It seems as if our nation’s population is becoming more aware in respect to what they put in their bodies, which would explain the uptick in food, healthcare and beauty products that are labeled as having “organic” ingredients.
Even the majority of cannabis dispensaries are jumping on the organic bandwagon by claiming to sell “organically grown” goods.
But what do the terms “organic” and “organically grown” truly denote?
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural products with such a label have indeed been produced through approved methods.
Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a clarified set of standards, that were put in place by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in order to produce organic food and fiber.
The USDA organic standards outline how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use to do so.
Furthermore, said specific requirements must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled as being USDA organic.
The government’s organic standards cover products from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.
Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.
In a nutshell, organic operations are compelled to demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and only using substances that have been accepted as satisfactory by the USDA.
Though the term has been subjected to a considerable amount of debate in respect to methods for cultivating the plant, the same definition of “organic” or “organically grown” still applies to recreational or medical cannabis. However, since the federal government doesn’t recognize cannabis as a legal agricultural product, the industry lacks federal guidelines for the labeling of retail cannabis and cannabis-derived products.
With that being said, it’s truly up to state governments where the substance has been legalized for recreational and medical consumption, and those that produce cannabis intended for retail distribution to ensure organic standards are being met.
Conventional methods for growing cannabis include using chemical (synthetic) fertilizers in order to help promote speedier plant growth, the use of potentially harmful spray-type insecticides and pesticides to manage disease and garden pests, and using herbicides to control weeds.
Whereas organic cannabis cultivators will utilize natural fertilizers to help promote healthy plant growth, such as compost material or animal manure. Growing cannabis organically also involves using beneficial insects or certified organic pesticides for pest management, and using natural products – such as mulch or straw – to keep unwanted weeds at bay.
The End Result
It may not be immediately apparent when you’re indulging in your favorite strains, but the way cannabis is cultivated truly impacts the end product.
Conventional cannabis cultivators typically use synthetic fertilizers that are laden with chemicals and heavy metals that are capable of having a negative influence on our health, especially when considering those individuals that consume cannabis orally.
On the other hand, cannabis that was grown using organic methods is said to not only have a more robust flavor profile, but it is also reportedly better for your health due to the lack of toxins that are commonly found in conventionally-grown cannabis. Organically-grown cannabis is also said to be more potent than cannabis grown using conventional synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
When considering the improved taste and nutrient level of organic foods, it would only stand to reason that organically-grown cannabis would not only be healthier for you, but have more potency and taste better.
The Wrap Up
We can only hope that as the legalization of cannabis continues to spread across the nation (and you know it will), that with it will come guidelines for the industry in regards to the method in which cannabis is cultivated.
Until that day arrives, it will be up to individual states to govern said matters, and will also rely on the ethics of the cultivators producing the supply of cannabis.
The best way to know if the cannabis you’re consuming was indeed grown using organic methods is to build a relationship with your retailer or supplier and question as to which process was utilized.
Yes, they can always tell you it was grown organically without even knowing one way or another. But reputable retailers and/or suppliers that stand behind their products will be more than willing to share the details about how their cannabis was produced.
Otherwise, it truly is “Buyer beware”.
Consume safely, tokers.