Dangerous pesticide levels in cannabis
It is a perennial problem with the use of illegal drugs that the consumer doesn’t know for sure what he or she is consuming. One study discovered that 13 out of 14 samples of cannabis had fungi in them, and that the majority of marijuana smokers examined had consumed mould. But a bigger problem comes from caring too much about the plant. A marijuana testing lab in Michigan found that some marijuana contained pesticides at 60 times the levels allowed for spinach.
Of course pesticides by their very nature are poisonous, and most pesticides used today are acutely toxic to humans. At least a quarter of a million people die every year because of accidental exposure to pesticides. The amounts of pesticides found in most cannabis samples are so small that they’re unlikely to cause any harm, so don’t panic. But more research needs to be done into the extent that pesticides impact the health of regular cannabis smokers in the long-run.
Growing cannabis is a large risk, which is why growers often apply pesticides with a heavy hand when faced with the possibility of their crop being ruined. "There's a lack of guidance on how to properly use pesticides," says one former grower who now works as a pest control specialist. "There's just a lot of guessing going on and a lot of misuse."
Currently in the United States there is no regulation of pesticides in regard to medical marijuana. And of course, if there is any group of people who need to avoid consuming pesticides, it is those who are already unwell. One medical marijuana activist, Sister Jane Weirick Carlson from Hayward California, died from repeated exposure to the miticide "Avid", which has since been made illegal in the US.
Cannabis consumers should also be concerned about herbicides. The US government has in the past used a chemical called Paraquat in its efforts to eradicate cannabis farms. Excessively yellow marijuana may be tainted with Paraquat, which can cause serious lung damage.
Various studies have shown that consuming cannabis via a bong or a vaporiser almost eliminates the chance of inhaling toxins. Of course a better remedy to the problem would be effective government regulation. It is in the power of governments across the world to make cannabis safer to consume, and hopefully one day they’ll wake up to this.