Around 18 years ago, an Australian man stashed a small amount of marijuana in a balloon then stuck it deep into his nasal cavity then went to prison. Once inside, he assumed that he had accidentally swallowed it and went about his life.
Nearly two decades later, the man, now free, entered the hospital to figure out why he was having such intense headaches. After discovering that the man had a history of chronic nasal issues, doctors performed a CT scan when they found a rhinolith. Rhinoliths are stones that are lodged deep inside the nasal cavity. Rhinoliths can occur internally (via bone fragments, dislodged teeth) but they can also be foreign objects like small toys, beads, seeds…or a small baggie of weed.
The Australia man’s rhinolith turned out to be calcified marijuana he thought he had accidentally swallowed back in the early 2000s.
Jogging His Memory
The unique case was published under the cheeky title “A Nose Out Of Joint” in the journal BMJ Case Reports. After removing what was determined to be a “rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter,” doctors followed-up with the man in an attempt to figure out exactly what had been stashed in his nose.
Their line of questioning was enough to help jog the man’s memory.
“During a prison visit, the patient’s girlfriend supplied him with a small quantity of marijuana, inside a rubber balloon. In order to evade detection, the patient inserted the package inside his right nostril,” noted. “Despite effectively smuggling the package past the prison guards, the patient then accidentally pushed the package deeper into his nostril and mistakenly believed he had swallowed it. He remained unaware of the package’s presence until presented with the unusual histopathology report.”
What’s A Rhinolith?
According to a 2016 study about rhinoliths, the most common issues that sufferers experienced were “unilateral nasal obstruction and nasal foul-smelling discharge and various levels of nasal discharge, facial pain, nasal/oral malodor, or epistaxis.”
During a routine follow-up months later, the man reported that his nasal issues had cleared up. Researchers believe that this is the first reported case of a “prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith.”