Evidence of alcoholic beverages laced with cannabis sold in bars in the Accra Metropolis

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April, 2018
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Alcohol is consumed for recreational purposes and it is not a strictly controlled substance. Misuse of alcohol can lead to severe consequences – socially and health of an individual. Alcohol is sold in bars, pubs and recreational places where people meet to chat, share a drink and to socialize. The aim of this work was to investigate potential adulteration of cannabis in alcoholic beverages that are sold in bars in the Accra Metropolis. Sixty (60) local and foreign alcoholic beverages were sampled from bars and pubs in the slums, unplanned and planned areas in the Accra Metropolis. The samples were first screened for presence of cannabis using presumptive Fast Blue B test and GC-MS was used for the identification, and quantification of the three main cannabinoids; tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 – THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD) in the alcoholic beverages. The locally produced alcoholic beverages had the highest level of CBN (193.87%) while the foreign alcoholic beverage sampled from another location of Accra had highest value of 96.21% (w/w) Δ9 – THC. The average value of CBN (25.93%) was greater than the average Δ9 – THC content (5.25%). This means the cannabis used as adulterants were of old stock. This work uncovered higher levels of cannabis in alcoholic beverages sold in the Accra Metropolis. This could have health implications to customers who unknowingly purchased and consumed alcoholic beverages adulterated with cannabis that are sold in local bars in the Accra Metropolis. To the authors knowledge, this work is first of its kind to demonstrate lacing of alcoholic beverages with hazardous cannabis sold in bars.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of an Msc in Forensic Science.