If you’ve had any experience with Colorado’s recreational and medical marijuana program, then you know there is no playing around when it comes to quality assurance testing. Any presence of pesticides, fungicides, mildew, mold or other contaminants will prevent your products from being sold in a dispensary or processed by a vendor in the creation of concentrates and edibles. California is close behind. 2018 is the year California will mandate the testing of all cannabis products sold either recreationally or medically. This is good news for cannabis patients who are currently at high risk for exposure to unsafe levels of pesticides.
A startling result from Steep Hill Labs revealed that 65% of medical marijuana in the San Francisco area contained levels of residual fungicides that are unsafe for human consumption. California’s new recreational bill, Prop 64 or AUMA, would bring that statistic to 0%. Just like in Colorado, there would be a zero-tolerance policy for the presence of any fungicides and pesticides in cannabis samples that were intending to be sold to vendors for manufacturing or dispensaries for distribution to end users.
What makes fungicides in cannabis so dangerous?
The fungicide that Steep Hill found in that study was Myclobutanil. This is an incredibly common fungicide; it is regularly used all across California on almonds, strawberries, and grapes. It’s regarded to be a “general use pesticide” and thought by the scientific community at large to be generally safe. So, what makes this fungicide so dangerous in the cannabis domain? The fact that in order to activate THC you must heat it plays a major role. Myclobutanil converts into Hydrogen Cyanide (a Schedule 3 substance under the Chemical Weapons Convention) when heat is applied.
That means that if you are smoking a joint that has residual Myclobutanil from when it was grown, then you are indeed inhaling Hydrogen Cyanide and effectively eliminating any of the health benefits of marijuana. That is sincerely devastating news. For a plant that has such a vast array of medical uses to be imposing damage on its consumer is a sincere tragedy. Even the tobacco industry has banned the used of Myclobutanil for this very reason!
This is really bad news for cannabis consumers in California (and all those who partake in the golden state’s goods). Hydrogen Cyanide is a deadly chemical. Myclobutanil is an example of an inorganic fungicide. It is a triazole chemical that, when heated, decomposes into hydrogen cyanide, as mentioned above, and carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen chloride as well as other nitrogen oxides. Myclobutanil is banned for use in the production of marijuana in Canada, Washington, and Oregon in addition to the aforementioned Colorado. Hopefully, other states will follow California’s inevitable ban of Myclobutanil.
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