Heavy Metals: What Patients Need to Know About Cannabis Lab Testing and CBD Medicine

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Part of a special series on cannabis lab testing. Learn more about Pesticides, Residual Solvents and why Compassionate Cultivation makes its test results publicly available for every batch of CBD medicine.

With apologies to fans of ’90s-era hard rock, heavy metal and cannabis simply shouldn’t mix.

The cannabis plant offers many beneficial properties, and for patients with intractable epilepsy in Texas, its CBD medicine can be life-changing.

Cannabis flower on its own is considered safe—even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports no one has died from a marijuana overdose—but like any other plant, it can be contaminated by bad things in the surrounding air and water, including mold and mildew; mites and other pests; bacteria; pesticides; and heavy metals such as arsenic, copper, lead and mercury.

Even if you’re a fan of heavy metal, you don’t want it in your body. Depending on their concentrations, heavy metals can cause myriad health problems, from headaches and nausea to organ failure and cancer in cases of prolonged or extreme exposure. They can cause malfunctioning of cells and ultimately, toxicity. Additionally, they can cause oxidative stress, which increases free radicals in the body and further damages cells.

—This is a positive finding when it comes to cleaning up environmental problems by way of a process called phytoremediation—researchers in the 1990s showed cannabis phytoremediation helped remove heavy metals from fields contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. However, this also means that the utmost care should be taken when cannabis is grown for human consumption.    

At Compassionate Cultivation, patient safety is our top priority. In our cultivation practices we do not use pesticides and instead take a comprehensive approach to Integrated Pest Management that includes use of biocontrols, which are natural predators that target pests. Additionally, there are no harmful solvents used in our processing operations to extract CBD oil. We operate with full transparency and openness, always.

We also share the comprehensive cannabis lab testing results for our products so that patients know what they’re putting into their bodies, and their physicians know our CBD medicine is extremely consistent batch-to-batch and meets exacting standards for quality assurance.

We believe patients have the right to know how their medicine is produced and what goes into it. Unfortunately, there is no mandate for transparency in the cannabis industry, starting with how plants are cultivated. Without federal oversight and regulation, state regulators have had to develop rules on their own. Cultivators from state to state use different products and adhere to varying guidelines. Not every state requires comprehensive testing for things like pesticides, residual solvents, microbials and heavy metals. The result? Challenges and issues surrounding public health and safety.

This leaves the quality and consistency of cannabis production in the hands of businesses like ours. It’s why Compassionate Cultivation is relentlessly committed to patient safety and is raising the bar on transparency—not only because it’s the right thing to do; these conscientious practices show how a regulated medical cannabis program and lab testing medical marijuana products benefits patients on many levels.

Photo credit: Chris Reichman, Sum & Substance Photography


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