Investigative Report by The Oregonian Reveals Pesticide Residues in Cannabis Extracts

Extracts, or concentrates, are the result of various processes that involve using a solvent or some other means to remove desired chemical compounds – such as THC, CBD, and terpenes – from raw cannabis plant material. Old-fashioned hashish is a concentrate, but newer processes employ petroleum products – butane, most commonly – as well as super or sub-critical carbon dioxide to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in cannabis from the plant material itself. The outcome is referred to in the industry as wax, shatter, or crumble and is generally a substance of golden-brown color that varies in consistency from a resinous oil to something like, well, wax (see photo below). They can be extremely potent, with THC levels of about 70-90% (for context, the most potent cannabis flower tests at just over 30% THC, though anything over 20% is considered quite potent), and are increasingly popular in legal and illegal cannabis markets.

cannabis_dabs_wax_animalny

The resulting product is smoked via a process referred to as “dabbing,” which involves heating a metal bowl with a torch and applying a small scoop of the concentrate to the red-hot metal, then inhaling the resulting smoke. This CNBC report provides further context.

Unfortunately for those that enjoy dabbing, an investigative report by The Oregonian found recently that even concentrates that passed state-mandated testing standards contained pesticide residues. Reporters secret-shopped legal medical cannabis dispensaries in Oregon, purchasing 10 extracted products that were then sent to two independent labs for testing. Of the 10 samples, 8 tested positive for residues of 14 different pesticides, only one of which is approved for use in organic production. 6 of the pesticides discovered are classified as possible or probable carcinogens.

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Cannabis Candor Author Quoted in International Business Times

I was interviewed for this article, which appeared yesterday in the International Business Times.

I would like to clarify some language contained in the second paragraph. While the author used conditional phrases appropriately and did not misrepresent explicitly what I expressed, the paragraph implies that I had on occasion destroyed all plants in the largest flower room in the facility in which I used to work. I stated simply that the most responsible reaction to an irreparably infested crop would be to destroy it and start over. The situation he discussed is a hypothetical one; he had asked about the extent to which pests could have impacted the bottom line of my former facility and I gave him figures on the best-case production from the largest flower room.

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