When Mom Shops for Weed: Pesticides, Fungi, Mold: What Are You Smoking?

What Are You Smoking?

Often said in jest, the question bears serious consideration in light of recent headlines regarding America’s biggest cash crop:

Marijuana Can be Covered in Pesticides, Fungi, and Mold — Even if it’s Legal

Business Insider

93% of SoCal Cannabis Fails Lab Test for Pesticides

-NBC News

If cannabis is treated with pesticides, is it curing cancer—or causing it?

From 1850 to 1936, cannabis was used as the primary medicine for more than 100 separate illnesses. For a plant that has been traced back to 3000 B.C. in Siberia, used medicinally in China for thousands of years, and deeply rooted in American history, consumers are left wondering whether their benign green friend is so benign.

According to Bloomberg Markets, the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. is projected to grow to $50 billion in the next decade, more than eight times its current size and blowing rings around the current contenders: corn and wheat. Commercial marijuana is often mass-produced at factory farms, and marijuana sold in retail stores is sometimes grown with low-cost synthetic fertilizers and over 250 approved pesticides.

Where there’s potential wealth, greed follows

This new era of potentially contaminated pot bodes ill for people with impaired immune systems, a health risk that is greatly multiplied in cannabis concentrates. With the recent multi-state recalls of tainted recreational marijuana, even healthy, casual users should be concerned.

My son’s autoimmune disease was triggered by toxic mold; I didn’t even think that the medical cannabis I was pursuing may be tainted.

How can you more safely smoke?

In my last blog, I mentioned Scientific Inhalations and their triple-filtered glass bubbler that appears to offer a solution. My email was answered by the head glass blower himself, Victor Gallicchio, who invited me to call him directly for more information.

Victor started his company in 2009 so he could craft high-end paraphernalia from scientific-quality glass rather than the markedly inferior, defect-prone Chinese artistic glass. A man named McFinn approached him to engineer a pipe adaptation for a customer who had cancer and couldn’t move his hands well.

The McFinn’s Original Triple-Filtered Glass Bubbler was born. At the time, Victor didn’t realize that his filtration process had also created a healthier device for smoking medicine. He began to receive feedback about how the four-stage filtration was providing a smoother, cleaner hit.

“When you hear of someone who has to smoke for medical reasons and it’s better and cleaner, you know you’re doing something good for the process,” said Victor. “I wanted to prove its value; that it’s not me just blowing smoke,” he continued. “Our best decision was to work with Dr. Jeffrey Raber of The Werc Shop in 2010 who co-authored a peer-reviewed study of pesticide residues in cannabis smoke in the Journal of Toxicology.”

Here is the full pesticide report, which validated the methodology of Dr. Raber’s testing and Scientific Inhalation’s filtration claims:

“Whether you’re a medical or recreational user, everyone has the same consumer protection concerns, but they’re amplified for the sensitive immunocompromised patients smoking medical cannabis . . . The body doesn’t filter inhaled pesticides like it does when you eat something with the same chemicals. We still don’t know the potential toxicological harms of inhaling a pesticide or the breakdown products from combustion, and ultimately what the risks are to consumers.”

There are 250 legal pesticide sprays on the market. Of the 17 over-the-counter garden sprays tested in the study, 75 to 100% of the killing agents were trapped by McFinn’s Original Triple-Filtered Glass Bubbler. 
Until there’s better regulation of what is sprayed or put into the soil, I rely on the Wicked Wizard, a smaller version of the McFinn that shares several important filtration characteristics.

Could buying organic marijuana be the answer?