PESTICIDES AND CANNABIS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Do you really know what’s in your cannabis?
Or perhaps a better question, do you want to?
PITFALLS OF A LEGAL GREY-ZONE
Due to the legal limbo of cannabis at the federal level, enforced health regulations around cannabis growing practices are somewhere between extremely weak and virtually non-existent.
What does this mean for the consumer?
Weak health regulations create a situation where companies eager to protect their monoculture cash crop can and will do anything necessary to ensure their investment comes to harvest. And in agriculture, this inevitably means heavy pesticide use.
Studies in both Colorado and Washington revealed a disturbingly high rate of pesticide use, sometimes over 1200X the acceptable healthy limit.
This elevated rate wasn’t limited to one or two companies. In fact, it was relatively commonplace.
EFFECTS OF SMOKING PESTICIDES
A study by a cannabis testing company showed that yes, pesticides inhaled from sprayed marijuana do in fact end up in your bloodstream. This is not alarmist propaganda. This is a real health risk.
Smoking contaminated cannabisputs pesticides in your body. In your liver. In your spleen. In your brain.
The acute effects of pesticides are largely unknown, but chronic pesticide exposure is linked with respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, diabetes, birth defects, fertility and reproductive problems, and many forms of cancer.
A CONCENTRATE PROBLEM
The biggest area of concern for a consumer is hash oil concentrates. Cannabinoids share similar chemical properties to pesticides, so during the extraction process, the residual pesticides on the cannabis are concentrated along with the cannabinoids.
According to the 2015 findings of Cannabis Safety Institute, concentrates contained over 10X the level of pesticides as the flower. Effects of smoking pesticides is magnified with concentrate use.
ARE THERE ORGANIC CANNABIS OPTIONS?
The “organic” label is a certification owned by the FDA, so cannabis cannot legally be certified organic. There are, however, several third-party certification companies springing up to serve the needs of this industry.
Third party certification works much the same way farms get certified as “organic” by the FDA. The grower pays the company to inspect the operation, test for various chemicals, and periodically does random test samples to ensure the purity of the product. Each company has a different set of qualifications and limits for certification, so there is no real “gold standard” for entirely pure 100% pesticide free cannabis.
THIRD PARTY CERTIFIERS KEEPING YOUR BUDS CLEAN
Here are a few of the most prominent companies offering certification to keep your cannabis healthy:
Clean Green, the largest cannabis certification company in the nation bases its standards largely on the USDA’s “Organic” label guidelines.
EnviroCann is based in California and emphasizes the transparency of farming practices in the cannabis industry.
Certified Kind is an Oregon-based company with a stronger emphasis on sustainability and ethical farming practices and has very high standards.
Organic Cannabis Association in Colorado provides a multi-level approach to certified cannabis with each level reflecting a different degree of purity of agricultural practices and pesticide use.
SPEAK WITH YOUR DOLLARS
As the Cannabis industry grows and evolves over the next few years, market forces will ultimately speak the loudest. The purchase decisions consumers make have a direct effect on the practices growers use. The easiest and most effective way to support clean cannabis is simply to buy it. Likewise, only purchase cannabis from dispensaries like Origins Cannabis who only source “clean” and organic cannabis.
Learn more about Origins Certified products and the steps we’re taking to create industry standards.