Pesticide Update: What Are You Smoking?

Not Pesticide Free


Consumers in Washington with a concern for their health are starting to take greater notice of what types of chemicals they are consuming in their cannabis products.  Given our focus on holistic and clean cannabis products, our customers routinely ask us for more information on this subject.  In order to keep the public better educated and to create more smart, informed cannabis enthusiasts we decided it would be responsible to share the below excerpts from Dr. Ethan Russo in the academic journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.  Unfortunately, and likely detrimental to their well-being, most consumers are completely unaware of these facts.


1.  No testing for overall pesticide contamination is mandated in Washington.  Exceedingly few producer/processors do testing beyond simple legally-required screening for unapproved pesticides.  The vast majority of allowed pesticide chemicals are known to have documented associated toxicities as carcinogens, neurotoxins, cholinesterase inhibitors, developmental and reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors.


2.  There are no Environmental Protection Agency guidelines on acceptable pesticide levels for combusted or vaporized product.  That's right - zero public health research or best practices.  No one knows exactly what damage these super-heated toxic chemicals are doing to human bodies.


3.  An alarming recent study has demonstrated up to 70% of pesticides applied to herbal cannabis is passed through and captured in its smoke, vapor, or extracted form.


4.  Out of 26 samples collected as part of a recent professional academic study of pesticide contamination on cannabis products bought in legal stores in Washington State, the number that tested positive was 84.6%.  Many harbored multiple contaminants attaining levels in the tens of thousands of parts per billion often exceeding the upper limit of quantification.  These included 24 distinct pesticide agents of every class: insecticides, miticides, fungicides, an insecticidal synergist and growth regulators, including organophosphates, organochlorides, carbamates, etc.  These are particularly pronounced in concentrated extracts, as would be expected.


5.  The unregulated commerce in cannabis with respect to pesticide usage has resulted in widespread abuse of the legal cannabis market system.  Cannabis concentrates currently account for 50% of legal sales in Washington State, and are also the basis for a burgeoning commerce in cannabis edibles.  These products present a clear and present danger, particularly to patients with neurological conditions.