Controlling Cannabis Contamination: Everything You Need To Know About

Published by

Nov 12, 2021

There is an increasing concern over cannabis contamination, especially in scorching and humid areas globally. Contamination can also occur in different regions due to certain factors such as chemicals and non-chemical causes. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, cannabis plants can still become contaminated due to various issues.  

Cannabis contamination can be prevented by tracing and eliminating the source of contamination. It is upon consumers to buy cannabis from regulated distributors and retailers to avoid the consequences of contaminated cannabis products. 

Background 

What is cannabis contamination 

Contamination refers to the intentional or unintentional addition of harmful substances to the cannabis plant. The contamination may occur due to the farmers' desire to add substances to the plant to obtain the market-desired quality and growth.  

Sources of cannabis contamination 

The cannabis contamination is long-term and can be present even if you use tangerine or buy black Tuna Cannabis. Cannabis contamination can reveal itself in either of these stages: cultivation, storage, or retail. 

Sources at cultivation 

Pesticides 

Farmers can add various products such as pesticides at the cultivation level to prevent attacks from pests and diseases. Some of the pesticides used can have chemical solvents that can contaminate the plant besides facilitating its growth. CBD contamination is also common these days as it's an unregulated market. The plant can be contaminated unintentionally since the farmer did not intend to harm the plant. The contamination by pesticides can spread throughout the area since the blowing air can carry around the harmful elements.  

Fertilizers 

Growing cannabis also requires the addition of various chemicals to the soil to enhance plant growth. The substances added to boost plant growth include minerals such as potassium, nitrogen, and other fertilizers. The effects of such chemicals can also be long-lasting when the plants fully absorb the entire contents in the soil. 

Contamination at the storage levels. 

Molds 

Most contaminations occur at this level. The leading cause of contamination is the molds and fungi that may grow on the plants. The most common mold types that affect cannabis plants at storage include Aspergillus Flava, Streptococcus, or Penicillium. Most farmers use water to flush away the fungus and the molds; however, this method is not quite effective as other control methods.  

Storage conditions  

One of the conditions needed for storage is dry and constantly blowing air. Poor ventilation will facilitate the growth of mold due to high humidity. The plants should also not be stored on bare floors. This is because moisture can quickly sieve from the bottom to attack the plants. Dark rooms or those with poor lighting can also facilitate mold growth and fungus.  

Professional 

Contamination in retail 

This refers to the contamination when retailers add some content to the cannabis to obtain certain quality or preserve the cannabis. It can also occur when retailers manufacture certain bi-products of cannabis.  Recent reports indicate that some retailers even add glass beads to increase plant weight and mimic a greater potency appearance. The lead in the glass beads is harmful to human health.  

Contamination Prevention  

Biological and sustainable growing standards 

Preventing contamination during the cultivation stage requires farmers to use other methods of pest control. This may include the use of biological pest control, such as deploying ladybirds in the farms. It can also involve the use of other manufactured sustainable products to deal with the pests. Chemical spraying should be the last option if the problems and potential diseases are widespread with plants within a wide area.  

Inspection 

It is upon the consumers to inspect the products they buy from retailers to avoid contamination. Buyers should also ensure the distributors are licensed by various regulatory bodies such as FDA. If not, the retailers must source from other known retailers with assurance and quality licenses.  

Proper storage conditions 

While storing the plants, farmers should ensure the room meets the following conditions: The room should be well lit with sufficient air blowing in and out. There must be proper ventilation to allow the moisture to escape. When drying, the plants should be well spread out to ensure each surface can feel the effects of the blowing air.  

Risks of cannabis contamination 

The risks of cannabis contamination can arise in various ways. The risks can arise from the consumption of cannabis, laboratory tests, and cannabis as an ingredient in multiple products. 

Cannabis 

Chemical reactions 

This is a common problem in cannabis laboratories. It occurs during different lab tests and experiments involving cannabis. Some of the dissolved chemicals can react with other chemicals used during the experiments to generate harmful substances. Experiments such as burning cannabis can lead to the plant vaporizing into the air. This contaminates the air that laboratory experts breathe.  

During oral ingestion or smoking 

People can let the chemicals into the body when smoking and when eating cannabis products such as edibles. Edibles have a lower bioavailability than smoking; however, the substances can contact the digestive system leading to cancers or other diseases. Smoking can also lead to the chemicals being inhaled into the body, especially into the lungs. This may result in effects such as lung cancers and tumors caused by chemicals such as lead. 

Other products that use cannabis as an ingredient 

Cannabis products are used to manufacture various products such as medicine and skincare products. Contaminated cannabis used to manufacture skincare products can lead to contamination if enough tests are not conducted before releasing the products into the market.  

Cosmetics 

Bottomline 

Cannabis contamination can lead to severe effects on the users. Farmers need to exercise various cautions to keep the users safe. Consumers should also ensure they buy legit and tested cannabis products and bi-products from approved distributors to avoid contamination.  

Links: