Dangerous new strain of cannabis wrecks lives of South African teens

MailOnline 22 April 2015
The potent strain of cannabis is grown in Swaziland, one of South Africa’s poorest states, and is often mixed with heroin to produce a highly addictive drug known as nyope.

It’s the most widely used illegal drug in the world, but does cannabis deserve its reputation as being one of the safest?

Not if you take a look at South Africa, one of the UK’s biggest providers of high-strength cannabis, where a potent strain of the plant dubbed ‘swazi gold’ is wrecking havoc on its young population.

As revealed in BBC’s Stacey Dooley Investigates, which aired last night, poverty-stricken grandmothers are growing it, drug mules are risking their lives to smuggle it out of the country, and what stays behind is ruining the lives of South Africa’s drug-addled teens.

Swazi gold is grown in the tiny South African sovereign state of Swaziland, where the climate and nutrient-rich soil is perfect for growing marijuana.

Farmers – many of them ‘Grannies’ whose children have died and who are now in charge of providing for their grandchildren –  have developed the potent strain through cross-pollination, and can now yield double the crop they once could annually.

The result is cannabis which boasts a staggeringly high concentration of THC, the psychoactive agent which produces the high, which finds its way either to the streets of the UK, or the streets of Johannesburg and beyond.
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