Scientists in Turkey have used selected bacteria and chemical compounds, known as microbial fuel cells (MFCs), to create electricity from the urine of marijuana users. The study was published in Biosource Technology Reports.
For the experiment marijuana metabolites were stripped from urine, reports The Growth Op. When the MFCs were combined with an electrical current via urine a chemical reaction occurred. When the reaction takes place, the components are split among the product.
The researchers said, “Untreated urine samples pooled from drug-free male donors produced 0.35 V of peak electricity in the fuel cells. When the urine samples were replaced with those from cannabis users (containing 170 ng/mL of COOH-THC), the maximum voltage of 0.23 V was achieved.”
Synthetic THC was also experimented with but did not produce positive results. About 60% of the COOH-THC metabolite was depleted when the synthetic cannabinoid was used.
The researchers also noted that, “The results showed that MFCs can be used for treatment of cannabis metabolites found in human urine to prevent contamination of natural ecosystems with these resilient and toxic metabolites. Moreover, although in small levels, voltage generation provides an added-value that could be used to power certain applications in the treatment plants.”
The concept is expected to be studied further to figure out how to make this method available for large scale use.