A new study indicates your marijuana could be contaminated with pesticides and all sorts of toxic compounds within them. Not only are these chemicals used in the growing process of cannabis, but they are transferred to you through inhaled smoke, causing many yet-unknown risks.
Five or ten years ago, openly discussing the quality of marijuana in mainstream media would have simply never happened. But things are changing. And as more people than ever are supporting marijuana legalization and owning up to the fact that they partake of the herb, those who use it can freely discuss things like pesticide contamination without worrying about looking like some fringe potheads.
The research comes from Jeffrey Raber, a chemist who runs the Werc Shop, a medical cannabis testing firm in Pasadena, Calif. Presented in a talk called “Medical Cannabis Quality Control in California: Keeping a Weed Free Garden,” Raber discussed the contaminants found in cannabis, among other things.
Warning marijuana consumers, medical and otherwise, Raber explained the unregulated industry is delivering sometimes-toxic products to clients eager to get their hands on another strain or simply a new bag.
“Because this is currently quasi legal if not illegal in some places, and people are motivated to be making a commercial amount of money in a small amount of space, with no regulations and no quality control, anything that can be brought out to the market will go out to the market,” Raber said according to AlterNet.
While using pesticides on medical pot in California is illegal, only a small percentage of marijuana actually falls under this umbrella. The black market is still the main source of cannabis across the US.
Raber says about 10 percent of the marijuana that comes through his lab (which is supposed to receive medical-grade marijuana) is contaminated with pesticides. In one random study, that rate was 35 percent. Because medical marijuana is regulated where most marijuana is not, it’s safe to say most Americans to partake are smoking pot sprayed with chemicals.
Smoking pesticides is quite obviously dangerous. Raber says it’s akin to injecting it straight into your veins. Pesticide exposure and consumption, even from fruits and vegetables, has been linked to such things as infertility, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
So what’s a smoker to do? It’s a little early in the game to suggest you grow your own—a common recommendation when the toxins are on your food. Though the laws are changing, unless you live in Colorado or Washington, growing your own marijuana could come with serious repercussions. We are also not in a place where we can seek out organic marijuana, as marijuana would never receive organic designation from the USDA when it is still illegal under federal law.
Though medical grade marijuana is more regulated and therefore less likely to be sprayed down with pesticides, not everyone has access to medical pot. Being informed of the dangers of pesticide-laced marijuana and detoxing if you come in contact with it are the best solutions for now. Hopefully as the laws and attitudes continue to evolve, the quality and safety of marijuana will evolve with them.