For thousands of years, cannabis has been used as a healing plant.
Today, the value and demand of marijuana have increased exponentially, and losing a crop due to pests or mold, can make companies and growers miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To prevent this terrifying scenario (and to make more money), cannabis growers have “solved” the issue by using large quantities of pesticides.
In this blog post, we want to talk about something that isn't on top of everyone's mind while rolling a J - the dangers of smoking cannabis laced with pesticides.
No Government Regulations = High Exposure To Pesticides
Since the US federal government still considers weed an illegal drug, the EPA has not yet indicated what type of pesticides (and what amounts) are suitable for human consumption.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Toxicology found that cannabis users are highly exposed to pesticides and chemical residues. Being easily transferred through smoke, cannabis users inhale up to 70% of toxic residues - which represents “a significant toxicological threat”.
As Chuck Benbrook - a professor at the University of Newcastle and pesticide consultant - points out, inhaling is the quickest and most sensitive way to access the human body.
While pesticides in food have to make their way through the GI tract and into the lower intestines before a small percentage of the toxic residues make it to the bloodstream, inhaled pesticides that are “drawn into the lungs are going to move directly into the blood”.
Over the long-run, consuming cannabis laced with pesticides can result in an array of health issues.
This is when a healing plant suddenly becomes a dangerous substance that only benefits the pockets of large companies who do not have your best interest in mind.
Is Smoking Weed With Pesticides Bad?
The short answer is yes. No amount of pesticides is good for the body. If you are consuming medical cannabis for health-related reasons, we recommend you choose pesticide-free cannabis since the long-term health effects of pesticides in cannabis may include:
- Respiratory issues
- Muscle pain
- Neurological disorders
- Reproductive issues
- Disruption of the endocrine system
As a consequence, if you’re using recreational or medical cannabis for stress or chronic pain, you might be doing yourself a disservice depending on where you sourced your weed from.
Using marijuana laced with pesticides may leave you wondering whether medical cannabis can cause anxiety, or whether it can cause headaches. If you are experiencing these symptoms, be aware that these are the first signs that your body is suffering from neurological and/or nervous system disorders.
Here is the harsh truth: weed smokers are highly exposed to pesticides and, burning dried marijuana “can cause pyrolysis (decomposition) of the pesticides”, which in turn, can create “toxic mixtures and other toxic pesticide contaminants”.
What makes the matter even worse is that unlike tobacco, cannabis consumption does not typically involve the use of filters and, as a consequence, medical marijuana users “expose themselves to much higher levels of pesticides and degradates”.
This is bad news for medical patients who use cannabis to alleviate pain since they are more exposed to the harmful effects of pesticides on the body. For example, here are some findings:
- immunocompromised patients that present diseases of the liver, may experience more severe “toxicological effects of pesticide exposure”.
- the study Into the Weeds: Regulating Pesticides in Cannabis, has concluded that some of the pesticides and herbicides used to protect crops “are associated with cancer and other serious health effects”.
How Many Pesticides Do You Inhale When You Smoke Cannabis?
In 2013, a team of researchers conducted a very detailed analysis of pesticides in cannabis (Determination of Pesticide Residues in Cannabis Smoke).
Part of the research demonstrated the amount of pesticides that are transferred to our body through 3 smoking methods. Here are the results:
- Hand-held glass pipe - 60.3% - 69.5% of toxic residues were inhaled
- Unfiltered water pipe - 42.2% - 59.9%
- Filtered water pipe - 0.08% - 10.9%
Depending on whether you source your weed from a dispensary or your local dealer, here are some of the contaminants that you could find in your cannabis:
- Hairspray - used to preserve old and dry cannabis. Spraying cannabis with hairspray will make the buds appear shinier, healthier, stickier, and stronger.
- Talcum powder- used to make cannabis buds look fuller and brighter in color. Talc dust on weed can cause respiratory illnesses (including pulmonary talcosis).
- Fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides.
- Pyrethrins - a type of insecticide that can lead to neurotoxicity and asthma.
- Lead - this is an extremely poisonous heavy metal. Lead can cause damage to the nervous system and can also damage the reproductive system, the kidneys, brain, liver, and bones.
- Mold - when inhaled, mold spores can be a threat to people suffering from asthma, allergies, and can cause issues such as breathing problems, irritation of the mucous membrane, and headaches.
Although Health Canada has taken some proactive measures to prevent the use of illegal pesticides in cannabis crops, pesticides are still used to prevent a crop from failing. So, although the problem of toxicity is reduced, it still remains.
Is Medical Cannabis Safe?
Medical cannabis is safe only in its organic state and when it’s not coated in pesticides. Even if you buy legal medical cannabis grown by federal agricultural authorities, your weed can still be laced with toxic pesticides, “mold, and commercial-grade synthetic fertilizers and insecticides such as phosphate and Diazinon”.
If you are getting medical cannabis treatment, you should be particularly careful about what type of cannabis you are using since it can interfere with your health and treatments.
You should be asking yourself: is it organic? What type of pesticides are used in this weed? How many pesticides were used?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you cannot trust your weed and it might be time to switch to a better solution: growing cannabis yourself.
You’d be surprised at how cheap it is and at how much weed you can get in a single grow!
Where Can I Get Organic, Pesticide-Free Cannabis?
Organic, pesticide-free cannabis
is hard to find. It isn’t sold at dispensaries and almost certainly, your local dealer does not provide it. (Also, if you did happen to ind it, it would be expensive AF).
We have a healthy solution for you. And you don't have to be an expert.
At Canopy Mate, we offer the tools to grow organic, pesticide-free weed.
We believe in growing organic marijuana without the use of dangerous chemicals and without the daily responsibilities of tending a garden.
Our team has developed an affordable weed grow box with an App that can help you monitor the growth of your plant in an effortless way.
We believe weed should have positive effects both on your mind and your body - that’s the way it was always intended to be.
For $596 (or $749CAD), Canopy Mate has created the best weed grow box for beginners who want to grow recreational or medical cannabis without adding hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
Grow up to 4oz of weed in your first grow with our affordable and sustainable tools.