Throughout the last 10,000 years or so, farmers have been forced to engage in a battle against pests. No matter what they grow, farmers are always faced with the challenges presented by insects and other invertebrates that feed on their crops. This includes apple farmers in Washington, citrus farmers in Florida and cannabis farmers in Colorado.
Farmers have a number of ways to battle these pests. Often, the goal is not to eliminate the pests entirely, but to simply reduce their population to a manageable level.
For example, some farmers rotate their crops each year, which helps to encourage the bugs to look for food elsewhere at the end of each season. Others install plants that repel pests around the borders of their crops. However, the most commonly used method for reducing pest populations is the use of pesticides.
Pesticides are toxic chemicals that kill bugs outright, or otherwise disrupt their biology. This causes many of these target organisms to fail to develop properly or be unable to successfully reproduce. Many of these chemicals are very nasty substances, which function as neurotoxins and inhibit the ability of nerves to transmit information. Obviously, you don’t want these chemicals on your apples, oranges or cannabis.
Usually, crops are washed after harvest to help remove most of the pesticide. This reduces the amount of pesticide present, and generally makes these crops safe to consume. Raw cannabis, for example, usually has very little pesticide residue on it when produced by a high-quality growing operation.
However, concentrates are different from raw cannabis. Concentrates are made by extracting a viscous oil or resin from raw cannabis flowers. This oil is rich in the active ingredients of cannabis – known as cannabinoids. This enables a user to consume a very small amount of oil, while still getting the benefits of the cannabinoids sought.
Pesticides More Prevalent In Concentrates
But this is also where trouble waltzes into paradise. Because concentrates are (obviously) concentrated forms of cannabinoids, some researchers are concerned that the pesticides used during the growing process are also being concentrated in these new cannabis-derived products. And most troublingly, it appears that pesticides often become much more concentrated than the THC or CBD (the cannabinoids most concentrates seek to harvest).
According to LA Weekly, nearly 80 percent of the concentrates analyzed contained pesticides. In fact, whereas raw flowers typically demonstrate pesticide levels of 5 to 15 percent, many concentrates that have been tested contained 50 to 75 percent pesticide levels.
The takeaway from all this is that you should always purchase cannabis and concentrates from reliable, professional sources. Opt for organically grown cannabis whenever possible, and be sure to select concentrates made from organic plants. Additionally, advocate for better testing and regulatory requirements, so that you can rest assured the cannabis concentrates you purchase are clean and free of pesticides.
This is intended solely for those with legal access to cannabis and cannabis-derived products. Always follow your local laws and regulations.