The Dangerous Rise of Contaminated Weed

SCA cannabis contamination

A disturbing video about cannabis SCRA contamination from Vice

One of the big fears when so-called “legal highs” were banned with the Psychoactive Substances Act in 2016 was that SCRAs, the Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists or “fake cannabis” would end up being sprayed onto low quality herbal cannabis to make it stronger.

Back in July 2018 this UKCIA blog reported on a warning of vape juice found to have contained SCRA and also a possible sighting of such a product in the south of England.

The cannabis market is big business, making mega profits mostly for organised crime. Because of the prohibition policy there is no quality control and no way to prevent this stuff from being sold or for consumers to know they are buying it.

Unfortunately SCRA contaminated cannabis is not only addictive but also dangerous, this is a huge problem entirely hidden by the underground nature of the cannabis culture created by prohibition

As the video makes clear, the only way to control this is to legalise and properly regulate the commercial cannabis trade.

It seems the problem is a growing one. Vice issued this video about the situation in Germany last year, there is no reason to assume it isn’t happening here in the UK.


UKCIA is a cannabis law reform site dedicated to ending the prohibition of cannabis. As an illegal drug, cannabis is not a controlled substance - it varies greatly in strength and purity, it's sold by unaccountable people from unknown venues with no over sight by the authorities. There is no recourse to the law for users and the most vulnerable are therefore placed at the greatest risk. There can be no measures such as age limits on sales and no way to properly monitor or study the trade, let alone introduce proper regulation. Cannabis must be legalised, as an illegal substance it is very dangerous to the users and society at large.