Infection-causing mold, bacterial contaminants found in medical marijuana

Author: UC Davis Health

Patients that were using medicinal marijuana, a few of them developed these very severe fungal infections. But the type of fungal infection that some of these patients had were particularly rare and particularly deadly. And then some of the patients had a history of using medicinal marijuana and maybe some recreational marijuana as well.

That initiated the search for a connection. Joe Tuscano had called me a couple years ago about some patients that we had suspected may have actually acquired their infection from medical marijuana use when they were trying to decrease their symptoms from chemotherapy or nausea or to assist with weight gain. So we just started the study to really look for all these different pathogens to see if our patients infections were self-inflicted. What we did is we found some samples obtained from dispensaries and we analyze those for all the bacteria and fungal organisms present in those samples, and found this huge number of fungal pathogens and gram-negative bacterial pathogens, all of which caused severe and very frequently lethal infections in this population. Amost all of the fungal pathogens that our patients acquire are environmental organism. Cut flowers are full of different fungal organisms and we found those exact same organisms are on medical marijuana that our patients are using for symptomatic allievement.

The group really needs to avoid this is a highly immunocompromised patient, those with lymphoma leukemia on high-dose chemotherapy. These same pathogens are implicated in asthma for a number of people so we do wonder if that 's a group that also should possibly avoid inhaled cannabis use as well. We're really hoping this is a cautionary tale to our patients and that with further knowledge and education we can avoid these infections in that group.

Infection-causing mold, bacterial contaminants found in medical marijuana

Infection-causing mold, bacterial contaminants found in medical marijuana

Patients that were using medicinal marijuana, a few of them developed these very severe fungal infections. But the type of fungal infection that some of these patients had were particularly…

By: UC Davis Health
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