Civil Guard José María Zaldive, who has sent numerous operations against plantations in the south -: slow thinking, diminished intellectual functioning … “
How to drink absinthe
Three very powerful species reigned in the illegal market, according to police sources: Blueberry, Black Widow and Northern Ligth. The three are being displaced by newly enriched others: Cookie Kush, Tansi Choco López and Gelatto. The planters prefer them because of their high concentration of THC (from 19 to 28%) and their high weight per square meter. “All growers know that potency is what sells“, explains from Uruguay the marijuana grower entrepreneur Iván Lerman, owner of Vira Vira Cannabis Company.
In Barcelona, Nuria Calzada, coordinator of the Energy Control organization of the Welfare and Development NGO, the most expert private drug observatory in Spain, confirms this wave of THC: “Not only by data from the European observatory, but also by North American studies, we know that now, in markets such as Colorado or California, cannabis is found with up to 30 percent power. The herb sold in 2006 had an average THC concentration of 11%; now, 22 “.
Causeway sees three reasons: “The power is increased because there is a clear demand. But also because of a confusion in the belief that, more THC or more power, more pleasure. I doubt it. Is more alcohol more pleasure? Is a 70-degree glass of alcohol more pleasure than a five-beer? “
The second reason that points Calzada is the genetic selection of varieties. And in addition: “In the United States, several states have regulated access to cannabis, but with a neoliberal model, without limits, and the industry is putting high concentration products on the market.”
It favors consumption
For the psychologist Nuria Calzada, and depending on how often it is consumed, “it seems proven that higher concentrations of THC induce more compulsive consumption. And compulsive consumption does have to do with passenger psychotic outbreaks,” he explains.
It is corroborated by Alberto Borobia, clinical pharmacologist at La Paz Hospital: in cannabis, “the greater the consumption, the greater the dependence. THC stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, key to the brain’s reward mechanism. The more dopamine, the more reward, and therefore more need for consumption. “
However, the concern for enriched smokable buds is only part of the new concern unleashed around marijuana: “I don’t know why the concentration of THC in the flower catches your attention. The business is already on another screen Iván Lerman explains. The plants reach a top that is far from the ‘pencils’ “
Refers to vapeatable pipettes and sprays, of THC distillates It is the oil with which the narcos test to put it on the market. According to Lerman, cannabis planters around the world “are dedicating half of their production to distillates and separation of THC and other cannabinoids. That a plant carries 30 percent of THC will soon not be the most important thing.”