As the cannabis industry rapidly grows, it is more important than ever to understand where your plants are coming from and how they are grown. Hemp is not the easiest plant to grow, nor the cheapest. It takes a lot of time, care, and manpower for manufacturers to grow plants without pesticides, GMO’s, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, mold, and other contaminants. This is the biggest reason why “quality” hemp is expensive. Just the same as organic fruits and vegetables, quality hemp products that are safe and good for us comes at a price.
But safety is really the key concern when deciding who will provide your cannabis products – and the decision process should not be taken lightly. California is currently experiencing a contamination problem with their cannabis. A recent survey revealed that less than half of the dispensaries in California test the cannabis they provide to the public, and those that were tested were found to have mold, bacteria, and even banned pesticides. Some randomly tested samples were even found to have contained fungi and bacteria, including various pneumonia strains, E.coli, and Aspergillus. Testing is currently not required under California state law until January 2018 – unlike Colorado, Oregon, and Washington who are required by state law to test cannabis that is sold to the public.
What happens to contaminated cannabis that can no longer be sold at the dispensary? Suppliers are often found processing it into other forms such as edibles, concentrates, vape-pen cartridges, or dabs and selling it via other sales channels. Contaminated cannabis can truly become a lethal product for those who suffer from lowered immune systems – such as 2 leukemia patients suspected of contracting severe lung infections after using marijuana. The first patient died when he was medicinally treated with untested medicinal marijuana that was vaporized. The other patient used his marijuana recreationally but thankfully recovered. Doctors do not have concrete evidence that it was the cannabis that carried the bacteria, but they believe they have a very strong connection.
What is most concerning is that customers assume that their cannabis is safe when purchased from a dispensary – especially if it is physician-recommended.
With this in mind, one must think about the dangers California residents face when
buying their cannabis from dispensaries versus those who blindly purchase low THC cannabis online. There are hundreds of online retailers, re-labeled products, and small manufacturers of low THC cannabinoids available. However, there are very few who you can reliably trace to find where their crop was cultivated and grown, how it was processed, and if it was tested properly. For example, China is a major provider of cheap hemp – where cultivation and growth is unregulated. Those who provide labs may not provide reliable information. And a key indicator that the hemp product may not be as safe or as effective as advertised is in its price. This is why it is so important to stick with the industry leading manufacturers, where more accurate information is potentially available to the consumer in tracking safety and quality.
Next time you shop for your hemp product, ask yourself….”Why is this hemp product so cheap?”!