Recreational cannabis is legal in California but is it safe? As of today, the State Bureau of Cannabis says there are just 57 labs statewide to test millions of pounds of weed and they can’t test it all yet.
According to the cannabis industry association, just 5-percent of cannabis products for sale in the state are tested for safety. And some experts believe as much as half the pot being grown is contaminated with potentially dangerous chemicals or bacteria.
“Pesticides are one of the things, but there are a variety of pathogenic molds and fungus that can also grow on cannabis. it can be dangerous to human beings, especially people who have compromised immune systems,” said [Steve] DeAngelo.
Up until now, pot agriculture has been unregulated. That changed January first. The state now requires testing for 66 pesticides, harmful chemicals, and dangerous fungi.
The state has given growers and sellers until July first to sell the pot they already have -without testing – raising concerns about what is safe.
“A very significant percentage of what we test, would fail in a regulated market,” added [Tony] Daniel.
Anthony Torres is a Senior Researcher at Steep Hill, he showed us a nasty mold covered petri dish and explained, “What I have here is a plated sample from cannabis that is contaminated with a few different types of fungus.”
“So – this looks pretty bad – right? Pretty bad growing on a plate, can you imagine what it would look like growing in your lungs?” he added.
Unfortunately, we may know what such an infection would look like. Doctors at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento believe a cancer patient died from a rare fungal infection last February. Researchers were able to trace the illness back to the pot that was supposed to make the patient feel better.
Even the chemicals that would have prevented those dangerous fungi from growing could harm you. Fungicides and pesticides that may be safe to use on food, may not be when they are smoked.
Torres explained that one of them is particularly bad, “Upon combustion, myclobutanil forms cyanide gas – which can make it into your bloodstream and it’s very toxic,” he said.
Ken Miguel and Natasha Zouves. “Labs warn of dangerous, contaminated pot at dispensaries” www.abc7news.com. April 2018. Web. 8 May 2018.