Is your weed dirty? When we shop for groceries, we’re conscientious about terms like ‘organic’, ‘clean’, and ‘pesticide-free’. We want our dairy free of hormones. Antibiotic-free meat. We even look for shampoo free of sulfates. So why, when it comes to weed that we consume on the regular, do we accept knowing so little?
Pesticides in Pot Are More Common Than You think
“We’re not designed to live in a toxic environment, and all this pollution has compromised our immune system,” said Frank Brown. He’s the owner of The Emerald Room in West Hollywood and sells high-end marijuana products. He also specializes in treating patients with cancer, post-traumatic stress syndrome, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and epilepsy.
“Many of the huge industries we have today are killing our planet with their poisonous effect,” he continued. “As a result, many of our patients are suffering from chronic pain, nausea, sleep disorders, seizures, and other serious health problems.”
A pretty package, a cute strain name, and a tasty-looking product can go a long way towards building consumer trust. But in a recent study, a Berkeley laboratory found that a substantial amount of weed contained pesticides. Steep Hill Labs did another study and found that some medical marijuana, meant for ill patients whose immune systems may be compromised, contained pesticides like Eagle 20, which can affect organs sensitive to low oxygen levels.
Is There Hope For The Future?
These studies paint a scary picture, but it’s not all bad news. Just as consumer education around food labeling and regulation changed drastically in past years, there are great strides towards a future of cleaner, safer weed for medical and recreational users. In 2018, state regulations will require lab screening of all cannabis products before they go to market California. Already, the three legal operating dispensaries in Berkeley exercise stringent regulatory standards to prevent pesticides, solvents, mold, and mildew from getting into products consumed by patients. And individual brands are stepping up to the forefront of clean weed.
“Consumers can protect themselves by insisting on seeing both pesticide and microbial test results on all flower they purchase,” said Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin. “Reputable providers test all their product and provide those results to their retail partners each and every batch.”
Todd Denkin, Founder/President and COO of cannabis testing facility Digipath Labs, has hopes for more widespread regulation in the future. “We are hoping for standardization across the board. Not only should we have the same testing from lab to lab, but all states should have the same rules and regulations as well. We are also big fans of genotyping your cultivar so you can show that your Blue Dream is really a Blue Dream.”
We can also take comfort in cannabis industry leaders like Frank Brown, who said compassionately, “it is our ethical responsibility to provide [consumers] with cannabis that is 100 percent clean. To produce a healthy, sustainable growth, everything starts with a pesticide-free soil, without synthetic fertilizer, and free from harmful residue. The healing abilities of any extract will depend upon the medical qualities of the starting bud material which was used in its production. It’s unquestionably a science.”
Final Thoughts: Is Your Pot Dirty?
And if you live somewhere where cannabis testing is becoming the norm, you can ask the right questions to make sure that you’re buying clean product.
“Always ask to see the Certificate of Analysis,” said Denkin. “This is the report given to the grower from the lab. Make sure it has passed all the safety tests and always look at the cannabinoid and terpenoid profiling. This is the “chemo-profile” that shows you what’s in your cannabis.”
Of course, the path to clean weed is bound to be bumpy. G3 Labs in Las Vegas was the first Nevada cannabis company to have its license suspended late this September. Although the Nevada Department of Taxation told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that no recalls will be necessary. With labs testing for everything from pesticides to potency, cannabis consumers will be empowered to raise their product standards. So is your weed dirty? Soon, you’ll be able to know.