The reason why many people are using medical marijuana is because they are treating a physical or mental ailment. Maybe they have muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or they’re just trying to overcome the persistent nausea that comes with chemotherapy as they battle cancer. Regardless of the reason, these people are searching for ways to minimize their suffering and have turned to medical marijuana to improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, San Francisco Magazine reported that up to 80 percent of medical marijuana samples tested from California-based growers and dispensaries were contaminated with mold, fungus, bacteria, pesticides or harmful solvents.
Why Isn’t There Better Marijuana Mold Control?
How can so much medical marijuana be tainted with mold and other harmful toxins? Where is the FDA in all of this? Why aren’t there more government regulations in the states that have legalized cannabis?
Here’s the problem: In most states including California, medical marijuana is so new that legislation isn’t able to keep up with demand. For example, the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) doesn’t even have its “Licensees” page up. State licensing is currently divided between three state entities: the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, the CA Department of Public Health and the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. The BMCR estimates that regulations will be developed by January 1, 2018. You might also want to check out the state’s’ California Cannabis Portal to stay up-to-date with news and regulations.
What’s the FDA’s Role in Medical Marijuana Safety?
Currently, the FDA isn’t involved much with this topic. The FDA has “not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication. The agency has, however, approved two drugs containing a synthetic version of a substance that is present in the marijuana plant and one other drug containing a synthetic substance that acts similarly to compounds from marijuana but is not present in marijuana.”
For the FDA to approve a medication, the drug has to be tested by the pharmaceutical company making it, the results are submitted to the FDA, the FDA analyzes if the benefits are higher than the risks and if the benefits are deemed higher, the drug enters the market. With medical marijuana, there aren’t pharmaceutical companies distributing this drug so there is no process to follow. The cannabis is usually sold by various farmers to marijuana dispensaries and collectives. But here lies another problem since this medication is still in it’s infancy:
“The state permits patients or caregivers to organize as a collective or cooperative. Collectives are not defined by the law. Cooperatives are effectively a kind of nonprofit organization. Since marijuana transactions are subject to sales tax, the individual or group selling or growing must obtain a business license and remit sales tax through the use of a seller’s permit. Recreational marijuana permits are not currently available,” explains FindLaw.com.
In May 2017, rules were drafted that would eventually monitor everything from where and how cannabis can be grown to how it must be packaged, tracked and sold. The State of California also proposed regulations for testing facilities. “The regulations must be in place by Jan. 1, when Proposition 64 dictates that recreational cannabis can be sold in California. Currently, it’s legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess marijuana and use it in the privacy of their homes, but to buy the drug at a medical dispensary, you must still have a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor,” Marisa Lagos on KQED.
Marijuana Contaminants and the Health Risks They Pose
Many of those who are using medical marijuana already have compromised health issues. In one report published by UC Davis, they found that cancer patients who were using this remedy for chemotherapy related nausea developed rare bacterial infections in their lungs due to smoking tainted marijuana. Dr. Joseph Tuscano of the University of California, Davis Cancer Center commented, “The cannabis was contaminated with many bacteria and fungi, some of which was compatible with the infections that I saw in my patients… “the problem in my opinion is that there’s this misconception that these dispensaries produce products that have been tested to be safe for patients, and that’s not necessarily the case.”
Anresco Laboratories has been testing imported seafood for the FDA since 1982 and now they are turning their efforts to the marijuana industry. Here are some of their scary findings:
1/ About 70 percent of the cannabis that was meant for the California marketplace failed to meet pesticide screening standards in Oregon. One common contaminant is myclobutanil that has already sickened consumers in Canada where the federal health ministry regulates medical cannabis. This substance can cause reproductive toxicity and cancer.
2/ Marijuana mold spores can cause lung infections and cardiovascular issues. The study conducted by UC Davis reported that one patient died from these complications. About 15 percent of the cannabis flower Anresco tested at HempCon contained these potentially lethal mold spores. Unfortunately, many dispensaries perform tests only for potency and not for bacteria or mold.
How Can I Know My Cannabis is Safe?
Since there are minimal laws and regulations in place currently, one of the best ways to ensure that your medical marijuana is safe from contaminants is to grow your own. A ROOT hydroponic growing system that is mold, pest, and pesticide free empowers you to grow cannabis indoors with their energy-efficient, full spectrum, industrial grade LED grow lights. You can grow up to four times the amount of plants in the same square footage as compared to traditional gardening methods of growing cannabis indoors and your plants can grow up to 50% faster than outdoor grows.
If you are thinking about growing your own cannabis indoors, ROOT helps make it safe, simple and foolproof. You’ll get an instant green thumb and have your first medical marijuana harvest within 3 months time.