A recent study by a team of researchers at University of Puget Sound and University of Washington of wacky tobacky use, analyzed wastewater samples collected in western Washington from 2013 to 2016.
Says the team’s research leader, Dr. Dan Burgard, western Washington is a world leader in Mary Jane consumption. “We are part of an international study… with 60-80 other cities around the world. And according to wastewater, the Puget Sound area has the highest cannabis use per capita, even over Amsterdam.”
The researchers used new methods to detect trace amounts of THC metabolites in the waste stream – that’s what leaves your body and gets flushed down the toilet after cannabis consumption of any kind, whether smoked, vaped, or eaten.
Dr. Burgard explains, “One dose would be diluted into hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater. So trying to find those really low levels in a sample that’s pretty messy is a sophisticated technique. But in the end, it is measuring some stuff in sewage.”
While sales of legal cannabis increased rapidly from 2014 to 2016, roughly 70% per quarter, there was only a small increase in the amount of THC metabolites detected in the waste stream, indicating that most users switched from illicit markets to legal ones. The research team did also see some growth in consumption — noting a particularly large spike at the end of 2016.
“You can ask somebody with a survey, how much of this illicit drug do you use and you may or may not get the right answer. With wastewater, it’s anonymous, and wastewater doesn’t have any reason to lie,” explained Dr. Burgard.
Whatever you call it, Cannabis, Marijuana, Mary Jane, Pot, Grass, Wacky Tobacky, it’s certainly looks like it is high times in Washington State. Via – KING 5 News Seattle