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Ex-Inmate Had Marijuana Up His Nose for 18 Years

He thought he had ingested pot wrapped in balloon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2019 2:45 AM CDT
Marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, Calif.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(Newser) – A prison inmate in Australia shoved a balloon containing marijuana up his nose, was unable to retrieve it, and then failed to make a connection between the lost pot and the sinus issues he suffered for the next 18 years, doctors say. In a case reported in the British Medical Journal—under the title "A nose out of joint"—doctors say the man hid the package in his nostril after his girlfriend passed it to him during a visit; he assumed it had been ingested after he couldn't get it out again, CNN reports. It was found still lodged in his right nasal cavity after the man went to a hospital in Sydney complaining of headaches and doctors ordered a CT scan.

The balloon had become a "rhinolith"—a "nose stone" that occurs when calcium and other minerals build up around a foreign body in the nasal cavity, LiveScience reports. Doctors say that after the rhinolith was removed in an operation and they found a "rubber capsule" containing plant matter, they asked the man about it and he was able "to recall an incident that occurred 18 years prior, while he was incarcerated." Doctors say the man, who had suffered nasal obstruction and sinus infections for years, reported that his nasal discomfort was completely gone three months after the rhinolith was removed. This is believed to be the "first reported case of prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith," the doctors' report says. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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