Contaminants in Marijuana

The reality of the marijuana industry is actually quite far from transparency. Due to lack of regulation and monitorin there might be more in your marijuana than you bargained for.

Certain lab tests have been conducted have found different fungi, as well as fungicides, and even bacteria such as E. coli to be present on different marijuana plants.

Understanding Contaminants in My Marijuana

There are many steps in the passage of marijuana when traveling from farmer to patient. Growing, harvesting, extraction, handling, packaging, and delivery. Through this route, contaminants can come in contact with your medicine.

But, what are contaminants? And what does this mean for my health? Contaminants can be anything that taints the product or is just not supposed to be present. These include microbes, fungi, and chemicals. Chemical contaminants include pesticides, fungicides, and different fertilizers. Residual solvents from these chemical contaminants can remain on the product after the extraction process. The extraction process is necessary to make oils, dabs, and THC concentrate.

In the United States, since federally marijuana is illegal, each state has its own regulations and protocols for testing. Which mean that there is no such thing as Organic Cannabis or Organic Marijuana and testing results vary across the country. For example, in California until the passing of Proposition 64, government authorities relied on the honor system in order to regulate and control the use of pesticides during the growing of marijuana or cannabis. Even after the passing of this proposition which changed testing laws, there are still a number of products circulating in the market that are coated in pesticides. In fact a study found that only 13.7% of all clone plants tested in California had undetectable amounts of pesticides.

Such high amounts of pesticides and contaminants, at the beginning stages of the production chain, means that many products down the line are going to fail regulation testing. Until testing is mandatory everywhere and labeling of the products is perfected, it is very important that patients be very informed about the products they are ingesting. There are many questions you can ask your dispensary or budtender. Do not be afraid to contact delivery services either in order to ask questions about testing and purity.

What Questions Should I Be Asking?

According to Cooper Watts, general manager and quality control manager of Doctors Orders Stem Beach, a dispensary in Pueblo County, Colorado; there is a very important list of questions that one should be asking about how their marijuana is being cultivated. “The most important things when looking for clean cannabis are the methods being used to mitigate pests and mold as well as the nutrients being used for cultivation both in the vegetative and flowering states,” Watts said.

According to Marijuana.com and Cooper Watts some questions you should ask are:

  • “Ask if the nutrients used to grow the cannabis are chemically derived; synthetic nutrients, like the liquids available in hydroponics shops; or carbon-based sources such as peat moss, kelp, or earthworm castings.
  • Ask what sprays are used to mitigate pests and mold. Are they carbon-based sources, such as neem oil, or a systemic pesticide that can effectively be flushed from the plant before harvest.
  • Ask how the cannabis was cultivated. Indoor grows often use synthetic nutrients and systemic pesticides. Instead of soil, they also use grow media such as coco coir and rock wool. Outdoor and greenhouse plants frequently will be sun-grown, though greenhouses will artificially set the amount of sun exposure.  Soil-based grows are the best candidates for chemical-free plants.”

 

 

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