With all the excitement surrounding the legalization of cannabis and the creation of new cannabis products, it’s not surprising to learn that a lot of people are being taken for a ride by unscrupulous sellers who’re advertising contaminated cannabis products.
The worst part is that this not only hurts the disappointed customer but the cannabis industry as a whole. However, these are the growing pains of every emerging industry and the best thing you can do as a consumer is to empower yourself with the right knowledge so that you can spot fakes from a mile away.
This is what this article is all about. We’re going to help you learn how to spot contaminated cannabis and how to prevent contaminated cannabis.
What is Cannabis Contamination?
Each year, more countries are realizing the foolishness of prohibiting marijuana use, and are legalizing it for both medicinal and recreational purposes. This is all good and well but the challenge comes when the market starts to get flooded with contaminated marijuana.
Unfortunately, the testing and regulation that comes with legalization don’t seem to affect the prevalence of this contamination and it just seems to get worse instead. What makes the issue even worse is that a lot of it comes from home growers whose cultivation process isn’t regulated, and the contamination can happen at any stage of the plant’s production process.
In fact, contamination can even happen while the product is in storage, which often happens with cannabis that has been stockpiled for too long. While it’s easy for an experienced grower to spot the growth of mildew or mold, there are certain contaminants which you can only identify by doing chemical analysis.
Common Causes of Contamination
The main culprits behind fungal growth are usually mold and mildew, and they usually cause the plant to take on a whitish tint. That’s why it’s so important to keep the temperature at just the perfect level so that there isn’t too much humidity in the facility or room where the cannabis is being kept.
Tools like a hygrometer or a thermometer come in handy here. It’s also important to stay vigilant and keep constant watch over the plants so that any signs of contamination are spotted early on and dealt with accordingly.
Another common contaminant that cannabis cultivators have to deal with is that of microbial growth. This is especially prevalent in dispensaries, and the only way to protect plants from this threat is to conduct regular microbial testing.
- Residual Solvents
Most of the cannabis products sold on the market today are actually extracts of the plant itself, and solvent residue can happen if the person conducting the extraction process is not careful. Again, it’s important to exercise extreme caution during the extraction process to avoid any mishaps that might happen.
Just like any plant, cannabis cultivation tends to attract pesticides that enjoy munching on the leaves just as much as we humans do. Unfortunately, spraying the plant with pesticides provides an imperfect solution to this problem because it then affects the health of the end user.
Possible Signs of Contamination
Look out for the following signs of contamination to avoid the purchase or consumption of contaminated cannabis:
- A damp and spongy texture
- Discoloration in the form of whitish, grayish or “off-green” fuzz
- If it smells off or weak it’s probably contaminated
- If you experience chest pain after inhaling pollutants in cannabis, it’s contaminated
- If you experience a sudden allergic reaction to cannabis when there wasn’t one before, then you probably smoked a contaminated product