If you’re wondering how to buy cannabis products in 2022 – depending on which state you live in – it could be as easy as shopping online or swinging by your closest dispensary.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, high quality products are more widely available, as are undesirable manufacturers. Whatever way you choose to consume your cannabis, a top priority should be taking a look at the label to see if the product has been tested for safety.
A brand is proving that they value your safety when they market proof that their product has undergone third party safety testing.
Why? Contaminants can enter a product at any level of production, from the grower to manufacturing to transport.
Because the legality of cannabis products vary from state-to-state, so do regulations for products. More often than not, the level of safety testing a product has undergone is up to the discretion of the producer.
Some states are rigorous in their process of regulating what is available on the market – for example, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control. Others aren’t as interested in investing in safety testing.
A trustworthy product is one that has been exposed to a full suite of safety testing – screening for contaminants like heavy metals, harmful microbes and toxins as well as verifying the potency level.
Testing Proves the Potency
Potency testing proves that the product does what it claims to do.
This ensures two distinct qualities – the product’s potency and terpene profile.
Potency testing will confirm the measurement of cannabinoids in the product – the intensity of the high you can expect.
Terpenes determine what type of effect you will experience. For more info on terpenes, check out Leafly’s chart.
In both potency and terpene profiles, misinformation may not seem especially risky – but a person looking to try out the potential anti-epilepsy
For a cannabis beginner – or even a seasoned professional testing new waters – pinning down the right dosage and effect for you can be a chore. When you know that a product is delivering what it claims to, it’s that much easier to explore.
Cannabis Products Can Contain Heavy Metals
Check to see if the company or affiliated lab tests for heavy metals.
A recent study by Penn State researchers called attention to the risks of heavy metal contamination in cannabis. Cannabis plants are excellent at absorbing toxic metals from the soil – so much so that they are useful in site remediation.
Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium have been detected in plants and each are carcinogenic. Depending on the level of exposure over time, exposure to these metals can lead to a myriad of health issues including numerous cancers.
In response, members of the scientific community have developed tests that identify the presence of trace metals in cannabis products.
A 2021 study published in the Oxford University Press determined a viable method of testing for the presence of trace amounts of toxic metals – arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. That method could be used to test at every level of product extraction and production for safety purposes.
Testing for heavy metals isn’t a widely regulated matter, so a company that showcases this level of testing is a cut above.
Residual Pesticides in the Final Product
Cannabis products can harbor residual pesticides, much like conventional produce.
Pesticides have their use, mainly during the cultivation process for various reasons from regulating the growth to warding off potential contaminants. There are some that are barred from use in certain states, and others that haven’t been studied enough to deem harmful.
Cannabis can harbor residual pesticides through absorption, improper application and even cross-contamination from a nearby site.
While there isn’t enough research to define the long-term effects of exposure to harmful pesticides through cannabis use, scientific studies like this one suggest a connection between pesticide exposure in medical cannabis and certain neurological disorders, specifically variants of epilepsy.
In any case, you don’t want those pesticides hitching a ride all the way down the production line at high levels.
Natural Toxins, Bacteria and Foreign Matter
It’s important that a product is safe with a proven shelf life – meaning it’s free from exposure or the potential to develop harmful bacteria or mycotoxins.
The mishandling of product or improper cleanliness of a facility can expose cannabis plants or products to natural contaminants – mold and fungi – and foreign contaminants – such as bacteria, insects, fecal matter and dirt.
Plants that are improperly harvested or dried can become breeding grounds for bacteria, mold and other microorganisms and mycotoxins. Much like grains, nuts and fruit, hemp can naturally host fungi or molds when conditions are right. Molds can host certain mycotoxins that are harmful to ingest or inhale.
A person exposed to harmful bacteria, toxins or foreign contaminants, whether inhaling or ingesting, can develop respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, experience an allergic reaction or more.
Removal of Residual Solvents
If a company touts testing for residual solvents, they’re one of the good ones.
While many manufacturers are trending away from solvent extractions, according to Leafly, it’s still a standard process for certain concentrates – notably delta-8 THC.
Hydrocarbons like butane and propane along with ethanol or carbon dioxide are used to pull things like terpenes, CBD and THC from the raw plant. A producer should do their due diligence and eliminate as much of the solvent as they can during the manufacturing process, but residuals often remain at some level.
While common solvents butane and ethanol are understudied but generally safer, inhaling Xylenes and Hexane can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting. Worse still, Benzene is a known carcinogen that mainly targets bone marrow.
Untrustworthy or even illegally produced products stand to contain high amounts of residuals and often trend towards cheaper solvent, which typically pose a higher health risk.
When purchasing a product with solvents it is important to purchase from a legal, licensed and regulated company.
Finding Trustworthy Cannabis Products?
While the cannabis market isn’t brand new, it’s still in its infancy when it comes to regulation standards. Illicitly produced product is not held up to the same standard and does not undergo testing to ensure its safety.
Here comes the plug…
ATL Dispensary is dedicated to producing the highest quality of products with our brands – including Hashtag Delta8 and our flagship brand LifelineCBD – produced in the USA. In addition, we affiliate with some of the best cannabis farms and labs in the country.
If you’re looking for products you can trust, head on over to ATL Dispensary.