Have you ever heard of hashish oil? The two-time Olympic gold medalist and seven-time Women’s National Basketball Association All-Star Brittney Griner is now being detained by Russian police after marijuana oil was found in her suitcase. Griner, a player for the Phoenix Mercury, was first taken in February at Sheremetyevo airport outside of Moscow on drug-related accusations; however, Russian authorities only announced Griner’s detention on Saturday.
According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, a working dog from the Sheremetyevo Customs canine division discovered the vape cartridges with hashish oil in Griner’s carry-on baggage. Hash is short for hashish. The Times reports that Griner is the subject of a criminal investigation for “large-scale narcotics transportation.” The possible sentence range for these offences is 5 to 10 years.
Hashish Oil: What Is It?
A concentrated cannabis extract derived from the resin found in the buds of the Cannabis plant is known as hashish oil, often referred to as hash or honey oil. Like in Griner’s case, this strong kind of cannabis is often marketed in cartridges for use in vape pens, but it may also be taken orally, smoked, or applied topically. The practice of “dabbing,” which involves heating and vaporizing hash oil using a specific pipe, is another popular way to utilize hash oil.
Hashish oil includes a high concentration of THC, the psychoactive component found in other marijuana products and is 4 to 5 times more powerful than normal marijuana. It’s unknown how much THC is in each dosage of hash oil since the processing isn’t standardized, although it may range from 15 to 60 percent THC. A wide variety of adverse effects are brought on by this variation in THC content. Hash oil consumption may furthermore cause the following physical and psychological adverse effects:
- mouth ache
- eye color
- increased hunger and heart rate
- Memory problems
In the US, 36 states permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, while 18 states permit the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. However, hashish oil is not always covered by these regulations. People may use hash oil as medicinal marijuana in the states that have allowed cannabis oils with low THC levels, but it depends on the circumstances. Marijuana usage for either recreational or medicinal purposes is prohibited in Russia.
Will Griner be able to leave Russia after traveling there to perform?
Griner has spent the last five off-seasons playing with UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia. Many WNBA players are drawn to playing abroad because it offers them the chance to earn far more money than they would on their home teams. For instance, WNBA players typically earn $130,000 per year in the US, while they may earn up to $1 million per year in other leagues. Over a dozen WNBA players presently participate in overseas leagues during the offseason, with about 70 WNBA players overall. The WNBA athlete Griner is in a hazardous holding area as a result of her detention for an alleged possession of hash oil during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian Drug Policy Position
The way Russia views drug usage is especially troubling in Griner’s situation. Some nations emphasize drug control with harsh, punishing policies that risk endangering the public’s health. Russia’s drug policy tends to criminalize and penalize those who use drugs or have a substance use disorder (SUD), as opposed to supporting them via treatment and harm reduction techniques.
According to a case study by BMC, Russia’s official drug policy is one of “social intolerance,” which implies that treating drug users poorly is encouraged and justified. Such “bad treatment” of people who take drugs includes denying them access to medications that are necessary to treat addiction, such as Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid usage, and using therapies like electroshock therapy and comatose therapy. The intense stigma associated with addiction and the absence of evidence-based treatment alternatives for those with SUDs in Russia result in a decline in the number of persons seeking medical care, even as the prevalence of drug use and dependence rises.
A layer of stress surrounds Griner’s detention as the turmoil between Russia and the US intensifies as the world watches as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia goes on. There are worries that the nation would use Griner’s case against the US in retaliation for recent sanctions on Russia that were put in place by the Biden administration. The State Department amended its travel advice the same day that word of Griner’s detention emerged, advising Americans to leave Russia right once due to the “potential for harassment against US nationals by Russian government security officers.”