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CDC: Pot can be a food-borne illness factor

Sept. 3, 2009 at 1:45 PM
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ATLANTA, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Marijuana can be a potential contaminant and be a factor in food-borne illnesses, U.S. health officials warn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Thursday says that in April 2009, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health conducted a collaborative investigation concerning a group of preschool-teachers with neurological and gastrointestinal symptoms after eating brownies purchased from a sidewalk vendor.

The CDC report summarizes the results of that investigation, which detected cannabinoids -- a group of substances that are structurally related to tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance found in the marijuana plant -- in a recovered sample of the brownies.

Two patients sought medical treatment and one patient's urine and serum tested positive for marijuana metabolites.

The findings demonstrate the utility of a collaborative investigation by public health and law enforcement and the importance of timely testing of clinical specimens after symptom onset, the report says.

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