The Complex World of Cannabis Lab Testing: Dangerous Pesticides and How They Go Undetected

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HEALTH byLindsay MaHarry

"The practice of using these toxic pesticides is too common, but it’s impossible to estimate the total percentage of bud affected, or how widespread the problem is."

For more on lab testing, revisit our article from last week: The Complex World of Cannabis Lab Testing: Ethics, Regulations, and Lack Thereof

California’s recreational Prop 64 goes into effect January 1, 2018 with a slew of regulations, monitoring not only the pesticide levels allowed in cannabis products, but the previously unregulated labs testing them. A solid testing system would entail manufacturers sending their extracts, edibles, or flower to an independent distributor, who would take them to an independent lab. The lab would then tell the distributor exactly what was in the product, from cannabinoid and terpene profiles, to microbiological impurities and harmful pesticides. The product would either pass or fail, and we’d all know what’s up. However, as lab testing isn’t yet mandatory— marijuana isn’t federally legal, and therefore isn’t regulated by the FDA — an immensely profitable industry operates unsupervised. Not everyone wants you to know what’s lurking in the products they’re selling you.

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