Dirty Meds: How safe is the medicine from your collective?
the420times | Aug 10, 2012 | Comments 1
By Joe Klare
While many medical cannabis patients prefer to grow their own medicine, and therefore know exactly what they are ingesting, going to a dispensary or collective is much like buying a used car; It’s been handled by other people and you don’t know what they did to it.
If marijuana were legal, the better comparison would be to buying food, but there are zero federal standards when it comes to marijuana because they say it is illegal.
I know what some of you are saying: you can get a vehicle history report on a used car from Carfax, but how do you know what’s in your medical marijuana?
If there is a need in the free market, soon there will be a business to fill it. In this case we are talking about the California Testing Authority (CTA), who, according to their website, is “the only mobile certification and pre-screening laboratory in existence.”
We asked the folks at CTA about what they have found in medical marijuana they have screened, and what patients should look for in their medicine.
“From samples that we tested from collectives around the southern California area we found that more than fifty percent of the meds tested do not meet EPA standards for safe consumption,” CTA told us. “We were initially shocked in our findings! However, after much research and from talking and working with some collectives, we came to the conclusion that the main factor is that there is a lack of knowledge regarding safety practices and uses of pesticides within the industry.” In other words, many patients are ingesting high levels of pesticides as well.
It’s really up to patients to be assertive when it comes to finding out information on what they are consuming. “While most patients have a strong inclination to ask about THC levels in their medicine, they overlook to inquire whether or not their medication is actually safe to consume,” CTA said. “People should be on the lookout for pesticide contamination levels. Unfortunately, pesticide contamination cannot be accurately quantify by simply smelling or looking at the medicine in question which is why here at California Testing Authority (CTA) labs we use state-of-the-art technology to test for pesticide contamination. Most importantly, however, we use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards for determining the safety levels of medical marijuana.”
So what you think you are smoking may not be as non-toxic as you hope, which can have devastating consequences for your health. “It is widely accepted in the medical and scientific community that high consumption levels of harmful chemicals can cause a myriad of illnesses ranging from allergies, to intoxication, to cancer and potentially other degenerative diseases, therefore, patients need to demand that their medication be tested for pesticide contamination levels.”
Do not be afraid to ask questions about your medicine, and if the people at a dispensary or collective can’t answer your questions, go to another and ask them. It may be inconvenient and even not possible for some patients to do this; if so, ask your regular medical marijuana providers about testing and the feasibility of them doing something like that for all their patients. And, ask to see the recent results.