The protection of the public who consume cannabis is paramount. The states that allow the cultivation and sale of cannabis are requiring that the substance be tested before it is sold in the local dispensaries for retail sale. Public safety is a primary concern for the protection of the public and it is not just the amount of THC, it’s the possible contaminants.
Cannabis is a plant that is grown either in outside greenhouses or inside in an airtight building. Growing methods vary with soil, hydroponics and Rock Wool being the most popular methods of growing the cannabis plant. Every farmer has his preference, yet none can assure that there are no contaminants that can possibly threaten the health of the person consuming the cannabis.
State agencies are requiring cannabis be tested for levels for moisture content, contaminants, residual solvents, microbiological impurities, and foreign material. Consumable medical cannabis goods are at risk of contamination similar to other consumable products. Contamination may occur during various stages of the cultivation, harvest, extraction, processing, and packaging processes
Some of the types of contaminations that can make cannabis unsafe may involve: pesticides, residual solvents and processing chemicals, microbiological impurities, heavy metals, and foreign material. Regulations aim to set forth action levels that State agencies consider are both protective of public health and achievable by industry.
Below are some of the major threats in cannabis production:
Chemicals: During the cultivation and manufacturing process, injurious chemicals can contaminate medical cannabis goods. For instance, solvents are used to extract, in concentrated amounts, cannabinoids from dried flower. Some of the chemicals used as solvents may linger after the processing is finished.
Microbiological impurities: Some Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains can cause human disease. One strain produces a toxin called Shiga toxin, which can result in serious illness. Because of the low infectious dose required for disease causation, there should be zero tolerance for the presence of Shiga toxin–producing E. coli in medical cannabis goods.
Salmonella in cannabis has been documented and, in 1981, resulted in a multistate outbreak. It has also been associated with gastrointestinal disease in both healthy and in immunocompromised populations.
Aspergillus is a fungus that can cause serious health problems. Certain Aspergillus strains can cause a variety of immune- reaction lung disorders, ranging from asthma, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis to invasive systemic fungal infections.
Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by certain fungi that can grow on human food and animal feed grain. Human exposure to mycotoxins, through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact, has been associated with severe human health impacts that include necrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinomas.
Foreign material in cannabis products may be injurious to health if they consist in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substances or is otherwise contaminated by any added poisonous or added deleterious substance. This may occur if the medical cannabis goods have been stored, prepared, or packed under unsanitary conditions.
Heavy metals in cannabis plants are known to uptake metals from contaminated growth media (for example, soil), which increases the risk of adverse health effects associated with the consumption of medical cannabis goods. Exposure may cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, immune, cardiovascular, and renal health effects. And mercury shows toxicological effects such as neurological, corrosive, hematopoietic, and renal effects as well as cutaneous disease (acrodynia).
The testing of cannabis products is in place or will be required soon in all states to ensure the safety of the consumer. It is a first step in protecting the public against diseases caused by tainted cannabis that could be life threatening.
This is the first step in the acceptance of cannabis as being a safe and therapeutic drug, of which many people are still concerned about the use of.