Unless you purchase your cannabis from a licensed dispensary, there is a chance it could be contaminated. It’s always best to play it safe no matter where you acquired your cannabis from or how you choose to indulge in it.
There are many popular contaminants found in cannabis which can be added during growing, handling, harvesting, packaging, storing and smoking. One such contaminant is chemical solvents. A lot of times, chemical solvents are used to extract therapeutic and psychoactive compounds from the cannabis flower. These highly concentrated waxy compounds can then be heated and inhaled or infused directly into food and drinks.
The issue with this is that some of these solvents, including propane and butane, can end up in the final product. The ingestion of these chemical solvents can be very harmful to your health and should be avoided at all costs.
Another contaminant is various metals. The Cannabis plant is a hyper-accumulator, which means that it absorbs more metals found in the soil it grows in than other plants. Although some metals occur naturally in soil, there are others such as lead, mercury, and cadmium still present from since-illegal pesticides. Ingested in high quantities, these can become very harmful.
Contaminated cannabis can also occur from microbials such as mold and bacteria picked up during the growing process. This can result from improper or unsanitary growing conditions or by simply growing cannabis outside. Most of these microbials are relatively harmless, however, some pose a direct threat to us when inhaled or ingested in high enough quantities.
Although there are many ways contaminated marijuana can occur, there are equally many ways to test it and make sure it is safe for consumption. The most tried and true way is to purchase from a licensed dispensary and check for a contamination label. Most products will provide information on the contamination testing the product went through before it was packaged and put on the shelf. There are plenty of options available with strict quality control standards.
If you do not have the option to purchase your cannabis from a dispensary, there are other ways to make sure it is safe. First, visually inspect your cannabis product and inspect it for mold, which usually looks like a white, crystal-like substance. Since mold travels in spores, it is not safe to remove the contaminated area and consume the cannabis as there may be more contamination not visible to the naked eye. You can also conduct a smell-check beforehand and look for a sharp, chemical smell.
Plenty of companies manufacture testing kits for weed. By testing a small sample, these kits will provide you with a chemical profile of your product and notify you whether it is safe to ingest or not.