While states with regulated cannabis programs impose certain product safety protocols on licensed operators, regulations & contaminant testing requirements vary widely. It's essential to recognize that regulations alone do not guarantee that cannabis products are free from contaminants or accurately labeled.

Testing programs play a vital role in the cannabis marketplace by ensuring adherence to safety standards & informing consumers about cannabinoid & terpene content. However, not all cannabis products purchased from regulated retailers undergo testing & significant disparities exist between states regarding the types of tests required, acceptable contaminant levels & procedures for handling failed tests. In fact. only a handful of states require businesses to provide consumers with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA).

Not all states have comprehensive recall programs, which means patients may not always be notified if contaminants are found in products. Effective recall programs require track & trace regulations.

Cannabis & hemp are known as hyper-accumulators because of their ability to absorb chemicals & heavy metals from the soil & accumulate them in the flowers, stems & leaves of the plant.

The cannabis plant grows best in warm, humid environments, the same conditions that many microbiological species & pests such as spider mites, aphids, & thrips thrive in. Agricultural products are also exposed to additional pests such as insects, rodents, & birds.  Attempting to treat pests may introduce another problem for consumers if farmers attempting to prevent the degradation of highly valuable crops improperly use pesticides.

All contaminants become even more concentrated during the extraction process when using various solvents to extract cannabinoids & terpenes. While these processes can be done safely, if done incorrectly, residuals of these solvents can remain in cannabis products.

Additives & adulterants may be used by producers to add weight, dilute, or add fragrance to their products. The 2019 vaping crisis exposed additives & adulterants, including vitamin E acetate, squalene, coconut oil & food flavorings. Limonene, a naturally occurring terpene in Cannabis, is often removed during extraction processes.

Manufacturers often add food-grade Limonene to finished products to enhance the “cannabis fragrance, which has not been evaluated for inhalation toxicity.

Due to the high moisture content in cannabis, improper storage can also promote mold, mildew, and fungal growth. (Light, heat, and oxygen can also affect & degrade cannabinoids & terpenes).

Metals from old oil vaporizers (vapes) devices may leach into the oil as they age.

If you experience any of these symptoms you should discontinue use of the cannabis and dispose of it properly: 

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Patients & consumers across the United States can now access cannabis products in numerous forms from a variety of markets. However, they may not be aware that these products have not all undergone comprehensive safety evaluations or testing for c...

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