Cannabis Contaminants 101

When people grow cannabis, whether it's just one person in their home or a big company, there are unwanted things that can get onto the plants. These can be chemicals, little living organisms like molds or heavy metals, and leftovers from pesticides. Imagine making a cake and finding out there's unwanted stuff in your ingredients; it's a bit like that.

If cannabis products are sticky or oily, they can sometimes have too much leftover stuff in them, which isn't good. There are many reasons why these bad things get onto cannabis. It could be because the plant wasn't grown right, stored wrong, or because people used bad water or harmful chemicals.

There are also little bugs, like spider mites, that can live on cannabis plants. They suck the juice out of the plants, which can ruin the final product. But these bugs don’t actually make the plant "dirty" in the same way the unwanted chemicals or molds do.

The idea is to avoid all these problems by taking care of the cannabis plants properly from the start.

Small vs. Big Growers
Someone growing a few plants at home can easily keep an eye on things. They can notice and fix problems early on.

On the other hand, big companies with lots of plants might not catch problems right away. This is a bit like trying to look after a whole forest instead of just one tree. And just like we sometimes hear about bad lettuce in the store because of bacteria, sometimes big cannabis companies have issues, too. For instance, there was a time in Denver when a company had to take back their cannabis because of mold.

Watch Out for Mold and Mildew!

One of the main issues with cannabis is mold and mildew. Mold on cannabis looks like tiny spiderwebs, while another problem, powdery mildew, makes the plant look like it's been sprinkled with flour. If things are too wet or the temperature keeps changing a lot, these problems can pop up.

Then there’s mildew, which you can't see. It makes the cannabis smell bad, just like when you leave a wet towel out for too long. It usually happens if the cannabis isn’t dried properly.

Other Invisible Issues: Metals, Pesticides, and Leftover Stuff

Sometimes, cannabis can have heavy metals, pesticides, or other chemicals that you can't see. And cannabis is what's called a bioaccumulator meaning it cleans up the soil by taking it up into the plant. Some may be okay, but others are really bad. This is the reason for always feeding CBD to horses that has been grown organically.

Also, when people make concentrated cannabis products, they sometimes use stuff like alcohol or other chemicals to get out the parts they want. Some of those chemicals are left behind in the product, all the more reason to use organic sources for CBD products for horses.

Also, when growing cannabis, it's crucial to use clean water. Imagine watering plants with dirty water; it's not good. That’s why it's essential to test the water first.
Getting Cannabis Tested

Just like when we get a check-up at the doctor, cannabis can be tested to make sure it's healthy. There are special labs that do this. They check for how strong the cannabis is and if there's any bad stuff in it. These are called Certificates of Analysis (COA). (look for other blogs about how to read these and what they mean).

The Bottom Line

If you're a cannabis company or even someone growing at home, it's super important to know about these issues and make sure the plants are clean and safe. If you are a consumer, it's important to know your companies that you buy from are paying attention at all phases of growing. Think of it as keeping a kitchen clean when cooking – it ensures that the end product is safe and delicious!

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