The quality and safety of cannabis products are a major concern among cannabis consumers. The dangers of vaping cannabis laced with Vitamin E are making headlines. Concerns of product safety are the main reason it’s taken Oklahoma so long to get edibles on shelves, or why Maine considered pulling CBD edibles entirely.
Cannabis testing is important for anyone in the industry, even if it’s not required by the state. Consumers want to know what’s in their products. Health and safety departments want to protect people from illness.
Yet, as a recent recall in Lafayette, Colorado shows, testing laws may still not be strict enough.
The Lafayette Recall
A Colorado cannabis cultivator recalled some of their products in August 2019. The recall happened after state investigators discovered potentially unsafe levels of microbial contaminants. The recall notice didn’t specify the contaminants, but it’s possible there was mold or mildew in the product.
These types of microbes are relatively common. However, you can avoid them with proper storage, handling and drying techniques.
The amount of product recalled is what is more worrisome. Batches from late 2018 all the way through to July 2019 were deemed potentially unsafe. Some products hadn’t been tested for contaminants at all.
It’s part of a troubling trend in Colorado, one that’s seen levels of mold increasing in flower crops. The company involved said two independent audits had missed the potential contamination.
Who Oversees Cannabis Testing?
Many state licensing agreements require cannabis testing, but the details vary between states. For the most part, when a state requires testing, it’s left in the hands of cultivators and producers.
When cannabis is tested, it is typically screened for potency, pesticides, and contaminants. Here is an example cannabis test sample by Greenleaflab.
An interesting tidbit of information you can learn from this test is what the distribution of cannabinoids are like for a given strain. For example, in the sample pie chart below, you can see that this strain is made up of about 50% THC (17% of it coming from THCa) and practically 0% CBD and THCV.
Additionally, these tests allow you to see which terpenes are present and how they’re distributed as well. In the example below, you can see that 30% of this strain is comprised of Beta-Caryophyllene, a terpene linked with enhancing the effects of CBD. Although this strain doesn’t have a CBD profile of its own, it would pair very well with CBD products because of the “entourage effect”.
However, even when companies use third-party testing, there’s a chance contaminants are missed.
It’s a difficult issue to solve. More stringent testing could improve safety standards. It also imposes a burden on cannabis companies, especially smaller producers. State-controlled testing is another option, but it raises its own concerns.
What Can Consumers Do?
Recalls raise concerns for consumers. What can they do to make sure the cannabis they’re using is safe?
A few rules of thumb help people make better choices:
- Always ask how the company tests cannabis. Try third-party tested products; the results are more likely to be objective.
- Look for organic. Cultivators who use organic growing practices have products with lower levels of pesticides.
- Ask about production processes. Some processes used to make oils, for example, use harsh solvents that can linger in the final product.
- Price matters. Sometimes, the saying “you get what you pay for” is very true. Producers who use safer, solvent-free production processes often charge more.
Consumers should also be sure to check batch numbers and labels and pay attention to recalls. Proper storage on the consumer end goes a long way to maintaining product quality.
Tried, Tested and True
These products come from companies committed to producing the highest quality cannabis. People can rely on them for product safety.
Wander sources all of their materials from high-quality hemp producers. A blend of herbs, oils, and butters make this soothing salve a wonderful way to deliver a CBD spot treatment to skin.
USA Hemp Co provides high-quality, organic products. This Sour Tsunami/AC/DC hybrid delivers both uplifting energy and relaxation.
THC has many health benefits, some of which include its potent effects on mind and body.
Papa & Barkley delivers high-quality cannabis products. This liquid formula offers more CBD than THC. It’s easy to use and offers a great starting place for those new to THC.
KIVA has a reputation for producing high-quality chocolate. They’re also well known for sourcing very potent cannabis. This cannabis-infused milk chocolate makes a wonderful treat, but be careful of how much you eat!
High-Quality Cannabis Is Out There
Medical cannabis producers go to great lengths to make sure their patients receive the highest quality products. Talk to a doctor about medical marijuana programs today.