If a single, inorganically grown apple only had a single drop of pesticide on it — as it is by itself this is not ideal, but not catastrophically dangerous — it would literally take 500 of these pesticide-laced apples to cause a frightening reaction.
However, in the process of extractions (like those used in medicinal cannabis extraction), 1,000 apples are essentially smashed together and condensed down and put into a shot glass and made very easy to consume all at once. Now you have a circumstance where you can be exposed to a massive amount of a dangerous substance.
This is essentially the concern when it comes to patients using medical cannabis products not sourced from farms with organic growing methods.
As more people move away from the traditional consumption methods of cannabis, the extraction and refinement of these products warrant responsibility back to the growers.
The organic growing method movement is not a new idea. We’ve all heard of it, and most of us have looked at the apple that’s $1.25 more than the inorganic version and asked ourselves “what’s the difference?”
To those unaware of the truth and judging simply off physical appearance, there doesn’t appear to be a huge difference; however, at the cellular level, it’s apples and oranges. Organic growing methods for cannabis are even more important, and the reasons why are so significant that, to be honest, you should be afraid. The truth is fascinatingly terrifying.
Many chemicals used in traditional agriculture pose significant health risks to every person and animal that could even, potentially, come into contact with them.
In cannabis, these chemicals are applied throughout the plant and flower, and because the entire flower is processed, consumed or smoked, the patient would be exposed to every molecule of every substance that the plant has been treated or “laced” with.
Due to the chemical structure of the beneficial compounds in cannabis, these compounds must either be concentrated out, vaporized or burned.
Simply put: Some inorganic grow-method chemicals combined with the necessary consumption methods required to benefit from medicinal cannabis may put patients at a significant increased risk of developing other conditions while trying to treat their primary complaint. Justly, this is the reason that some medical professionals oppose medical cannabis, not because of its debunked, wives’ tale taboos.
The danger of these chemicals is no secret. Growers who use the chemicals are instructed by the companies who make the chemicals to wear a level of protective gear rated higher than what the Centers for Disease Control recommends for health care workers who are working with Ebola.
Full, impenetrable body suits, gloves, goggles, waterproof boots and carbon respirators are required just to be able to spray these chemicals onto plants, and this is just to prevent a microscopic droplet of it from touching the skin.
The most concerning issues with ingestion of nonorganic cannabis isn’t a factor that most have ever considered. Terminal patients, HIV/AIDS patients and cancer patients have compromised immune systems.
The common cold or even an infection from something as trivial as a paper cut can kill these patients; in fact, they do kill them by the thousands every day.
Many of these chemicals carry the warning of carcinogens and are known to cause cancer to begin with.
Patients need to be aware that they do have a choice for a safer, healthier and better-quality cannabis product.
Jack Manns is general manager of Green Prairie Farms, an organically grown small-batch craft cannabis farm in Tulsa.