Pesticides present medical cannabis danger
Medical cannabis should be healthy – or so most people think – but the Sherriff’s Department is warning people to wash their weed after finding traces of deadly carbofuran pesticide on illegally grown marijuana plants near the San Joaquin River the Modesto Bee reports.
The pesticide can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting and can even cause people exposed to it to fall into a coma. The only problem with the safety instruction is that washing dried herbal cannabis is all but impossible, and washing an extract such as CBD oil or THC oil is absolutely impossible.
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Who is regulating pesticide use on cannabis?
Regulating what actually goes into cannabis during the growing process is becoming a matter for concern, especially with so many states legalizing the use of medical cannabis. Organic certification, a process in which farmers subject themselves to close scrutiny of their growing methods may seem to present a solution, but in the US, no cannabis plant can be certified organic according to the Clean Green Certified Program’s website. Alternative certification programs are springing up to overcome this hurdle, but oversight and standardization for certifications remain in question.
Medical cannabis states are doing what they can
In states where medical cannabis can legally be grown, authorities are doing what they can. There is an approved list of pesticides that may be used on cannabis, and occasional testing does take place – as evidenced by the recall of 25 different medical cannabis strains from a Denver dispensary this March.
Authorities said that the cannabis products tested positive for three unapproved pesticides and fungicides, and has advised the public to check their medical cannabis against the names and dates implicated in the recall. This was the seventh recall since February.
Ten cannabis concentrates implicated in Oregon tests
Oregon Live shopped for cannabis extracts and turned them in for testing to see how widespread the problem of pesticide contamination might be. Ten samples were screened, and eight of them proved to contain ‘red flag’ levels of carcinogenic pesticides – an ironic development when one bears in mind that many hope that cannabis will actually prove to be a cancer fighter.
According to the report, a certain amount of cheating is also going on. Products may be sold with lab tests results, but one lab said it had never tested or issued a report on products it had seen being marketed with its logo on the ‘lab report’. The specific pesticides that samples are tested for also provides a loophole – and Oregon live says that not all the labs employ competent staff or the best laboratory practices.
In addition, a ‘safe’ level of pesticides can become concentrated into the danger zone when extracts are made – so dispensaries can test the plant material, but if it is then processed, testing has taken place at an inappropriate time and may not reflect product safety.
A grim picture
Apart from worrying about solvent residues, medical cannabis consumers now also worry about pesticide residues, but until state (or nation) wide standards and controls are put in place, safety will remain a concern when it comes to US produced medical cannabis products.